Reflections on “Inside Amazon’s artificial intelligence flywheel” [Levy]

Inside Amazon’s artificial intelligence flywheel — from wired.com by Steven Levy
How deep learning came to power Alexa, Amazon Web Services, and nearly every other division of the company.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Amazon loves to use the word flywheel to describe how various parts of its massive business work as a single perpetual motion machine. It now has a powerful AI flywheel, where machine-learning innovations in one part of the company fuel the efforts of other teams, who in turn can build products or offer services to affect other groups, or even the company at large. Offering its machine-learning platforms to outsiders as a paid service makes the effort itself profitable—and in certain cases scoops up yet more data to level up the technology even more.

It took a lot of six-pagers to transform Amazon from a deep-learning wannabe into a formidable power. The results of this transformation can be seen throughout the company—including in a recommendations system that now runs on a totally new machine-learning infrastructure. Amazon is smarter in suggesting what you should read next, what items you should add to your shopping list, and what movie you might want to watch tonight. And this year Thirumalai started a new job, heading Amazon search, where he intends to use deep learning in every aspect of the service.

“If you asked me seven or eight years ago how big a force Amazon was in AI, I would have said, ‘They aren’t,’” says Pedro Domingos, a top computer science professor at the University of Washington. “But they have really come on aggressively. Now they are becoming a force.”

Maybe the force.

 

 

From DSC:
When will we begin to see more mainstream recommendation engines for learning-based materials? With the demand for people to reinvent themselves, such a next generation learning platform can’t come soon enough!

  • Turning over control to learners to create/enhance their own web-based learner profiles; and allowing people to say who can access their learning profiles.
  • AI-based recommendation engines to help people identify curated, effective digital playlists for what they want to learn about.
  • Voice-driven interfaces.
  • Matching employees to employers.
  • Matching one’s learning preferences (not styles) with the content being presented as one piece of a personalized learning experience.
  • From cradle to grave. Lifelong learning.
  • Multimedia-based, interactive content.
  • Asynchronously and synchronously connecting with others learning about the same content.
  • Online-based tutoring/assistance; remote assistance.
  • Reinvent. Staying relevant. Surviving.
  • Competency-based learning.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’re about to embark on a period in American history where career reinvention will be critical, perhaps more so than it’s ever been before. In the next decade, as many as 50 million American workers—a third of the total—will need to change careers, according to McKinsey Global Institute. Automation, in the form of AI (artificial intelligence) and RPA (robotic process automation), is the primary driver. McKinsey observes: “There are few precedents in which societies have successfully retrained such large numbers of people.”

Bill Triant and Ryan Craig

 

 

 

Also relevant/see:

Online education’s expansion continues in higher ed with a focus on tech skills — from educationdive.com by James Paterson

Dive Brief:

  • Online learning continues to expand in higher ed with the addition of several online master’s degrees and a new for-profit college that offers a hybrid of vocational training and liberal arts curriculum online.
  • Inside Higher Ed reported the nonprofit learning provider edX is offering nine master’s degrees through five U.S. universities — the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Texas at Austin, Indiana University, Arizona State University and the University of California, San Diego. The programs include cybersecurity, data science, analytics, computer science and marketing, and they cost from around $10,000 to $22,000. Most offer stackable certificates, helping students who change their educational trajectory.
  • Former Harvard University Dean of Social Science Stephen Kosslyn, meanwhile, will open Foundry College in January. The for-profit, two-year program targets adult learners who want to upskill, and it includes training in soft skills such as critical thinking and problem solving. Students will pay about $1,000 per course, though the college is waiving tuition for its first cohort.

 

 

 

MIT plans $1B computing college, AI research effort — from educationdive.com by James Paterson

Dive Brief (emphasis DSC):

  • The Massachusetts Institute of Technology is creating a College of Computing with the help of a $350 million gift from billionaire investor Stephen A. Schwarzman, who is the CEO and co-founder of the private equity firm Blackstone, in a move the university said is its “most significant reshaping” since 1950.
  • Featuring 50 new faculty positions and a new headquarters building, the $1 billion interdisciplinary initiative will bring together computer science, artificial intelligence (AI), data science and related programs across the institution. MIT will establish a new deanship for the college.
  • The new college…will explore and promote AI’s use in non-technology disciplines with a focus on ethical considerations, which are a growing concern as the technology becomes embedded in many fields.

 

Also see:

Alexa Sessions You Won’t Want to Miss at AWS re:Invent 2018 — from developer.amazon.com

Excerpts — with an eye towards where this might be leading in terms of learning spaces:

Alexa and AWS IoT — Voice is a natural interface to interact not just with the world around us, but also with physical assets and things, such as connected home devices, including lights, thermostats, or TVs. Learn how you can connect and control devices in your home using the AWS IoT platform and Alexa Skills Kit.

Connect Any Device to Alexa and Control Any Feature with the Updated Smart Home Skill API — Learn about the latest update to the Smart Home Skill API, featuring new capability interfaces you can use as building blocks to connect any device to Alexa, including those that fall outside of the traditional smart home categories of lighting, locks, thermostats, sensors, cameras, and audio/video gear. Start learning about how you can create a smarter home with Alexa.

Workshop: Build an Alexa Skill with Multiple Models — Learn how to build an Alexa skill that utilizes multiple interaction models and combines functionality into a single skill. Build an Alexa smart home skill from scratch that implements both custom interactions and smart home functionality within a single skill. Check out these resources to start learning:

 

Blackboard, Apple mobile student ID has arrived — from cr80news.com by Andrew Hudson
Mobile Credential officially goes live at launch campuses

Excerpt:

We’ve officially reached the kickoff of Blackboard’s long-standing vision for the mobile student ID. Starting today on the campuses of the University of Alabama, Duke University and the University of Oklahoma, Blackboard with the aid of Apple is enabling students to use mobile credentials everywhere their plastic ID card was previously accepted.

[On 10/2/18], for the first time, iPhones and Apple Watches are enabling users to navigate the full range of transactions both on and off campus. At these three launch institutions, students can add their official student ID card to Apple Wallet to make purchases, authenticate for privileges, as well as enable physical access to dorms, rec centers, libraries and academic buildings.

 

 

 

Microsoft's conference room of the future

 

From DSC:
Microsoft’s conference room of the future “listens” to the conversations of the team and provides a transcript of the meeting. It also is using “artificial intelligence tools to then act on what meeting participants say. If someone says ‘I’ll follow up with you next week,’ then they’ll get a notification in Microsoft Teams, Microsoft’s Slack competitor, to actually act on that promise.”

This made me wonder about our learning spaces in the future. Will an #AI-based device/cloud-based software app — in real-time — be able to “listen” to the discussion in a classroom and present helpful resources in the smart classroom of the future (i.e., websites, online-based databases, journal articles, and more)?

Will this be a feature of a next generation learning platform as well (i.e., addressing the online-based learning realm)? Will this be a piece of an intelligent tutor or an intelligent system?

Hmmm…time will tell.

 

 


 

Also see this article out at Forbes.com entitled, “There’s Nothing Artificial About How AI Is Changing The Workplace.” 

Here is an excerpt:

The New Meeting Scribe: Artificial Intelligence

As I write this, AI has already begun to make video meetings even better. You no longer have to spend time entering codes or clicking buttons to launch a meeting. Instead, with voice-based AI, video conference users can start, join or end a meeting by simply speaking a command (think about how you interact with Alexa).

Voice-to-text transcription, another artificial intelligence feature offered by Otter Voice Meeting Notes (from AISense, a Zoom partner), Voicefox and others, can take notes during video meetings, leaving you and your team free to concentrate on what’s being said or shown. AI-based voice-to-text transcription can identify each speaker in the meeting and save you time by letting you skim the transcript, search and analyze it for certain meeting segments or words, then jump to those mentions in the script. Over 65% of respondents from the Zoom survey said they think AI will save them at least one hour a week of busy work, with many claiming it will save them one to five hours a week.

 

 
For museums, augmented reality is the next frontier — from wired.com by Arielle Pardes

Excerpt:

Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to go into space, stood in the center of the room and prepared to become digital. Around her, 106 cameras captured her image in 3-D, which would later render her as a life-sized hologram when viewed through a HoloLens headset.

Jemison was recording what would become the introduction for a new exhibit at the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum, which opens tomorrow as part of the Smithsonian’s annual Museum Day. In the exhibit, visitors will wear HoloLens headsets and watch Jemison materialize before their eyes, taking them on a tour of the Space Shuttle Enterprise—and through space history. They’re invited to explore artifacts both physical (like the Enterprise) and digital (like a galaxy of AR stars) while Jemison introduces women throughout history who have made important contributions to space exploration.

Interactive museum exhibits like this are becoming more common as augmented reality tech becomes cheaper, lighter, and easier to create.

 

 

Oculus will livestream it’s 5th Connect Conference on Oculus venues — from vrscout.com by Kyle Melnick

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Using either an Oculus Go standalone device or a mobile Gear VR headset, users will be able to login to the Oculus Venues app and join other users for an immersive live stream of various developer keynotes and adrenaline-pumping esports competitions.

 

From DSC:
What are the ramifications of this for the future of webinars, teaching and learning, online learning, MOOCs and more…?

 

 

 

10 new AR features in iOS 12 for iPhone & iPad — from mobile-ar.reality.news by Justin Meyers

Excerpt:

Apple’s iOS 12 has finally landed. The big update appeared for everyone on Monday, Sept. 17, and hiding within are some pretty amazing augmented reality upgrades for iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches. We’ve been playing with them ever since the iOS 12 beta launched in June, and here are the things we learned that you’ll want to know about.

For now, here’s everything AR-related that Apple has included in iOS 12. There are some new features aimed to please AR fanatics as well as hook those new to AR into finally getting with the program. But all of the new AR features rely on ARKit 2.0, the latest version of Apple’s augmented reality framework for iOS.

 

 

Berkeley College Faculty Test VR for Learning— from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

In a pilot program at Berkeley College, members of a Virtual Reality Faculty Interest Group tested the use of virtual reality to immerse students in a variety of learning experiences. During winter 2018, seven different instructors in nearly as many disciplines used inexpensive Google Cardboard headsets along with apps on smartphones to virtually place students in North Korea, a taxicab and other environments as part of their classwork.

Participants used free mobile applications such as Within, the New York Times VR, Discovery VR, Jaunt VR and YouTube VR. Their courses included critical writing, international business, business essentials, medical terminology, international banking, public speaking and crisis management.

 

 

 

 

From DSC to teachers and professors:
Should these posters be in your classroom? The posters each have a different practice such as:

  • Spaced practice
  • Retrieval practice
  • Elaboration
  • Interleaving
  • Concrete examples
  • Dual coding

That said, I could see how all of that information could/would be overwhelming to some students and/or the more technical terms could bore them or fly over their heads. So perhaps you could boil down the information to feature excerpts from the top sections only that put the concepts into easier to digest words such as:

  • Practice bringing information to mind
  • Switch between ideas while you study
  • Combine words and visuals
  • Etc. 

 

Learn how to study using these practices

 

 

Flexible Classrooms: Research Is Scarce, But Promising — from amp.edutopia.org by Stephen Merrill
An ambitious study of 153 classrooms in the United Kingdom provides the best evidence that flexible spaces can boost academic performance.

Excerpt:

Despite the challenges, an ambitious effort to study the design of lived-in classrooms, including looking at hard-to-define factors like flexibility, was completed in 2015 by the University of Salford, in the United Kingdom. Researchers put in the legwork, visiting 153 classrooms in 27 schools across the country—from small, remote village schools to much larger suburban buildings on the outskirts of metropolitan London. In the end, the effect of classroom design on academic performance was studied across 3,766 British children aged 5 to 11.

“We were trying to take a holistic perspective,” explained Peter Barrett, the lead researcher and now an honorary research fellow at the University of Oxford. “In other words, we were trying to look at spaces as experienced by people. So this isn’t just air quality, this isn’t just temperature, or an effort to measure the factors separately. This is the whole lot together.”

THE FINDINGS

The study looked at three dimensions of classroom design: naturalness (factors like light and temperature), stimulation (factors like color and visual complexity), and individualization (factors like flexibility and student ownership).

The big insight? Optimizing all of these physical characteristics of primary classrooms improved academic performance in reading, writing, and mathematics by 16 percent. The personalization of classrooms—including flexibility, which Barrett defined as “student choice within the space”—accounted for a full quarter of that improvement.

 

The takeaway: Flexibility, combined with characteristics like acoustics and air quality, has a real impact on student achievement. If used properly, flexible classrooms produce better academic outcomes among primary school children than more traditional, static classroom designs.

 



Also see the work of:


 

 

2018 NMC Horizon Report: The trends, challenges, and developments likely to influence ed tech

2018 NMC Horizon Report — from library.educause.edu

Excerpt:

What is on the five-year horizon for higher education institutions? Which trends and technology developments will drive educational change? What are the critical challenges and how can we strategize solutions? These questions regarding technology adoption and educational change steered the discussions of 71 experts to produce the NMC Horizon Report: 2018 Higher Education Edition brought to you by EDUCAUSE. This Horizon Report series charts the five-year impact of innovative practices and technologies for higher education across the globe. With more than 16 years of research and publications, the Horizon Project can be regarded as one of education’s longest-running explorations of emerging technology trends and uptake.

Six key trends, six significant challenges, and six developments in educational technology profiled in this higher education report are likely to impact teaching, learning, and creative inquiry in higher education. The three sections of this report constitute a reference and technology planning guide for educators, higher education leaders, administrators, policymakers, and technologists.

 

2018 NMC Horizon Report -- a glance at the trends, challenges, and developments likely to influence ed tech -- visual graphic

 

Also see:

 

 

What is a learning ecosystem? And how does it support corporate strategy? [Eudy]

What is a learning ecosystem? And how does it support corporate strategy? — from ej4.com by Ryan Eudy

Excerpt:

learning ecosystem is a system of people, content, technology, culture, and strategy, existing both within and outside of an organization, all of which has an impact on both the formal and informal learning that goes on in that organization.

The word “ecosystem” is worth paying attention to here. It’s not just there to make the term sound fancy or scientific. A learning ecosystem is the L&D equivalent of an ecosystem out in the wild. Just as a living ecosystem has many interacting species, environments, and the complex relationships among them, a learning ecosystem has many people and pieces of content, in different roles and learning contexts, and complex relationships.

Just like a living ecosystem, a learning ecosystem can be healthy or sick, nurtured or threatened, self-sustaining or endangered. Achieving your development goals, then, requires an organization to be aware of its own ecosystem, including its parts and the internal and external forces that shape them.

 

From DSC:
Yes, to me, the concept/idea of a learning ecosystem IS important. Very important. So much so, I named this blog after it.

Each of us as individuals have a learning ecosystem, whether we officially recognize it or not. So do the organizations that we work for. And, like an ecosystem out in nature, a learning ecosystem is constantly morphing, constantly changing.

We each have people in our lives that help us learn and grow, and the people that were in our learning ecosystems 10 years ago may or may not still be in our current learning ecosystems. Many of us use technologies and tools to help us learn and grow. Then there are the spaces where we learn — both physical and virtual spaces. Then there are the processes and procedures we follow, formally and/or informally. Any content that helps us learn and grow is a part of that ecosystem. Where we get that content can change, but obtaining up-to-date content is a part of our learning ecosystems. I really appreciate streams of content in this regard — and tapping into blogs/websites, especially via RSS feeds and Feedly (an RSS aggregator that took off when Google Reader left the scene).

The article brings up a good point when it states that a learning ecosystem can be “healthy or sick, nurtured or threatened, self-sustaining or endangered.” That’s why I urge folks to be intentional about maintaining and, better yet, consistently enhancing their learning ecosystems. In this day and age where lifelong learning is now a requirement to remain in the workforce, each of us needs to be intentional in this regard.

 

 

10 steps to achieving active learning on a budget — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser
Active learning often means revamping classrooms to enable more collaborative, hands-on student work — and that can be costly. Here’s how to achieve the pedagogical change without the high expense.

Excerpt:

Active learning is a great way to increase student excitement and participation, facilitate different kinds of learning activities, help people develop skills in small group work, promote discussion, boost attendance and give an outlet for technology usage that stays on track. It also requires remaking classrooms to enable that hands-on, collaborative student work — and that can often mean a six-figure price tag. But at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, NH, a $12,000 experiment proved successful enough that the institution now sports two permanent active learning classrooms as well as a brand-new active learning lab. Here are the 10 steps this school with just under 2,000 students followed on its road to active learning victory.

 

the article being linked here is entitled 10 steps to achieving active learning on a budget

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

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