From DSC:
The article below caused me to reflect on the idea of using Income Share Agreements (ISAs) as a way for students to get through college these days. Although I appreciate that others are trying to help students get through college — an admirable goal for sure and one that I wholeheartedly share — I don’t like the means/method being proposed here. Why? Because I’m concerned that ISAs don’t offer any incentives for colleges and universities to lower their prices in the first place. The burden of debt is just spread out into the future. In fact, one could easily imagine the costs of obtaining a degree to continue to increase, because the immediate impact of the debt isn’t felt right now…it’s spread out over one’s future. The problem becomes invisible again, making it once again easy for those working within higher education to ignore.

So I hope this method doesn’t take off (as I understand it); instead, I hope that we can figure out better ways to reduce the price of obtaining a degree. Technology should be of use here.

 

Students Get Tuition Aid for a Piece of Their Future — from wsj.com by Jillian Berman
Income share agreements seem poised to take off, as costs and debt loads rise

Excerpt:

To help pay for ever-growing college costs, more students may soon be trying a new approach: selling rights to their future earnings.

Long discussed in college policy and financing circles, income share agreements, or ISAs, are poised to become more mainstream. A handful of backers currently exist that in effect have invested in college students’ futures by advancing them thousands of dollars in tuition money to bridge gaps in financing when student loans don’t quite meet all of their expenses.

Under the terms of a typical ISA, students agree to pay a percentage of their future earnings for a predetermined period in exchange for help up front with their tuition. Now, more students may have the opportunity to enter such deals, as lawmakers in Congress are working on possible ground rules for the agreements.

 

 

 

 

 

“An algorithm designed badly can go on for a long time, silently wreaking havoc.”

— Cathy O’Neil

 

 

 

Cathy O’Neil: The era of blind faith in big data must end | TED Talk | TED.com

Description:
Algorithms decide who gets a loan, who gets a job interview, who gets insurance and much more — but they don’t automatically make things fair. Mathematician and data scientist Cathy O’Neil coined a term for algorithms that are secret, important and harmful: “weapons of math destruction.” Learn more about the hidden agendas behind the formulas.

 

 

 



Addendum:

As AI Gets Smarter, Scholars Raise Ethics Questions — from by by Chris Hayhurst
Interdisciplinary artificial intelligence research fosters philosophical discussions.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

David Danks, head of the philosophy department at Carnegie Mellon University, has a message for his colleagues in the CMU robotics department: As they invent and develop the technologies of the future, he encourages them to consider the human dimensions of their work.

His concern? All too often, Danks says, technological innovation ignores the human need for ethical guidelines and moral standards. That’s especially true when it comes to innovations such as artificial intelligence and automation, he says.

“It’s, ‘Look at this cool technology that we’ve got. How can you stand in the way of something like this?’” says Danks. “We should be saying, ‘Wait a second. How is this technology affecting people?’”

As an example, Danks points to AI-powered medical diagnostic systems. Such tools have great potential to parse data for better decision-making, but they lack the social interaction between patient and physician that can be so important to those decisions. It’s one thing to have a technology that can diagnose a patient with strep throat and recommend a certain antibiotic, but what about a patient with cancer who happens to be a professional violinist?

“For most people, you’d just give them the most effective drug,” says Danks. “But what do you do if one of the side effects of that medication is hand tremors? I see a lot of possibilities with AI, but it’s also important to recognize the challenges.”



 

 

From DSC:
I appreciated hearing the perspectives from Bruce Dixon and Will Richardson this morning, as I listed to a webinar that they recently offered. A few key takeaways for me from that webinar — and with a document that they shared — were:

  • The world has fundamentally changed. (Bruce and Will also mentioned the new pace of change; i.e., that it’s much faster.)
  • We need to have more urgency about the need to reimagine school, not to try to improve the existing model.
  • “Because of the advent of the Web and the technologies we use to access it, learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”
  • There is a newfound capacity to take full control of one’s own learning; self-determined learning should be at the center of students’ and teachers’ work; co-constructed curriculum
  • And today, at a moment when learners of all ages have never had more agency over their own learning, schools must unlearn centuries old mindsets and practices and relearn them in ways that truly will serve every child living in the modern, connected world.
  • Will and Bruce believe that every educator — and district for that matter — should articulate their own “principles of learning”
  • Beliefs about how kids learn (powerfully and deeply) need to be articulated and consistently communicated and lived out
  • Everything we do as educators, administrators, etc. tells a story. What stories are we telling? (For example, what does the signage around your school building say? Is it about compliance? Is is about a love of learning? Wonder? What does the 20′ jumbo tron say about priorities? Etc.)
  • Bruce and Will covered a “story audit” and how to do one

 

“Learning is, in a phrase, leaving the (school) building.”

Richardson & Dixon

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

These educators have decades worth of experience. They are pulse-checking their environments. They want to see students thrive both now and into the future. For these reasons, at least for me, their perspectives are highly worth reflecting upon.

 

 

 

Robots and AI are going to make social inequality even worse, says new report — from theverge.com by
Rich people are going to find it easier to adapt to automation

Excerpt:

Most economists agree that advances in robotics and AI over the next few decades are likely to lead to significant job losses. But what’s less often considered is how these changes could also impact social mobility. A new report from UK charity Sutton Trust explains the danger, noting that unless governments take action, the next wave of automation will dramatically increase inequality within societies, further entrenching the divide between rich and poor.

The are a number of reasons for this, say the report’s authors, including the ability of richer individuals to re-train for new jobs; the rising importance of “soft skills” like communication and confidence; and the reduction in the number of jobs used as “stepping stones” into professional industries.

For example, the demand for paralegals and similar professions is likely to be reduced over the coming years as artificial intelligence is trained to handle more administrative tasks. In the UK more than 350,000 paralegals, payroll managers, and bookkeepers could lose their jobs if automated systems can do the same work.

 

Re-training for new jobs will also become a crucial skill, and it’s individuals from wealthier backgrounds that are more able to do so, says the report. This can already be seen in the disparity in terms of post-graduate education, with individuals in the UK with working class or poorer backgrounds far less likely to re-train after university.

 

 

From DSC:
I can’t emphasize this enough. There are dangerous, tumultuous times ahead if we can’t figure out ways to help ALL people within the workforce reinvent themselves quickly, cost-effectively, and conveniently. Re-skilling/up-skilling ourselves is becoming increasingly important. And I’m not just talking about highly-educated people. I’m talking about people whose jobs are going to be disappearing in the near future — especially people whose stepping stones into brighter futures are going to wake up to a very different world. A very harsh world.

That’s why I’m so passionate about helping to develop a next generation learning platform. Higher education, as an industry, has some time left to figure out their part/contribution out in this new world. But the window of time could be closing, as another window of opportunity / era could be opening up for “the next Amazon.com of higher education.”

It’s up to current, traditional institutions of higher education as to how much they want to be a part of the solution. Some of the questions each institution ought to be asking are:

  1. Given our institutions mission/vision, what landscapes should we be pulse-checking?
  2. Do we have faculty/staff/members of administration looking at those landscapes that are highly applicable to our students and to their futures? How, specifically, are the insights from those employees fed into the strategic plans of our institution?
  3. What are some possible scenarios as a result of these changing landscapes? What would our response(s) be for each scenario?
  4. Are there obstacles from us innovating and being able to respond to the shifting landscapes, especially within the workforce?
  5. How do we remove those obstacles?
  6. On a scale of 0 (we don’t innovate at all) to 10 (highly innovative), where is our culture today? Where do we hope to be 5 years from now? How do we get there?

…and there are many other questions no doubt. But I don’t think we’re looking into the future nearly enough to see the massive needs — and real issues — ahead of us.

 

 

The report, which was carried out by the Boston Consulting Group and published this Wednesday [7/12/17], looks specifically at the UK, where it says some 15 million jobs are at risk of automation. But the Sutton Trust says its findings are also relevant to other developed nations, particularly the US, where social mobility is a major problem.

 

 

 

 

Career Pathways: Five Ways to Connect College and Careers calls for states to help students, their families, and employers unpack the meaning of postsecondary credentials and assess their value in the labor market.

Excerpt:

If students are investing more to go to college, they need to have answers to basic questions about the value of postsecondary education. They need better information to make decisions that have lifelong economic consequences.

Getting a college education is one of the biggest investments people will make in their lives, but the growing complexity of today’s economy makes it difficult for higher education to deliver efficiency and consistent quality. Today’s economy is more intricate than those of decades past.

 

From this press release:

It’s Time to Fix Higher Education’s Tower of Babel, Says Georgetown University Report
The lack of transparency around college and careers leads to costly, uninformed decisions

(Washington, D.C., July 11, 2017) — A new report from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown Center), Career Pathways: Five Ways to Connect College and Careers, calls for states to help students, their families, and employers unpack the meaning of postsecondary credentials and assess their value in the labor market.

Back when a high school-educated worker could find a good job with decent wages, the question was simply whether or not to go to college. That is no longer the case in today’s economy, which requires at least some college to enter the middle class. The study finds that:

  • The number of postsecondary programs of study more than quintupled between 1985 and 2010 — from 410 to 2,260;
  • The number of colleges and universities more than doubled from 1,850 to 4,720 between 1950 and 2014; and
  • The number of occupations grew from 270 in 1950 to 840 in 2010.

The variety of postsecondary credentials, providers, and online delivery mechanisms has also multiplied rapidly in recent years, underscoring the need for common, measurable outcomes.

College graduates are also showing buyer’s remorse. While they are generally happy with their decision to attend college, more than half would choose a different major, go to a different college, or pursue a different postsecondary credential if they had a chance.

The Georgetown study points out that the lack of information drives the higher education market toward mediocrity. The report argues that postsecondary education and training needs to be more closely aligned to careers to better equip learners and workers with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century economy and close the skills gap.

The stakes couldn’t be higher for students to make the right decisions. Since 1980, tuition and fees at public four year colleges and universities have grown 19 times faster than family incomes. Students and families want — and need — to know the value they are getting for their investment.

 

 



Also see:

  • Trumping toward college transparency — from linkedin.com by Anthony Carnevale
    The perfect storm is gathering around the need to increase transparency around college and careers. And in accordance with how public policy generally comes about, it might just happen. 


 

 

 

Chatbot lawyer, which contested £7.2M in parking tickets, now offers legal help for 1,000+ topics — from arstechnica.co.uk by Sebastian Anthony
DoNotPay has expanded to cover the UK and all 50 US states. Free legal help for everyone!

Excerpt:

In total, DoNotPay now has over 1,000 separate chatbots that generate formal-sounding documents for a range of basic legal issues, such as seeking remuneration for a delayed flight or train, reporting discrimination, or asking for maternity leave. If you divide that by 51 (US and UK) you get a rough idea of how many different topics are covered. Each bot had to be hand-crafted by the British creator Joshua Browder, with the assistance of part-time and volunteer lawyers to ensure that the the documents are actually fit for purpose.

 

 

British student’s free robot lawyer can fight speeding tickets and rogue landlords — from telegraph.co.uk by Cara McGoogan

Excerpt:

A free “robot lawyer” that has overturned thousands of parking tickets in the UK can now fight rogue landlords, speeding tickets and harassment at work.

Joshua Browder, the 20-year-old British student who created the aide, has upgraded the robot’s abilities so it can fight legal disputes in 1,000 different areas. These include fighting landlords over security deposits and house repairs, and helping people report fraud to their credit card agency.

To get robot advice, users type their problem into the DoNotPay site and it directs them to a chat bot that can solve their particular legal issue. It can draft letters and offer advice on problems from credit card fraud to airline compensation.

 

 

Free robot lawyer helps low-income people tackle more than 1,000 legal issues — from mashable.com by Katie Dupere

Excerpt:

Shady businesses, you’re on notice. This robot lawyer is coming after you if you play dirty.

Noted legal aid chatbot DoNotPay just announced a massive expansion, which will help users tackle issues in 1,000 legal areas entirely for free. The new features, which launched on Wednesday, cover consumer and workplace rights, and will be available in all 50 states and the UK.

While the bot will still help drivers contest parking tickets and refugees apply for asylum, the service will now also help those who want to report harassment in the workplace or who simply want a refund on a busted toaster.

 

 



From DSC:
Whereas this type of bot is meant for external communications/assistance, we should also watch for Work Bots within an organization — dishing up real-time answers to questions that employees have about a variety of topics. I think that’s the next generation of technical communications, technical/help desk support, as well as training and development groups (at least some of the staff in those departments will likely be building these types of bots).



 

Addendum on 7/15/17:

LawGeex: Contract Review Automation

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The LawGeex Contract Review Automation enables anyone in your business to easily submit and receive approvals on contracts without waiting for the legal team. Our A.I. technology reads, reviews and understands your contracts, approving those that meet your legal team’s pre-defined criteria, and escalating those that don’t. Legal can maintain control and mitigate risk while giving other departments the freedom they need to get business moving.

 

 

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.

 


 

 

 

 

Realizing the Potential of Blockchain: A Multistakeholder Approach to the Stewardship of Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies — from the World Economic Forum

Excerpts:

Like the first generation of the internet, this second generation promises to disrupt business models and transform industries. Blockchain (also called distributed ledger), the technology enabling cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, is pulling us into a new era of openness, decentralization and global inclusion. It leverages the resources of a global peer-to-peer network to ensure the integrity of the value exchanged among billions of devices without going through a trusted third party. Unlike the internet alone, blockchains are distributed, not centralized; open, not hidden; inclusive, not exclusive; immutable, not alterable; and secure. Blockchain gives us unprecedented capabilities to create and trade value in society. As the foundational platform of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it enables such innovations as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, the internet of things (IoT), robotics and even technology in our bodies, so that more people can participate in the economy, create wealth and improve the state of the world.

However, this extraordinary technology may be stalled, sidetracked, captured or otherwise suboptimized depending on how all the stakeholders behave in stewarding this set of resources – i.e. how it is governed.

At the overall ecosystem level, we look at the need for a proper legal structure, regulatory restraint, diversity of viewpoints and scientific research in tandem with business development. We introduce each of the eight stakeholders in the ecosystem: innovators, venture capitalists, banks and financial services, developers, academics, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government bodies, and users or citizens.

The internet is entering a second era that’s based on blockchain. The last few decades brought us the internet of information. We are now witnessing the rise of the internet of value. Where the first era was sparked by a convergence of computing and communications technologies, this second era will be powered by a clever combination of cryptography, mathematics, software engineering and behavioural economics. It is blockchain technology, also called distributed ledger technology. Like the internet before it, the blockchain promises to upend business models and disrupt industries. It is pushing us to challenge how we have structured society, defined value and rewarded participation.

 

 

From DSC:
Institutions of higher education need to put the topic of blockchain-based technologies on their radars, as blockchain could impact how people get their credentials in the future. It could easily turn out to be the case that community colleges, colleges, and universities will join other organizations in terms of being able to offer credentials to their learners.

 

 

 

 

AIG teams with IBM to use blockchain for ‘smart’ insurance policy — from reuters.com by Suzanne Barlyn

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Insurer American International Group Inc has partnered with International Business Machines Corp to develop a “smart” insurance policy that uses blockchain to manage complex international coverage, the companies said on Wednesday.

AIG and IBM completed a pilot of a so-called “smart contract” multi-national policy for Standard Chartered Bank PLC which the companies said is the first of its kind using blockchain’s digital ledger technology.

IBM has been partnering with leading companies in various industries, including Danish transport company Maersk, to create blockchain-based products that can streamline complex international dealings across sectors.

 

Blockchain technology, which powers the digital currency bitcoin, enables data sharing across a network of individual computers. It has gained worldwide popularity due to its usefulness in recording and keeping track of assets or transactions across all industries.

 

 

From DSC:
Why post this item? Because IBM and others are experimenting with and investing millions into blockchain-based technologies; and because the manner in which credentials are stored and recognized will most likely be significantly impacted by blockchain-based technologies. Earlier this year at the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference in San Diego, I mentioned that this topic of blockchain-based technologies is something that should be on our radars within higher education.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
This type of technology could be good, or it could be bad…or, like many technologies, it could be both — depends upon how it’s used. The resources below mention some positive applications, but also some troubling applications.


 

Lyrebird claims it can recreate any voice using just one minute of sample audio — from theverge.com by James Vincent
The results aren’t 100 percent convincing, but it’s a sign of things to come

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence is making human speech as malleable and replicable as pixels. Today, a Canadian AI startup named Lyrebird unveiled its first product: a set of algorithms the company claims can clone anyone’s voice by listening to just a single minute of sample audio.

 

 

 

 

 

Also see:

 

Imitating people’s speech patterns precisely could bring trouble — from economist.com by
You took the words right out of my mouth

Excerpt:

UTTER 160 or so French or English phrases into a phone app developed by CandyVoice, a new Parisian company, and the app’s software will reassemble tiny slices of those sounds to enunciate, in a plausible simulacrum of your own dulcet tones, whatever typed words it is subsequently fed. In effect, the app has cloned your voice. The result still sounds a little synthetic but CandyVoice’s boss, Jean-Luc Crébouw, reckons advances in the firm’s algorithms will render it increasingly natural. Similar software for English and four widely spoken Indian languages, developed under the name of Festvox, by Carnegie Mellon University’s Language Technologies Institute, is also available. And Baidu, a Chinese internet giant, says it has software that needs only 50 sentences to simulate a person’s voice.

Until recently, voice cloning—or voice banking, as it was then known—was a bespoke industry which served those at risk of losing the power of speech to cancer or surgery.

More troubling, any voice—including that of a stranger—can be cloned if decent recordings are available on YouTube or elsewhere. Researchers at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, led by Nitesh Saxena, were able to use Festvox to clone voices based on only five minutes of speech retrieved online. When tested against voice-biometrics software like that used by many banks to block unauthorised access to accounts, more than 80% of the fake voices tricked the computer.

 

 

Per Candyvoice.com:

Expert in digital voice processing, CandyVoice offers software to facilitate and improve vocal communication between people and communicating objects. With applications in:

Health
Customize your devices of augmentative and alternative vocal communication by integrating in them your users’ personal vocal model

Robots & Communicating objects
Improve communication with robots through voice conversion, customized TTS, and noise filtering

Video games
Enhance the gaming experience by integrating vocal conversion of character’s voice in real time, and the TTS customizing

 

 

Also related:

 

 

From DSC:
Given this type of technology, what’s to keep someone from cloning a voice, putting together whatever you wanted that person to say, and then making it appear that Alexa recorded that other person’s voice?

 

 

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian