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


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

By Daniel Christian

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

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


 

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

 

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

 

What does the vision entail?

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

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

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

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

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

This new learning platform will also feature:

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

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

Likely players:

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

 

 
 

From DSC:
I wish our vending machines here had some sensors in them in order to relay back to the vendor that we’re getting low on some items!   🙂

 

 

 

From DSC:
After reviewing the article and video (below), it will be interesting to see how machine-to-machine (M2M) communications will be used in combination with augmented reality — and perhaps with virtual reality and mixed reality as well. That is, get to within a certain range of an object, and something automatically happens on your mobile device or your head mounted device. Perhaps that’s the sort of thing Apple is building into their next smart phone. It would sure open up some interesting learning and entertainment-related experiences — as such new affordances could help foster anticipation and curiosity, while grabbing someone’s attention.

This type of thing could easily become a piece of the future of art and creativity.


 

Mini-Mirages Emerge in an Augmented Reality Art Exhibition — from creators.vice.com by Nathaniel Ainley
Adrien M and Claire B’s latest series of installations basically looks like Harry Potter magic come to life.

Excerpt:

Even in its early beta stages, the new live exhibition from digital artists Adrien M and Claire B will have you rubbing your eyes in disbelief. Throughout their Mirages & Miracles display, the artist duo uses wondrous applications of augmented reality to create an orchestra of new installations, both small and large. Much like their live dance performance work at BAM, the new bundle merges the digital with the material, blurring the lines between what is real and what is fake. The multi-pronged ensemble uses augmented drawings, holographic illusions, virtual-reality headsets, and large-scale projections to create a number of unbelievable scenarios “that take root in both the mirage and the miracle,” according to the duo.

 

 

Mirages & miracles, premier aperçu… from Adrien M & Claire B on Vimeo.

 

 

 

A smorgasboard of ideas to put on your organization’s radar! [Christian]

From DSC:
At the Next Generation Learning Spaces Conference, held recently in San Diego, CA, I moderated a panel discussion re: AR, VR, and MR.  I started off our panel discussion with some introductory ideas and remarks — meant to make sure that numerous ideas were on the radars at attendees’ organizations. Then Vinay and Carrie did a super job of addressing several topics and questions (Mary was unable to make it that day, as she got stuck in the UK due to transportation-related issues).

That said, I didn’t get a chance to finish the second part of the presentation which I’ve listed below in both 4:3 and 16:9 formats.  So I made a recording of these ideas, and I’m relaying it to you in the hopes that it can help you and your organization.

 


Presentations/recordings:


 

Audio/video recording (187 MB MP4 file)

 

 


Again, I hope you find this information helpful.

Thanks,
Daniel

 

 

 

“The world’s first smart #AugmentedReality for the Connected Home has arrived.  — from thunderclap.it

From DSC:
Note this new type of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). I think that we’ll likely be seeing much more of this sort of thing.

 

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

How is Hayo different?
AR that connects the magical and the functional:

Unlike most AR integrations, Hayo removes the screens from smarthome use and transforms the objects and spaces around you into a set of virtual remote controls. Hayo empowers you to create experiences that have previously been limited by the technology, but now are only limited by your imagination.

Screenless IoT:
The best interface is no interface at all. Aside from the one-time setup Hayo does not use any screens. Your real-life surfaces become the interface and you, the user, become the controls. Virtual remote controls can be placed wherever you want for whatever you need by simply using your Hayo device to take a 3D scan of your space.

Smarter AR experience:
Hayo anticipates your unique context, passive motion and gestures to create useful and more unique controls for the connected home. The Hayo system learns your behaviors and uses its AI to help meet your needs.

 

 

 

 

Also see:

 

 

Wall Street Jobs Won’t Be Spared from Automation — from hbr.stfi.re by Thomas H. Davenport

Excerpt:

Some conference participants were concerned that this beleaguered region might grow. In fact, one attendee — an old friend who strategizes about technology for a big New York bank — commented that perhaps Wall Street would become “the new Rust Belt.” His concern was that automation of the finance industry would hollow out jobs in that field in the same way that robotics and other technologies have reduced manufacturing employment.

This is a sobering prospect, but there is plenty of evidence that it’s a real possibility. Key aspects of the finance industry have already been automated to a substantial degree. Jobs in the New York finance field have been declining for several years. According to data from research firm Coalition Ltd., more than 10,000 “front-office producer” jobs have been lost within the top 10 banks since 2011. Coalition also suggests that global fixed-income headcount has fallen 31% since 2011.

 

 

Predictions for 2017: How Will the Digital World of Work Transform HR? — from hrdailyadvisor.blr.com

Excerpt:

According to a new report, organizations are moving away from hierarchies, focusing on improving the employee experience, redesigning training, and reinventing the role of HR.

Business and HR leaders should rethink almost all of their management and HR practices as the proliferation of digital technologies transform the way organizations work, according to predictions for 2017 from Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP.

This year’s report includes 11 predictions about rapid technological, structural, and cultural changes that will reshape the world of work, including management, HR, and the markets for HR and workplace technology.

 

 

Artificial intelligence has a big year ahead — from cnet.com by Stepehn Shankland
In 2017, AI won’t just be for the nerdy companies. Machine learning can help with mortgage applications and bridge safety, too.

Excerpt:

Get ready for AI to show up where you’d least expect it.

In 2016, tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft launched dozens of products and services powered by artificial intelligence. Next year will be all about the rest of the business world embracing AI.

Artificial intelligence is a 60-year-old term, and its promise has long seemed like it was forever over the horizon. But new hardware, software, services and expertise means it’s finally real — even though companies will still need plenty of human brain power to get it working.

 

 

AI was one of the hottest trends in tech this year, and it’s only poised to get bigger. You’ve already brushed up against AI: It screens out spam, organizes your digital photos and transcribes your spoken text messages. In 2017, it will spread beyond digital doodads to mainstream businesses.

 

 

 

2017 Design Trends: Predictions from Top Creatives — howdesign.com by Callie Budrick

Excerpt:

The design world has seen its own changes and updates as well. And as we know, change is the only constant. We’ve asked some of the top creatives to share what 2017 design trends they think will be headed our way.

 

 

MapR Executive Chairman and Founder John Schroeder Identifies 6 Big Data Predictions for 2017 — from businesswire.com

Excerpt:

SAN JOSE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The market has evolved from technologists looking to learn and understand new big data technologies to customers who want to learn about new projects, new companies and most importantly, how organizations are actually benefitting from the technology. According to John Schroeder, executive chairman and founder of MapR Technologies, Inc., the acceleration in big data deployments has shifted the focus to the value of the data. John has crystallized his view of market trends into these six major predictions for 2017…

 

 

The Most Exciting Medical Technologies of 2017 — from medicalfuturist.com

Excerpt:

2016 was a rich year for medical technology. Virtual Reality. Augmented Reality. Smart algorithms analysing wearable data. Amazing technologies arrived in our lives and on the market almost every day. And it will not stop in the coming year. The role of a futurist is certainly not making bold predictions about the future. No such big bet has taken humanity forward. Instead, our job is constantly analysing the trends shaping the future and trying to build bridges between them and what we have today. Still, people expect me to come up with predictions about medical technologies every year, and thus here they are.

 

 

2017 Predictions For AI, Big Data, IoT, Cybersecurity, And Jobs From Senior Tech Executives — from forbes.com by Gil Press

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence (and machine/deep learning) is the hottest trend, eclipsing, but building on, the accumulated hype for the previous “new big thing,” big data. The new catalyst for the data explosion is the Internet of Things, bringing with it new cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The rapid fluctuations in the relative temperature of these trends also create new dislocations and opportunities in the tech job market.

The hottest segment of the hottest trend—artificial intelligence—is the market for chatbots. “The movement towards conversational interfaces will accelerate,” says Stuart Frankel, CEO, Narrative Science. “The recent, combined efforts of a number of innovative tech giants point to a coming year when interacting with technology through conversation becomes the norm. Are conversational interfaces really a big deal? They’re game-changing. Since the advent of computers, we have been forced to speak the language of computers in order to communicate with them and now we’re teaching them to communicate in our language.”

 

 

Allen Institute for AI Eyes the Future of Scientific Search — from wired.com by Cade Metz

Excerpt:

Google changed the world with its PageRank algorithm, creating a new kind of internet search engine that could instantly sift through the world’s online information and, in many cases, show us just what we wanted to see. But that was a long time ago. As the volume of online documents continues to increase, we need still newer ways of finding what we want.

That’s why Google is now running its search engine with help from machine learning, augmenting its predetermined search rules with deep neural networks that can learn to identify the best search results by analyzing vast amounts of existing search data. And it’s not just Google. Microsoft is pushing its Bing search engine in the same direction, and so are others beyond the biggest names in tech.

 

 

3 Forces Shaping Ed Tech in 2017 — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser
Ovum’s latest report examines the key trends that are expected to impact higher education in the new year.

Excerpts:

  1. Institutions Will Support the Use of More Innovative Tech in Teaching and Learning
  2. Schools Will Leverage Technology for Improving the Student Experience
  3. The Next-Generation IT Strategy Will Focus More on IT Agility

 

 

Virtual Reality, AI Top Predictions for 2017 — from techzone360.com by Alicia Young

Excerpt:

We’ve seen a lot of exciting new innovations take place over the course of 2016. This year has introduced interesting new uses for virtual reality—like using VR to help burn victims in hospitals mentally escape from the pain during procedures—and even saw the world’s first revolutionary augmented reality game in the form of Pokémon Go. The iPhone 7 was also introduced, leaving millions of people uncertain of their feelings regarding Apple, while Samsung loyalists just prayed that their smartphones would stay in one piece.

Undoubtedly, there have been quite a few ups and downs in technology over the past year. With any luck, 2017 will provide us with even more new innovations and advancements in tech. But what exactly do we have to look forward to? TMC recently caught up with Jordan Edelson, CEO of Appetizer Mobile, to discuss his thoughts on 2016 and his predictions for what’s to come in the future. You can find the entire exchange below.

 

 

 

The Fourth Transformation: Augmented Reality & Artificial Intelligence — from forbes.com by John Koetsier

Excerpt:

Since then, we’ve seen three transformations. The latest, augmented reality plus artificial intelligence, will change more than the previous three combined.  At least, that’s what tech evangelist Robert Scoble and author Shel Israel say in their new book: The Fourth Transformation: How Augmented Reality & Artificial Intelligence Will Change Everything.

 

 

 

15 Virtual Reality Trends We’re Predicting for 2017 — from appreal-vr.com by Yariv Levski

 

Excerpt:

2016 is fast drawing to a close. And while many will be glad to see the back of it, for those of us who work and play with Virtual Reality, it has been a most exciting year. By the time the bells ring out signalling the start of a new year, the total number of VR users will exceed 43 million. This is a market on the move, projected to be worth $30bn by 2020. If it’s to meet that valuation, then we believe 2017 will be an incredibly important year in the lifecycle of VR hardware and software development. VR will be enjoyed by an increasingly mainstream audience very soon, and here we take a quick look at some of the trends we expect to develop over the next 12 months for that to happen.

 

 

Our Tech Predictions for 2017 — from medium.com

Excerpts:

Every December, we take a look back at big ideas from the past twelve months that promise to gain momentum in the new year. With more than eleven thousand projects launched between our Design and Tech categories in 2016, we have a nice sample to draw from. More importantly, we have a community of forward-thinking backers who help creators figure out which versions of the future to pursue. Here are some of the emerging trends we expect to see more of in 2017.

Everyday artificial intelligence
Whether chatting with a device as if it’s a virtual assistant strikes you as a sci-fi dream come true or a dystopian nightmare, we’re going to see an increasing number of products that use voice-controlled artificial intelligence interfaces to fit into users’ lives more seamlessly. Among the projects leading the way in this arena are Vi, wireless earphones that double as a personal trainer; Bonjour, an alarm clock that wakes you up with a personalized daily briefing; and Dashbot, a talking car accessory that recalls Kit, David Hasselhoff’s buddy from Knight Rider. One of the factors driving this talking AI boom is the emergence of platforms like Microsoft’s Cognitive Service, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Speech API, which allow product developers to focus on user experience rather than low-level speech processing. For the DIY set, Seeed’s ReSpeaker offers a turnkey devkit for working with these services, and we’ll surely see more tools for integrating AI voice interfaces into all manner of products.

 

 

3 reasons 2017 is the year to develop a company chatbot — from thenextweb.com by Ellie Martin

Excerpt:

During Microsoft’s Build Conference earlier this year, CEO Satya Nadella delivered the three-hour keynote address, in which he highlighted his belief that the future of technology lies in human language. In this new wave of technology, conversation is the new interface, and “bots are the new apps.” While not as flashy as virtual reality nor as immediately practical as 3D printing, chatbots are nevertheless gaining major traction this year, with support coming from across the entire tech industry. The big tech enterprises are all entering the chatbot space, and many startups are too.

 

Out with the apps, in with the chatbots. The reason for the attention is simple: The power of the natural language processor, software that processes and parses human language, creating a simple and universal means of interacting with technology.

 

 

 

When kids toys come to life: How AR is transforming play — from thememo.com by Kitty Knowles
We asked three entrepreneurs to explain why AR toys are going to be the next big trend.

 

 

 

 

 

By 2030, this is what computers will be able to do — from medium.com by the World Economic Forum

Excerpt:

Developments in computing are driving the transformation of entire systems of production, management, and governance. In this interview Justine Cassell, Associate Dean, Technology, Strategy and Impact, at the School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, and co-chair of the Global Future Council on Computing, says we must ensure that these developments benefit all society, not just the wealthy or those participating in the “new economy”.

 

 

 

 

 

Artificial Intelligence will drive innovation and development in 2017, says Ericsson — from tech.firstpost.com

Excerpt:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is an important development and consumers globally will see it playing a much more prominent role — both in society and at work — next year, a new report said on Tuesday. Ericsson ConsumerLab, in its annual trend report titled “The 10 Hot Consumer Trends for 2017 and beyond”, said that 35 percent of advanced internet users want an AI advisor at work and one in four would like AI as their manager.At the same time, almost half of the respondents were concerned that AI robots will soon make a lot of people lose their jobs.

 

 

21 technology tipping points we will reach by 2030 — from businessinsider.com by Cadie Thompson

Excerpt:

From driverless cars to robotic workers, the future is going to be here before you know it. Many emerging technologies you hear about today will reach a tipping point by 2025, according to a report from The World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Future of Software & Society. The council surveyed more than 800 executives and experts from the technology sector to share their respective timelines for when technologies would become mainstream. From the survey results, the council identified 21 defining moments, all of which they predict will occur by 2030. Here’s a look at the technological shifts you can expect during the next 14 years.

The first robotic pharmacist will arrive in the US 2021.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Chatbot Revolution: Rise of the Conversational User Interface — from tech.economictimes.indiatimes.com by Aakrit Vaish

Excerpt:

At Haptik, we have now been working on chatbots for over 3 years, and this post will attempt to make some sense of where we are as an industry.

 

 

AI, VR, Chatbots to Take Off in 2017 Microsoft Researchers Predict — from eweek.com by Pedro Hernandez
Prominent Microsoft researchers share their tech predictions for an AI-enabled future that blurs the line between physical and virtual experiences.

Excerpt:

A new year is quickly approaching and Microsoft Research is offering a glimpse at what the tech scene has in store for 2017 along with some hints at the Redmond, Wash., tech giant’s own priorities for the coming year. This year, the company gathered prominent women researchers to share their thoughts on what to expect next year. Surprising nobody’s who’s been following Microsoft’s software and cloud computing strategy of late, the company is betting big on artificial intelligence (AI).

 

 

11 IoT Predictions for 2017 — from ioti.com by Brian Buntz

Excerpt:

It’s still early days for the Internet of Things. As recently as 2014, 87 percent of consumers had never heard of the technology, according to Accenture. In 2016, and 19% of business and government professionals reported that they had never heard of the Internet of Things while 18% were only vaguely familiar with it, according to research from the Internet of Things Institute. Although the technology is getting the most traction in the industrial space, the most promising use cases for the technology are just starting to come to light. To get a sense of what to expect as we head into 2017, we spoke with Stanford lecturer and IoT author Timothy Chou, Ph.D.; Thulium.co CEO Tamara McCleary; industry observer and influencer Evan Kirstel; and Sandy Carter, CEO and founder of Silicon-Blitz.

 

 

 

 


Addendums:


 

 

 

Amazon Opening Store That Will Eliminate Checkout — and Lines — from bloomberg.com by Jing Cao
At Amazon Seattle location items get charged to Prime account | New technology combines artificial intelligence and sensors

Excerpt:

Amazon.com Inc. unveiled technology that will let shoppers grab groceries without having to scan and pay for them — in one stroke eliminating the checkout line.

The company is testing the new system at what it’s calling an Amazon Go store in Seattle, which will open to the public early next year. Customers will be able to scan their phones at the entrance using a new Amazon Go mobile app. Then the technology will track what items they pick up or even return to the shelves and add them to a virtual shopping cart in real time, according a video Amazon posted on YouTube. Once the customers exit the store, they’ll be charged on their Amazon account automatically.

 

 

 

Amazon Introduces ‘Amazon Go’ Retail Stores, No Checkout, No Lines — from investors.com

Excerpt:

Online retail king Amazon.com (AMZN) is taking dead aim at the physical-store world Monday, introducing Amazon Go, a retail convenience store format it is developing that will use computer vision and deep-learning algorithms to let shoppers just pick up what they want and exit the store without any checkout procedure.

Shoppers will merely need to tap the Amazon Go app on their smartphones, and their virtual shopping carts will automatically tabulate what they owe, and deduct that amount from their Amazon accounts, sending you a receipt. It’s what the company has deemed “just walk out technology,” which it said is based on the same technology used in self-driving cars. It’s certain to up the ante in the company’s competition with Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT) and the other retail leaders.

 

 

Google DeepMind Makes AI Training Platform Publicly Available — from bloomberg.com by Jeremy Kahn
Company is increasingly embracing open-source initiatives | Move comes after rival Musk’s OpenAI made its robot gym public

Excerpt:

Alphabet Inc.’s artificial intelligence division Google DeepMind is making the maze-like game platform it uses for many of its experiments available to other researchers and the general public.

DeepMind is putting the entire source code for its training environment — which it previously called Labyrinth and has now renamed as DeepMind Lab — on the open-source depository GitHub, the company said Monday. Anyone will be able to download the code and customize it to help train their own artificial intelligence systems. They will also be able to create new game levels for DeepMind Lab and upload these to GitHub.

 

Related:
Alphabet DeepMind is inviting developers into the digital world where its AI learns to explore — from qz.com by Dave Gershgorn

 

 

 

After Retail Stumble, Beacons Shine From Banks to Sports Arenas — from bloomberg.com by Olga Kharif
Shipments of the devices expected to grow to 500 million

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Beacon technology, which was practically left for dead after failing to deliver on its promise to revolutionize the retail industry, is making a comeback.

Beacons are puck-size gadgets that can send helpful tips, coupons and other information to people’s smartphones through Bluetooth. They’re now being used in everything from bank branches and sports arenas to resorts, airports and fast-food restaurants. In the latest sign of the resurgence, Mobile Majority, an advertising startup, said on Monday that it was buying Gimbal Inc., a beacon maker it bills as the largest independent source of location data other than Google and Apple Inc.

Several recent developments have sparked the latest boom. Companies like Google parent Alphabet Inc. are making it possible for people to use the feature without downloading any apps, which had been a major barrier to adoption, said Patrick Connolly, an analyst at ABI. Introduced this year, Google Nearby Notifications lets developers tie an app or a website to a beacon to send messages to consumers even when they have no app installed.

But in June, Cupertino, California-based Mist Systems began shipping a software-based product that simplified the process. Instead of placing 10 beacons on walls and ceilings, for example, management using Mist can install one device every 2,000 feet (610 meters), then designate various points on a digital floor plan as virtual beacons, which can be moved with a click of a mouse.

 

 

Google’s Hand-Fed AI Now Gives Answers, Not Just Search Results — from wired.com by Cade Metz

Excerpt:

Ask the Google search app “What is the fastest bird on Earth?,” and it will tell you.

“Peregrine falcon,” the phone says. “According to YouTube, the peregrine falcon has a maximum recorded airspeed of 389 kilometers per hour.”

That’s the right answer, but it doesn’t come from some master database inside Google. When you ask the question, Google’s search engine pinpoints a YouTube video describing the five fastest birds on the planet and then extracts just the information you’re looking for. It doesn’t mention those other four birds. And it responds in similar fashion if you ask, say, “How many days are there in Hanukkah?” or “How long is Totem?” The search engine knows that Totem is a Cirque de Soleil show, and that it lasts two-and-a-half hours, including a thirty-minute intermission.

Google answers these questions with the help from deep neural networks, a form of artificial intelligence rapidly remaking not just Google’s search engine but the entire company and, well, the other giants of the internet, from Facebook to Microsoft. Deep neutral nets are pattern recognition systems that can learn to perform specific tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data. In this case, they’ve learned to take a long sentence or paragraph from a relevant page on the web and extract the upshot—the information you’re looking for.

 

 

Deep Learning in Production at Facebook — from re-work.co by Katie Pollitt

Excerpt:

Facebook is powered by machine learning and AI. From advertising relevance, news feed and search ranking to computer vision, face recognition, and speech recognition, they run ML models at massive scale, computing trillions of predictions every day.

At the 2016 Deep Learning Summit in Boston, Andrew Tulloch, Research Engineer at Facebook, talked about some of the tools and tricks Facebook use for scaling both the training and deployment of some of their deep learning models at Facebook. He also covered some useful libraries that they’d open-sourced for production-oriented deep learning applications. Tulloch’s session can be watched in full below.

 

 

The Artificial Intelligence Gold Rush — from foresightr.com by Mark Vickers
Big companies, venture capital firms and governments are all banking on AI

Excerpt:

Let’s start with some of the brand-name organizations laying down big bucks on artificial intelligence.

  • Amazon: Sells the successful Echo home speaker, which comes with the personal assistant Alexa.
  • Alphabet (Google): Uses deep learning technology to power Internet searches and developed AlphaGo, an AI that beat the world champion in the game of Go.
  • Apple: Developed the popular virtual assistant Siri and is working on other phone-related AI applications, such as facial recognition.
  • Baidu: Wants to use AI to improve search, recognize images of objects and respond to natural language queries.
  • Boeing: Works with Carnegie Mellon University to develop machine learning capable of helping it design and build planes more efficiently.
  • Facebook: Wants to create the “best AI lab in the world.” Has its personal assistant, M, and focuses heavily on facial recognition.
    IBM: Created the Jeopardy-winning Watson AI and is leveraging its data analysis and natural language capabilities in the healthcare industry.
  • Intel: Has made acquisitions to help it build specialized chips and software to handle deep learning.
  • Microsoft: Works on chatbot technology and acquired SwiftKey, which predicts what users will type next.
  • Nokia: Has introduced various machine learning capabilities to its portfolio of customer-experience software.
    Nvidia: Builds computer chips customized for deep learning.
  • Salesforce: Took first place at the Stanford Question Answering Dataset, a test of machine learning and comprehension, and has developed the Einstein model that learns from data.
  • Shell: Launched a virtual assistant to answer customer questions.
  • Tesla Motors: Continues to work on self-driving automobile technologies.
  • Twitter: Created an AI-development team called Cortex and acquired several AI startups.

 

 

 

IBM Watson and Education in the Cognitive Era — from i-programmer.info by Nikos Vaggalis

Excerpt:

IBM’s seemingly ubiquitous Watson is now infiltrating education, through AI powered software that ‘reads’ the needs of individual  students in order to engage them through tailored learning approaches.

This is not to be taken lightly, as it opens the door to a new breed of technologies that will spearhead the education or re-education of the workforce of the future.

As outlined in the 2030 report, despite robots or AI displacing a big chunk of the workforce, they will also play a major role in creating job opportunities as never before.In such a competitive landscape, workers of all kinds, white or blue collar to begin with, should come readied with new, versatile and contemporary skills.

The point is, the very AI that will leave someone jobless, will also help him to re-adapt into a new job’s requirements.It will also prepare the new generations through the use of such optimal methodologies that will once more give meaning to the aging  and counter-productive schooling system which has the  students’ skills disengaged from the needs of the industry and which still segregates students into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Might it be that ‘bad’ students become just like that due to the system’s inability to stimulate their interest?

 

 

 

 

Explosive IoT growth could produce skills shortage — from rtinsights.com by Joe McKendrick

Excerpts:

CIO’s Sharon Florentine took a look at data from global freelance marketplace Upwork, based on annual job posting growth and skills demand. The following are leading IoT skills Florentine identified that will be demand as the IoT proliferates, with level the growth seen over a one-year period:

Circuit design (231% growth): Builds miniaturized circuit boards for sensors and devices.

Microcontroller programming (225% growth): Writes code that provides intelligence to microcontrollers, the embedded chips within IoT devices.

AutoCAD (216% growth): Designs the devices.

Machine learning (199% growth): Writes the algorithms that recognize data patterns within devices.

Security infrastructure (194% growth): Identifies and integrates the standards, protocols and technologies that protect devices, as well as the data inside.

Big data (183% growth): Data scientists and engineers “who can collect, organize, analyze and architect disparate sources of data.” Hadoop and Apache Spark are two areas with particularly strong demand.

 

From DSC:
If we had more beacons on our campus (a Christian liberal arts college), I could see where we could offer a variety of things in new ways:

For example, we might use beacons around the main walkways of our campus where, when we approach these beacons, pieces of advice or teaching could appear on an app on our mobile devices. Examples could include:

  • Micro-tips on prayer from John Calvin, Martin Luther, or Augustine (i.e., 1 or 2 small tips at a time; could change every day or every week)
  • Or, for a current, campus-wide Bible study, the app could show a question for that week’s study; you could reflect on that question as you’re walking around
  • Or, for musical events…when one walks by the Covenant Fine Arts Center, one could get that week’s schedule of performances or what’s currently showing in the Art Gallery
  • Peaces of scripture, with links to Biblegateway.com or other sites
  • Further information re: what’s being displayed on posters within the hallways — works that might be done by faculty members and/or by students
  • Etc.

A person could turn the app’s notifications on or off at any time.  The app would encourage greater exercise; i.e., the more you walk around, the more tips you get.

 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems