VR and AR: Transforming Learning and Scholarship in the Humanities and Social Sciences — from er.educause.edu b

What if a text or work of art is no longer read, but instead, experienced? What new questions are raised when it’s possible to visit an author’s home or stroll through the streets of an ancient city? How will our interpretations of literature, art, history and archaeology change when we are no longer passive recipients but co-constructors and actors in immersive experiences? How will this challenge us to think outside our current learning paradigms? These and other questions arise when we examine the impact of immersive technologies on the humanities and the social sciences.

 

Some examples mentioned there include:

 

 

 

Microsoft joins the VR battle with Windows Mixed Reality [on 10/17/17] — from theverge.com by Tom Warren

Excerpt:

Microsoft is launching its own answer to virtual reality today, taking on HTC and Oculus in the process. Windows Mixed Reality will be available in the Windows 10 Fall Creators Update, and headsets are now available to buy. Here’s everything you need to know about Windows Mixed Reality.

Microsoft is offering movement tracking (six degrees of freedom) without the need for traditional external sensors placed throughout a room. Windows Mixed Reality headsets have cameras and sensors to track the motion controllers.

Walmart looks to see if virtual shopping is better than the real thing — from washingtonpost.com by Abha Bhattarai

Excerpts:

…Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is setting its sights on virtual reality.  Imagine this, says Katie Finnegan, who heads Walmart’s tech incubator: You need a tent for your next camping trip. If all goes to plan, you could one day virtually swoop in to your campsite and see any given tent in action. “You could unzip it, lay down, look left and right and say, ‘Oh, this is supposed to be a two-person tent? It’s kind of tight,’ ” she said. And then you could move on to the next tent — without leaving your couch.

Here are the five ideas the Bentonville, Ark.-based company says could be making their way online:

  1. 3-D holograms at Bonobos.com, the male clothing site Walmart acquired this year for $310 million, that would make it possible for shoppers to try on virtual clothing for fit and style.
  2. At ModCloth, the women’s clothing site Walmart took over in March, customers may one day be able to take 3-D photos of themselves using their smartphones, and use those images to get an idea of how something might look on.
  3. An “interactive virtual store” for designer Rebecca Minkoff, whose items are sold at Walmart.com, would allow customers to sit in on fashion shows and shop directly from the runway.
  4. Tired of shopping online alone? If Walmart gets its way, you may soon be interacting with other shoppers and experts as you pick out items for your virtual cart.
  5. Electric outlets, stove tops and door handles can all be child safety hazards — and soon, an online tool could peek inside your home and tell you where the biggest risks are lurking.

 

 

 

Explore the surface of Mars from the comfort of your living room — from haptical.com
Google’s new project allows viewers to explore the discoveries of NASA’s Curiosity rover.

Excerpt:

NASA and Google have teamed up to build a new virtual experience that lets space enthusiasts explore the red planet without having to leave their homes. Dubbed as “Access Mars”, the new project virtually transports users, wherever they are, to Earth’s neighboring planet in the solar system.

 

 

 

 

 

Chinese School Opens Full-Function VR Classrooms — from vrfocus.com by Rebecca Hills-Duty
HTC Vive have created a system which allows 50 VR units to work together with no cross-interference.

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I know Quentin Schultze from our years working together at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA). I have come to greatly appreciate Quin as a person of faith, as an innovative/entrepreneurial professor, as a mentor to his former students, and as an excellent communicator. 

Quin has written a very concise, wisdom-packed book that I would like to recommend to those people who are seeking to be better communicators, leaders, and servants. But I would especially like to recommend this book to the leadership at Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Nvidia, the major companies developing robots, and other high-tech companies. Why do I list these organizations? Because given the exponential pace of technological change, these organizations — and their leaders — have an enormous responsibility to make sure that the technologies that they are developing result in positive changes for societies throughout the globe. They need wisdom, especially as they are working on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), personal assistants and bots, algorithms, robotics, the Internet of Things, big data, blockchain and more. These technologies continue to exert an increasingly powerful influence on numerous societies throughout the globe today. And we haven’t seen anything yet! Just because we can develop and implement something, doesn’t mean that we should. Again, we need wisdom here.

But as Quin states, it’s not just about knowledge, the mind and our thoughts. It’s about our hearts as well. That is, we need leaders who care about others, who can listen well to others, who can serve others well while avoiding gimmicks, embracing diversity, building trust, fostering compromise and developing/exhibiting many of the other qualities that Quin writes about in his book. Our societies desperately need leaders who care about others and who seek to serve others well.

I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Quin’s book. There are few people who can communicate as much in as few words as Quin can. In fact, I wish that more writing on the web and more articles/research coming out of academia would be as concisely and powerfully written as Quin’s book, Communicate Like a True Leader: 30 Days of Life-Changing Wisdom.

 

 

To lead is to accept responsibility and act responsibly.
Quentin Schultze

 

 

 

These Are the Skills of the Future, According to 39 Industry Experts — from linkedin.com by Paul Petrone

Excerpts:

There’s a misconception out there that the future of work will be robots and artificial intelligence automating all the jobs, leaving nothing for majority of the world’s citizens to do.

History says that’s not the case. Over the past 120 years, there have been incredible technological advancements – cars, personal computers, the internet, smartphones, etc. – that have automated or eliminated aspects of nearly every job. But jobs haven’t gone away; instead, they’ve generally become more complex or changed scope, requiring new skills to complete them.

Hence, over the next five years, with AI and other technologies changing the market, jobs won’t go away. But the skills needed to do most jobs will change (and, in many cases, change drastically).

This sounds scary, but it really isn’t. Preparing for the future merely requires a commitment to learning – one of the most empowering activities a person can engage in. And, with all this change comes great opportunity. So, if you commit to learning and stay ahead of your industry, you’ll put yourself in position to reach your goals – regardless of where you stand now.

And while those answers were all specific to their individual fields, there were three skills we saw again and again that apply to all professionals moving forward. They are:

* A growth mindset
* Strategy
* Employee empowerment

 

 

 

10 examples of how brands are using chatbots to delight customers — from medium.com by Larry Kim

Excerpt:

Businesses and brands are using chatbots in lots of exciting ways.

You can order food, schedule flights, and get recommendations for pretty much anything you can think of.

We’re still in the early days, but the latest chatbot statistics all say the same thing: adoption is growing.

Whether you like it or not, chatbots and virtual assistants are the future of marketing and customer support.

So which brands are already making the most of chatbots to delight their customers?

Here are 10 examples.

 

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.

Excerpt:

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

Excerpt

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

Excerpt:

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

Excerpt:

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

Excerpt:

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.

 

linkedin-topskills2016

 

 

linkedin-topskillsglobal2016

 

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.

Excerpt:

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

Excerpt:

  1. Customer Service
  2. Human Resources
  3. Marketing

 

 

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

Excerpt:

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

Excerpts:

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

Excerpt:

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.

 

chatbotecosystem-businsider-sept2016

 

 

 

State-of-Content-Adobe-2016

 

Excerpt:

RULE #1: DESIGN FOR THE MULTISCREEN REALITY
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.

 

Design-Multiscreenreality-March2016

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

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