Google’s robot assistant now makes eerily lifelike phone calls for you — from theguardian.com by Olivia Solon
Google Duplex contacts hair salon and restaurant in demo, adding ‘er’ and ‘mmm-hmm’ so listeners think it’s human

Excerpt:

Google’s virtual assistant can now make phone calls on your behalf to schedule appointments, make reservations in restaurants and get holiday hours.

The robotic assistant uses a very natural speech pattern that includes hesitations and affirmations such as “er” and “mmm-hmm” so that it is extremely difficult to distinguish from an actual human phone call.

The unsettling feature, which will be available to the public later this year, is enabled by a technology called Google Duplex, which can carry out “real world” tasks on the phone, without the other person realising they are talking to a machine. The assistant refers to the person’s calendar to find a suitable time slot and then notifies the user when an appointment is scheduled.

 

 

Google employees quit over the company’s military AI project — from thenextweb.com by Tristan Greene

Excerpt:

About a dozen Google employees reportedly left the company over its insistence on developing AI for the US military through a program called Project Maven. Meanwhile 4,000 others signed a petition demanding the company stop.

It looks like there’s some internal confusion over whether the company’s “Don’t Be Evil” motto covers making machine learning systems to aid warfare.

 

 

 

The link between big tech and defense work — from wired.com by Nitasha Tiku

Except:

FOR MONTHS, A growing faction of Google employees has tried to force the company to drop out of a controversial military program called Project Maven. More than 4,000 employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a petition asking Google to cancel the contract. Last week, Gizmodo reported that a dozen employees resigned over the project. “There are a bunch more waiting for job offers (like me) before we do so,” one engineer says. On Friday, employees communicating through an internal mailing list discussed refusing to interview job candidates in order to slow the project’s progress.

Other tech giants have recently secured high-profile contracts to build technology for defense, military, and intelligence agencies. In March, Amazon expanded its newly launched “Secret Region” cloud services supporting top-secret work for the Department of Defense. The same week that news broke of the Google resignations, Bloomberg reported that Microsoft locked down a deal with intelligence agencies. But there’s little sign of the same kind of rebellion among Amazon and Microsoft workers.

 

 

Amazon urged not to sell facial recognition tool to police — from wpxi.com by Gene Johnson

Excerpt:

Facebook SEATTLE (AP) – The American Civil Liberties Union and other privacy advocates are asking Amazon to stop marketing a powerful facial recognition tool to police, saying law enforcement agencies could use the technology to “easily build a system to automate the identification and tracking of anyone.”

The tool, called Rekognition, is already being used by at least one agency – the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon – to check photographs of unidentified suspects against a database of mug shots from the county jail, which is a common use of such technology around the country.

 

 

From DSC:
Google’s C-Suite — as well as the C-Suites at Microsoft, Amazon, and other companies — needs to be very careful these days, as they could end up losing the support/patronage of a lot of people — including more of their own employees. It’s not an easy task to know how best to build and use technologies in order to make the world a better place…to create a dream vs. a nightmare for our future. But just because we can build something, doesn’t mean we should.

 

 

The Complete Guide to Conversational Commerce | Everything you need to know. — from chatbotsmagazine.com by Matt Schlicht

Excerpt:

What is conversational commerce? Why is it such a big opportunity? How does it work? What does the future look like? How can I get started? These are the questions I’m going to answer for you right now.

The guide covers:

  • An introduction to conversational commerce.
  • Why conversational commerce is such a big opportunity.
  • Complete breakdown of how conversational commerce works.
  • Extensive examples of conversational commerce using chatbots and voicebots.
  • How artificial intelligence impacts conversational commerce.
  • What the future of conversational commerce will look like.

 

Definition: Conversational commerce is an automated technology, powered by rules and sometimes artificial intelligence, that enables online shoppers and brands to interact with one another via chat and voice interfaces.

 

 

 

Notes from the AI frontier: Applications and value of deep learning — from mckinsey.com by Michael Chui, James Manyika, Mehdi Miremadi, Nicolaus Henke, Rita Chung, Pieter Nel, and Sankalp Malhotra

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence (AI) stands out as a transformational technology of our digital age—and its practical application throughout the economy is growing apace. For this briefing, Notes from the AI frontier: Insights from hundreds of use cases (PDF–446KB), we mapped both traditional analytics and newer “deep learning” techniques and the problems they can solve to more than 400 specific use cases in companies and organizations. Drawing on McKinsey Global Institute research and the applied experience with AI of McKinsey Analytics, we assess both the practical applications and the economic potential of advanced AI techniques across industries and business functions. Our findings highlight the substantial potential of applying deep learning techniques to use cases across the economy, but we also see some continuing limitations and obstacles—along with future opportunities as the technologies continue their advance. Ultimately, the value of AI is not to be found in the models themselves, but in companies’ abilities to harness them.

It is important to highlight that, even as we see economic potential in the use of AI techniques, the use of data must always take into account concerns including data security, privacy, and potential issues of bias.

  1. Mapping AI techniques to problem types
  2. Insights from use cases
  3. Sizing the potential value of AI
  4. The road to impact and value

 

 

 

AI for Good — from re-work.co by Ali Shah, Head of Emerging Technology and Strategic Direction – BBC

 

 

 

Algorithms are making the same mistakes assessing credit scores that humans did a century ago — from qz.com by Rachel O’Dwyer

 

 

 

 

The 82 Hottest EdTech Tools of 2017 According to Education Experts — from tutora.co.uk by Giorgio Cassella

Excerpt:

If you work in education, you’ll know there’s a HUGE array of applications, services, products and tools created to serve a multitude of functions in education.

Tools for teaching and learning, parent-teacher communication apps, lesson planning software, home-tutoring websites, revision blogs, SEN education information, professional development qualifications and more.

There are so many companies creating new products for education, though, that it can be difficult to keep up – especially with the massive volumes of planning and marking teachers have to do, never mind finding the time to actually teach!

So how do you know which ones are the best?

Well, as a team of people passionate about education and learning, we decided to do a bit of research to help you out.

We’ve asked some of the best and brightest in education for their opinions on the hottest EdTech of 2017. These guys are the real deal – experts in education, teaching and new tech from all over the world from England to India, to New York and San Francisco.

They’ve given us a list of 82 amazing, tried and tested tools…


From DSC:
The ones that I mentioned that Giorgio included in his excellent article were:

  • AdmitHub – Free, Expert College Admissions Advice
  • Labster – Empowering the Next Generation of Scientists to Change the World
  • Unimersiv – Virtual Reality Educational Experiences
  • Lifeliqe – Interactive 3D Models to Augment Classroom Learning

 


 

 

 

 

The woman who thinks time has rendered Western education obsolete — from unlimited.world with thanks to Maree Conway for her tweet on this

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

For years, Finland has loitered in the upper echelons of global literacy and numeracy tables, leading politicians from other Western nations to see its education system as a model of inspiration. Why, then, is the Finnish government submitting it to a radical overhaul?

Dr. Marjo Kyllonen is the Education Manager for Helsinki. Having devised the blueprint for the future of Finland’s school system, she is playing a pivotal role in driving these changes through. She is doing so because she sees the structure and aims of current education systems in the West as increasingly irrelevant and obsolete, relics of an Industrial Age that we started to leave behind a long time ago. She argues that we need to rethink our entire relationship to education to equip future generations with the tools they need to face the challenges to come –challenges such as climate collapse, automated workforces, urbanisation and social division. The key to her blueprint is an emphasis on collaborative, holistic, “phenomenon” teaching – a routine that is less beholden to traditional subject-based learning and instead teaches pupils to work together to deal with problems they will face in their everyday lives, including those they encounter online and in the digital world.

Other:

  • If schools were invented today, what would they be like?
  • Instead of studying different subjects in isolation, learning should be anchored to real-life phenomena, things that kids see around them, so they see the connection between what they’re learning and real life. The traditional way of teaching isolated subjects with a teacher as the sole oracle of knowledge is widening the gap between the lives kids are living today and what they do at school.
  • So we have to think, what skills will people need in 60 years? Life is not split into subjects, so why is learning? What is more crucial for future society is cross-disciplinary thinking; all the experts say that the big problems of tomorrow won’t be solved if you only have one approach.

 

From DSC:
Whether one agrees with Marjo or not, her assertions are very thought provoking.  I really enjoyed reading this piece.

 

 

New children’s book combines modern technology and storytelling — from iwantpop.com by

 Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

MONTREAL, April 15, 2014 /IWANTPOP.COM/ — Jonathan Belisle, a Montreal teacher, script writer and web entrepreneur, has developed the ultimate storytelling system. It’s a combination of old and new, traditional mythology and modern technology, a mixture of fantasy and reality.

Wuxia the Fox is a transmedia project that comes as an illustrated book paired with an iPad app. “The app reacts to what it hears and sees,” explained Belisle. “As you read the story, the app adds the music and sound effects, based on where you are in the story and the tone of your voice. It’s the future of children’s books.”

The iPad app triggers new scenes of content using image recognition, and transforms into a musical instrument when interacting with small wooden blocks provided with the book.

 

Also see:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/jonathanbelisle/wuxia-the-fox-augmented-book-and-ipad-app

 

 

 

Also, another interesting item:

Predicting the future of cinema: No limits — and the web wins — from variety.com by David Cohen

Excerpt:

He said today’s tech already offers hints of what the future will bring: screens large and small that can duplicate nearly anything the eye can perceive; cameras that let filmmakers choose framing, depth of field, focus and brightness in post, rather than on the day of shooting; fast networks that permit “collaboration at the speed of thought” and allow people to work together regardless of how far apart they are.

 

 

oculus rift Facebook

 

 

 

AppsForHighSchool-Apple-May2013

 

From DSC:
With thanks going out to Mr. Mike Amante (@mamante) for posting this item out on Twitter.

20 awesome iPad apps that will teach your kids to read — from onlinecollegecourses.com

Excerpt:

As anyone with a toddler knows, iPads are like crack for kids. Children have some sort of special radar that lets them know when an iDevice is within their reach, and they’ll do anything they can to get their hands on them. Resistance is futile, but instead of lamenting excessive screen time, you can make your child’s iPad addiction a productive one with educational apps, including those that promote early reading. With these 20 apps, your kids can learn how to write letters, develop phonics, and even write their own books. Read on to find the very best iPad apps for developing young readers, and feel free to share your own favorites in the comments.

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“Book’em Dano!”

Book igloo — from thisiscolossal.com

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Book Igloo sculpture installation books art

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Massive theater converted into magnificent bookstore — from mymodernmet.com posted by Katie Hosmer

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Addendum on 4/13/12:

 

Curl Tables by Constanze Schweda

 

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A Communiqué from the Horizon Project Retreat [2012]
Building on ten years of research into emerging technology in education

Excerpt:

From these discussions, 28 hugely important metatrends were identified. The ten most significant are listed here and will be the focus of the upcoming NMC Horizon Project 10th Anniversary Report:

  1. The world of work is increasingly global and increasingly collaborative. As more and more companies move to the global marketplace, it is common for work teams to span continents and time zones. Not only are teams geographically diverse, they are also culturally diverse.
  2. People expect to work, learn, socialize, and play whenever and wherever they want to. Increasingly, people own more than one device, using a computer, smartphone, tablet, and ereader. People now expect a seamless experience across all their devices.
  3. The Internet is becoming a global mobile network — and already is at its edges. Mobithinking reports there are now more than 6 billion active cell phone accounts. 1.2 billion have mobile broadband as well, and 85% of new devices can access the mobile web.
  4. The technologies we use are increasingly cloud-based and delivered over utility networks, facilitating the rapid growth of online videos and rich media. Our current expectation is that the network has almost infinite capacity and is nearly free of cost. One hour of video footage is uploaded every second to YouTube; over 250 million photos are sent to Facebook every day.
  5. Openness — concepts like open content, open data, and open resources, along with notions of transparency and easy access to data and information — is moving from a trend to a value for much of the world. As authoritative sources lose their importance, there is need for more curation and other forms of validation to generate meaning in information and media.
  6. Legal notions of ownership and privacy lag behind the practices common in society. In an age where so much of our information, records, and digital content are in the cloud, and often clouds in other legal jurisdictions, the very concept of ownership is blurry.
  7. Real challenges of access, efficiency, and scale are redefining what we mean by quality and success. Access to learning in any form is a challenge in too many parts of the world, and efficiency in learning systems and institutions is increasingly an expectation of governments — but the need for solutions that scale often trumps them both. Innovations in these areas are increasingly coming from unexpected parts of the world, including India, China, and central Africa.
  8. The Internet is constantly challenging us to rethink learning and education, while refining our notion of literacy. Institutions must consider the unique value that each adds to a world in which information is everywhere. In such a world, sense-making and the ability to assess the credibility of information and media are paramount.
  9. There is a rise in informal learning as individual needs are redefining schools, universities, and training. Traditional authority is increasingly being challenged, not only politically and socially, but also in academia — and worldwide. As a result, credibility, validity, and control are all notions that are no longer givens when so much learning takes place outside school systems.
  10.  Business models across the education ecosystem are changing. Libraries are deeply reimagining their missions; colleges and universities are struggling to reduce costs across the board. The educational ecosystem is shifting, and nowhere more so than in the world of publishing, where efforts to reimagine the book are having profound success, with implications that will touch every aspect of the learning enterprise.

These metatrends are the first of much yet to come in the next year. Watch NMC.org for news and more throughout the Horizon Project’s 10th Anniversary. To be part of the discussions, follow #NMChz!

 

 

Lifelong learning ecosystems!!! A powerful vision for our future [Daniel Christian]

From DSC:
The vision below involves:
(click on the image below to access it)
 

  • The convergence of the telephone, the television, and the computer
  • Cloud-based education stores/marketplaces/exchanges
  • Second screen devices and machine-to-machine communications
  • Social networking/learning
  • Smart classrooms/learning spaces
  • Content recognition/synchronization applications
  • Apps as “channels”
  • Web-based learner profiles
  • Video overlays
  • New business models in higher ed
  • New jobs/needs for the future
  • A new way for employers to hire highly-effective employees/contractors/consultants
  • …and more

 

Click this thumbnail image to access the larger image / vision

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storybird.com -- for encouraging storytelling, art, literacy, creativity and more!

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