VR Is the Fastest-Growing Skill for Online Freelancers — from bloomberg.com by Isabel Gottlieb
Workers who specialize in artificial intelligence also saw big jumps in demand for their expertise.


Overall, tech-related skills accounted for nearly two-thirds of Upwork’s list of the 20 fastest-growing skills.




Also see:

How to Prepare Preschoolers for an Automated Economy — from nytimes.com by Claire Miller and Jess Bidgood


MEDFORD, Mass. — Amory Kahan, 7, wanted to know when it would be snack time. Harvey Borisy, 5, complained about a scrape on his elbow. And Declan Lewis, 8, was wondering why the two-wheeled wooden robot he was programming to do the Hokey Pokey wasn’t working. He sighed, “Forward, backward, and it stops.”

Declan tried it again, and this time the robot shook back and forth on the gray rug. “It did it!” he cried. Amanda Sullivan, a camp coordinator and a postdoctoral researcher in early childhood technology, smiled. “They’ve been debugging their Hokey Pokeys,” she said.

The children, at a summer camp last month run by the Developmental Technologies Research Group at Tufts University, were learning typical kid skills: building with blocks, taking turns, persevering through frustration. They were also, researchers say, learning the skills necessary to succeed in an automated economy.

Technological advances have rendered an increasing number of jobs obsolete in the last decade, and researchers say parts of most jobs will eventually be automated. What the labor market will look like when today’s young children are old enough to work is perhaps harder to predict than at any time in recent history. Jobs are likely to be very different, but we don’t know which will still exist, which will be done by machines and which new ones will be created.




155 chatbots in this brand new landscape. Where does your bot fit? — from venturebeat.com by Carylyne Chan


Since we started building bots at KeyReply more than two years ago, the industry has seen massive interest and change. This makes it hard for companies and customers to figure out what’s really happening — so we hope to throw some light on this industry by creating a landscape of chatbot-related businesses. There’s no way to put everyone into this landscape, so we have selected examples that give readers an overview of the industry, such as notable or dominant providers and tools widely used to develop bots.

To put everything into a coherent structure, we arranged companies along the axes according to the functions of their bots and how they built them.

On the horizontal axis, the “marketing” function refers to a bot’s ability to drive exposure, reach, and interaction with the brand or product for potential and current customers. The “support” function refers to a bot’s ability to assist current customers with problems and to resolve those problems for them.

On the vertical axis, “managed” refers to companies outsourcing the development of bots to external vendors, whereas “self-serve” refers to them building their bots in-house or with an off-the-shelf tool.






Getting students ready for the gig economy — from gettingsmart.com by Emily Liebtag


1) Finding a Passion and Making an Impact
Exploring passions, interests and causes that matter should be a part of every student’s education. Projects or several short-term gigs are a great way to help students reveal (or discover) their personal passions and to facilitate their interest explorations (all while still covering core content and standards). There are many students who already have opportunities to explore their passions during the regular school day through projects and are thriving as a result.

We’ve seen students at High Tech High create business plans and sell self-designed t-shirts, students at Thrive Public Schools engage in projects around kindness and empathy in their communities, and students at One Stone work with clients on advertising and marketing gigs, exploring their passions one project at a time.

Need ideas? Engage students in projects around the Sustainable Development Goals, snag an idea from the the PBL Q & A blog or simply ask students what they are curious about exploring in their community.



LinkedIn unveils the top skills that can get you hired in 2017


Data and cloud reign supreme: I smell a dynasty in the making! Cloud and distributed computing has remained in the #1 spot for the past two years and is the Top Skill on almost every list — including France, Germany, India, Ireland, Singapore, the U.S., and Spain. Following closely on its heels is statistical analysis and data mining, which came in #2 last year, and #1 in 2014. These skills are in such high demand because they’re at the cutting edge of technology. Employers need employees with cloud and distributed computing, statistical analysis and data mining skills to stay competitive.







From DSC:
The need for people who have “IT”-related skills is consistent across the globe.




AI chatbot apps to infiltrate businesses sooner than you think — from searchbusinessanalytics.techtarget.com by Bridget Botelho
Artificial intelligence chatbots aren’t the norm yet, but within the next five years, there’s a good chance the sales person emailing you won’t be a person at all.


In fact, artificial intelligence has come so far so fast in recent years, Gartner predicts it will be pervasive in all new products by 2020, with technologies including natural language capabilities, deep neural networks and conversational capabilities.

Other analysts share that expectation. Technologies that encompass the umbrella term artificial intelligence — including image recognition, machine learning, AI chatbots and speech recognition — will soon be ubiquitous in business applications as developers gain access to it through platforms such as the IBM Watson Conversation API and the Google Cloud Natural Language API.



3 corporate departments that chatbots will disrupt — from venturebeat.com by Natalie Lambert


  1. Customer Service
  2. Human Resources
  3. Marketing



Facebook Messenger’s 11,000 chatbots are much more interactive — from androidcentral.com by Harish Jonnalagadda


Facebook introduced chatbots on Messenger three months ago, and the search giant has shared today that over 11,000 bots are active on the messaging service. The Messenger Platform has picked up an update that adds a slew of new features to bots, such as a persistent menu that lists a bot’s commands, quick replies, ability to respond with GIFs, audio, video, and other files, and a rating system to provide feedback to bot developers.



Chatbots are coming to take over the world — from telecom.economictimes.indiatimes.com


In another example, many businesses use interactive voice response (IVR) telephony systems, which have limited functionalities and often provide a poor user experience. Chatbots can replace these applications in future where the user will interact naturally to get relevant information without following certain steps or waiting for a logical sequence to occur.

Chatbots are a good starting point, but the future lies in more advanced versions of audio and video bots. Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Google with its voice assistance, are working in the same direction to achieve it. Bot ecosystems will become even more relevant in the phase of IoT mass adoption and improvement of input/output (I/O) technology.



With big players investing heavily in AI, Chatbots are likely to be an increasing feature of social media and other communications platforms.



Everything You Wanted to Know About Chatbots But Were Afraid to Ask — from businessinsider.com by Andrew Meola


Chatbots are software programs that use messaging platforms as the interface to perform a wide variety of tasks—everything from scheduling a meeting to reporting the weather, to helping a customer buy a sweater.

Because texting is the heart of the mobile experience for smartphone users, chatbots are a natural way to turn something users are very familiar with into a rewarding service or marketing opportunity.

And when you consider that the top 4 messaging apps reach over 3 billion global users (MORE than the top 4 social networks), you can see that the opportunity is huge.









Consumers are multiscreening more than ever before — optimize your content for it

  • On average, 83 percent of global consumers report they multiscreen, using 2.23 devices at the same time.





As attention spans shrink, 59 percent of consumers globally would rather engage with content that’s beautifully designed than simple — even when short on time.



More than half of consumers (57%) would prefer to watch videos on breaking news vs. read an article and 63 percent would rather skim several short stories than read deeper articles.


Globally, consumers use an average of 5 devices and 10 services





The North Face uses IBM’s Watson to make online shopping smarter — from thestreet.com by Rebecca Borison


Aiming to solve one of e-commerce’s challenges of not offering personalized service, VF Corp’s “The North Face” on Monday launched a new online shopping tool using IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence system.

The tool, which is powered by Fluid and called XPS, guides a consumer through the online store to better find what he or she is looking for.

E-commerce today doesn’t generally give the personal attention a consumer might get when he walks into a store and is greeted by a human being. This new tool seeks to address that challenge.





Watch this robot solve a Rubik’s Cube in a world record 2.39 seconds — from singularityhub.com by Jason Dorrier




Novo Nordisk, IBM Watson Health to create ‘virtual doctor’ — from wsj.com by Denise Roland
Software could dispense treatment advice for diabetes patients


Novo Nordisk A/S is teaming up with IBM Watson Health, a division of International Business Machines Corp., to create a “virtual doctor” for diabetes patients that could dispense treatment advice such as insulin dosage.

The Danish diabetes specialist hopes to use IBM’s supercomputer platform, Watson, to analyze health data from diabetes patients to help them manage their disease.




CES 2016: driverless cars and virtual reality to dominate at world’s biggest technology show — from mirror.co.uk
The world’s biggest technology showcase kicks off in Las Vegas on 6 January 2016. Here’s what we know about what will be happening at the Consumer Electronics Show




Build an automatic cookie decorating machine with LEGO Mindstorms — from lifehacker.com by Patrick Allan


Decorating cookies by hand can be a pleasant activity, but with a LEGO Mindstorms set, you can crank out a bunch of perfectly iced cookies in no time at all.



World’s First Holographic Navigation System — from machinetomachinemagazine.com


PARIS – The United States is the first commercial market to receive two innovative telematics devices that apply aerospace technology to land navigation. WayRay Navion is an augmented reality navigation system that projects holographic GPS imagery and driver notifications onto the windshield of a car, a first-of-its-kind for the automobile aftermarket. WayRay Element is a smart tracker that can be plugged into the diagnostics port of any automobile for monitoring driver performance, safety and fuel efficiency. The solutions arrive courtesy of WayRay, a Swiss startup dedicated to the advancement of connected car telematics, and Orange Business Services, a B2B global telecom operator and IT solutions integrator.




The hot products for holiday 2015: IBM Watson launches new app that can predict trends — from by Kimberly Whitler


The holiday season—that favorite time of year for retailers and shoppers alike—is just around the corner.  And this year, IBM Watson is launching an app that provides shoppers with the ability to understand the top trends of the season and to predict which products are likely to sell out.

Distilling the sentiment of millions of online conversations across the internet (including social media sites, blogs, forums, ratings, reviews, etc.), the new Watson app (to download the free app, click here) goes beyond providing a static ranking of popular products to provide insight on how consumers feel about the products.


Also see:





Addendum om 11/30/15:


From DSC:
Many times we don’t want to hear news that could be troubling in terms of our futures. But we need to deal with these trends now or face the destabilization that Harold Jarche mentions in his posting below. 

The topics found in the following items should be discussed in courses involving economics, business, political science, psychology, futurism, engineering, religion*, robotics, marketing, the law/legal affairs and others throughout the world.  These trends are massive and have enormous ramifications for our societies in the not-too-distant future.

* When I mention religion classes here, I’m thinking of questions such as :

  • What does God have in mind for the place of work in our lives?
    Is it good for us? If so, why or why not?
  • How might these trends impact one’s vocation/calling?
  • …and I’m sure that professors who teach faith/
    religion-related courses can think of other questions to pursue


turmoil and transition — from jarche.com by Harold Jarche

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

One of the greatest issues that will face Canada, and many developed countries in the next decade will be wealth distribution. While it does not currently appear to be a major problem, the disparity between rich and poor will increase. The main reason will be the emergence of a post-job economy. The ‘job’ was the way we redistributed wealth, making capitalists pay for the means of production and in return creating a middle class that could pay for mass produced goods. That period is almost over. From self-driving vehicles to algorithms replacing knowledge workers, employment is not keeping up with production. Value in the network era is accruing to the owners of the platforms, with companies such as Instagram reaching $1 billion valuations with only 13 employees.

The emerging economy of platform capitalism includes companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Apple. These giants combined do not employ as many people as General Motors did.  But the money accrued by them is enormous and remains in a few hands. The rest of the labour market has to find ways to cobble together a living income. Hence we see many people willing to drive for a company like Uber in order to increase cash-flow. But drivers for Uber have no career track. The platform owners get richer, but the drivers are limited by finite time. They can only drive so many hours per day, and without benefits. At the same time, those self-driving cars are poised to replace all Uber drivers in the near future. Standardized work, like driving a vehicle, has little future in a world of nano-bio-cogno-techno progress.


Value in the network era is accruing to the owners of the platforms, with companies such as Instagram reaching $1 billion valuations with only 13 employees.


For the past century, the job was the way we redistributed wealth and protected workers from the negative aspects of early capitalism. As the knowledge economy disappears, we need to re-think our concepts of work, income, employment, and most importantly education. If we do not find ways to help citizens lead productive lives, our society will face increasing destabilization. 


Also see:

Will artificial intelligence and robots take your marketing job? — from by markedu.com by
Technology will overtake jobs to an extent and at a rate we have not seen before. Artificial intelligence is threatening jobs even in service and knowledge intensive sectors. This begs the question: are robots threatening to take your marketing job?


What exactly is a human job?
The benefits of artificial intelligence are obvious. Massive productivity gains while a new layer of personalized services from your computer – whether that is a burger robot or Dr. Watson. But artificial intelligence has a bias. Many jobs will be lost.

A few years ago a study from the University of Oxford got quite a bit of attention. The study said that 47 percent of the US labor market could be replaced by intelligent computers within the next 20 years.

The losers are a wide range of job categories within the administration, service, sales, transportation and manufacturing.

Before long we should – or must – redefine what exactly a human job is and the usefulness of it. How we as humans can best complement the extraordinary capabilities of artificial intelligence.


This development is expected to grow fast. There are different predictions about the timing, but by 2030 there will be very few tasks that only a human can solve.



Augmented Reality – hype, or the future? — from mybroadband.co.za by EE Publishers
The concept of Augmented Reality has existed for many years now – and commentators have remained rigidly sceptical about whether it will truly materialise in our everyday lives.


Essentially, AR describes the way in which a device (such as a smartphone camera, wearables like Google Glasses, or a videogame motion sensor) uses an application to “see” the real world around us, and overlay augmented features onto that view.

These augmented features are aimed at adding value to the user’s experience of their physical environment.

We predict there will be three primary areas in which we will initially engage with AR:

The way we consume information: Imagine going to a library or museum and being able to have a “conversation” with key people throughout history, or instantly transform the world around to you resemble a bygone era.

The fields of product development, marketing and customer engagement: Overlaying new digital services into retail environments opens up a host of new possibilities for organisations to tailor products to their consumers.

Back office/operational functions within the organisation: Companies are already finding ways to use AR in their supply chain, logistics and warehousing environments. Find out, for example, if a particular unit is missing from a shelf.



From DSC:
I wonder how Machine-to-Machine communications, beacons, GPS, and more will come into play here…? The end result, I think is a connection between the physical world and the digital world:




© 2017 | Daniel Christian