Blockchain: Is it Good for Education? — from virtuallyinspired.org

Excerpt:

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a public ledger type database made up of records called blocks that are linked together like a chain.  It is a shared unchallengeable ledger for recording the history of transactions. Here, the ledger records the history of academic accomplishments. An education ledger (blockchain) could store academic information such as degrees, diplomas, tests etc. It could be kind of digital transcript.

A Few Potential Applications of Blockchain

  • Learning Credentials Repository – A blockchain database of credentials and achievements can be a secure online repository. Digitized records/blocks replace paper copies for sharing proof of learning and can be easily accessible and tracked. Blockchain can make it easy to access all of your academic accomplishments in a digitized and ultra-secure way. Each record is a block. Your records would be chained together and new credentials will be added as you go throughout your lifetime of learning.
  • Lifelong Learning Building Blocks – Informal learning activities could be captured, validated and stored in addition to formal learning accomplishments. This can be as simple as noting a watched video or completed online lesson. We’re already seeing some universities using blockchain with badges, credits, and qualifications.
  • Authenticating Credentials – Institutions, recruiting firms or employers can easily access and verify credentials. No more gathering of papers or trying to digitize to share. Blocks are digital “learning” records and come in multilingual format eliminating the painstaking task of translation.

What’s more, with diploma mills and fake credentials causing havoc for institutions and employers, blockchain solves the issue by providing protection from fraud. It has two-step authentication and spreads blocks across numerous computer nodes. It would take hitting over 51% of computers to falsify a block.

Sony and IBM have partnered and filed patents to develop a blockchain educational platform that can house student data, their performance reports and other information related to their academic records. Some universities have created their own platforms.

 

 

Also see:

Blockchain in Education — from by Alexander Grech and Anthony F. Camilleri

Context
Blockchain technology is forecast to disrupt any field of activity that is founded on timestamped record-keeping of titles of ownership. Within education, activities likely to be disrupted by blockchain technology include the award of qualifications, licensing and accreditation, management of student records, intellectual property management and payments.

Key Advantages of Blockchain Technology
From a social perspective, blockchain technology offers significant possibilities beyond those currently available. In particular, moving records to the blockchain can allow for:

  • Self-sovereignty, i.e. for users to identify themselves while at the same time maintaining control over the storage and management of their personal data;
  • Trust, i.e. for a technical infrastructure that gives people enough confidence in its operations to carry through with transactions such as payments or the issue of certificates;
  • Transparency & Provenance, i.e. for users to conduct transactions in knowledge that each party has the capacity to enter into that transaction;
  • Immutability, i.e. for records to be written and stored permanently, without thepossibility of modification;
  • Disintermediation, i.e. the removal of the need for a central controlling authority to manage transactions or keep records;
  • Collaboration, i.e. the ability of parties to transact directly with each other without the need for mediating third parties.

 

 

Sony wants to digitize education records using the blockchain

 

 

 

 

“Rise of the machines” — from January 2018 edition of InAVate magazine
AI is generating lots of buzz in other verticals, but what can AV learn from those? Tim Kridel reports.

 

 


From DSC:
Learning spaces are relevant as well in the discussion of AI and AV-related items.


 

Also in their January 2018 edition, see
an incredibly detailed project at the London Business School.

Excerpt:

A full-width frosted glass panel sits on the desk surface, above it fixed in the ceiling is a Wolfvision VZ-C12 visualiser. This means the teaching staff can write on the (wipeclean) surface and the text appears directly on two 94-in screens behind them, using Christie short-throw laser 4,000 lumens projectors. When the lecturer is finished or has filled up the screen with text, the image can be saved on the intranet or via USB. Simply wipe with a cloth and start again. Not only is the technology inventive, but it allows the teaching staff to remain in face-to-face contact with the students at all times, instead of students having to stare at the back of the lecturer’s head whilst they write.

 


 

Also relevant, see:

 


 

 

100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2021 — from Gartner

From DSC:
I just wanted to include some excerpts (see below) from Gartner’s 100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2021 report. I do so to illustrate how technology’s impact continues to expand/grow in influence throughout many societies around the globe, as well as to say that if you want a sure thing job in the next 1-15 years, I would go into studying data science and/or artificial intelligence!

 



Excerpts:

As evidenced by its pervasiveness within our vast array of recently published Predicts 2017 research, it is clear that data and analytics are increasingly critical elements across most industries, business functions and IT disciplines. Most significantly, data and analytics are key to a successful digital business. This collection of more than 100 data-and-analytics-related Strategic Planning Assumptions (SPAs) or predictions through 2021, heralds several transformations and challenges ahead that CIOs and data and analytics leaders should embrace and include in their planning for successful strategies. Common themes across the discipline in general, and within particular business functions and industries, include:

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as a core business and analytic competency. Beyond yesteryear’s hard-coded algorithms and manual data science activities, machine learning (ML) promises to transform business processes, reconfigure workforces, optimize infrastructure behavior and blend industries through rapidly improved decision making and process optimization.
  • Natural language is beginning to play a dual role in many organizations and applications as a source of input for analytic and other applications, and a variety of output, in addition to traditional analytic visualizations.
  • Information itself is being recognized as a corporate asset (albeit not yet a balance sheet asset), prompting organizations to become more disciplined about monetizing, managing and measuring it as they do with other assets. This includes “spending” it like cash, selling/licensing it to others, participating in emerging data marketplaces, applying asset management principles to improve its quality and availability, and quantifying its value and risks in a variety of ways.
  • Smart devices that both produce and consume Internet of Things (IoT) data will also move intelligent computing to the edge of business functions, enabling devices in almost every industry to operate and interact with humans and each other without a centralized command and control. The resulting opportunities for innovation are unbounded.
  • Trust becomes the watchword for businesses, devices and information, leading to the creation of digital ethics frameworks, accreditation and assessments. Most attempts at leveraging blockchain as a trust mechanism fail until technical limitations, particularly performance, are solved.

Education
Significant changes to the global education landscape have taken shape in 2016, and spotlight new and interesting trends for 2017 and beyond. “Predicts 2017: Education Gets Personal” is focused on several SPAs, each uniquely contributing to the foundation needed to create the digitalized education environments of the future. Organizations and institutions will require new strategies to leverage existing and new technologies to maximize benefits to the organization in fresh and
innovative ways.

  • By 2021, more than 30% of institutions will be forced to execute on a personalization strategy to maintain student enrollment.
  • By 2021, the top 100 higher education institutions will have to adopt AI technologies to stay competitive in research.

Artificial Intelligence
Business and IT leaders are stepping up to a broad range of opportunities enabled by AI, including autonomous vehicles, smart vision systems, virtual customer assistants, smart (personal) agents and natural-language processing. Gartner believes that this new general-purpose technology is just beginning a 75-year technology cycle that will have far-reaching implications for every industry. In “Predicts 2017: Artificial Intelligence,” we reflect on the near-term opportunities, and the potential burdens and risks that organizations face in exploiting AI. AI is changing the way in which organizations innovate and communicate their processes, products and services.

Practical strategies for employing AI and choosing the right vendors are available to data and analytics leaders right now.

  • By 2019, more than 10% of IT hires in customer service will mostly write scripts for bot interactions.
  • Through 2020, organizations using cognitive ergonomics and system design in new AI projects will achieve long-term success four times more often than others.
  • By 2020, 20% of companies will dedicate workers to monitor and guide neural networks.
  • By 2019, startups will overtake Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft in driving the AI economy with disruptive business solutions.
  • By 2019, AI platform services will cannibalize revenues for 30% of market-leading companies. “Predicts 2017: Drones”
  • By 2020, the top seven commercial drone manufacturers will all offer analytical software packages.
    “Predicts 2017: The Reinvention of Buying Behavior in Vertical-Industry Markets”
  • By 2021, 30% of net new revenue growth from industry-specific solutions will include AI technology.

Advanced Analytics and Data Science
Advanced analytics and data science are fast becoming mainstream solutions and competencies in most organizations, even supplanting traditional BI and analytics resources and budgets. They allow more types of knowledge and insights to be extracted from data. To become and remain competitive, enterprises must seek to adopt advanced analytics, and adapt their business models, establish specialist data science teams and rethink their overall strategies to keep pace with the competition. “Predicts 2017: Analytics Strategy and Technology” offers advice on overall strategy, approach and operational transformation to algorithmic business that leadership needs to build to reap the benefits.

  • By 2018, deep learning (deep neural networks [DNNs]) will be a standard component in 80% of data scientists’ tool boxes.
  • By 2020, more than 40% of data science tasks will be automated, resulting in increased productivity and broader usage by citizen data scientists.
  • By 2019, natural-language generation will be a standard feature of 90% of modern BI and analytics platforms.
  • By 2019, 50% of analytics queries will be generated using search, natural-language query or voice, or will be autogenerated.
  • By 2019, citizen data scientists will surpass data scientists in the amount of advanced analysis
    produced.

 

 

By 2020, 95% of video/image content will never be viewed by humans; instead, it will be vetted by machines that provide some degree of automated analysis.

 

 

Through 2020, lack of data science professionals will inhibit 75% of organizations from achieving the full potential of IoT.

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Blockchain predictions: What it means to you — from enterprisersproject.com by Minda Zetlin
How can you prepare for tomorrow’s blockchain world? TCS blockchain expert Andreas Freund shares perspective

Excerpts:

Blockchain technology will be as revolutionary as the internet, or maybe even the steam engine, predicts Andreas Freund, Ph.D., a senior manager for Tata Consultancy Services‘ blockchain advisory. It’s a bold claim. But in the first part of our two-part interview, Freund makes a strong case that blockchain technology will, at the very least, change our marketplaces and our enterprises in ways that are hard to imagine right now.

Blockchain protocols (best known for enabling cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ether) create a distributed ledger in which many nodes on a network each have a record of every transaction that has taken place. (See our recent story, Blockchain: 3 big implications for your company.)

“To really understand and appreciate the value blockchain can bring, you need to understand why it’s a paradigm shift,” Freund says. “You need to look at human beings. What defines us is our physical strength, our intelligence, and our trust relationships. The most fundamental shifts occur when these functions become automated and exponentiated.”

When we’re interacting through the blockchain, not only as human beings but as things as well, I can trust the transaction will be executed properly every single time. There’s no chance of tampering or censorship. From a human perspective, I can now trust you without trusting you.”

Right now, people who want to transact with strangers must use a trusted intermediary, as people do when they buy and sell items on the Amazon Marketplace, or buy and sell shares on an exchange, or, say, summon an Uber ride.

 

 

It’s more important to understand how blockchain will change many common practices than it is to understand the precise technology behind it, Freund notes. “In the end, how the technology works doesn’t matter,” he says. “TCP/IP enables the internet, although nobody really knows how it works. Without it, we’d still have the walled gardens of the AOL era.”

When it comes to blockchain, he says, “We are still in the AOL era. We have these walled gardens, with many companies experimenting and many public blockchains, but eventually there will be something equivalent to that moment when TCP/IP broke down those walls.”

 

 

 

From DSC:
What happens with blockchain-based technologies and systems could easily impact higher education in the future, especially in the area of credentials and competencies (i.e., did someone really take that class/module/certificate program/etc.?). Blockchain-based techs are likely a part of our future learning ecosystems and next generation learning platforms, and may significantly impact and better support lifelong learning.

 

 

 

 

 

A survey of 3,000 executives reveals how businesses succeed with AI — from hbr.org by Jacques Bughin, Brian McCarthy, Michael Chui

Excerpt:

The buzz over artificial intelligence (AI) has grown loud enough to penetrate the C-suites of organizations around the world, and for good reason. Investment in AI is growing and is increasingly coming from organizations outside the tech space. And AI success stories are becoming more numerous and diverse, from Amazon reaping operational efficiencies using its AI-powered Kiva warehouse robots, to GE keeping its industrial equipment running by leveraging AI for predictive maintenance.

While it’s clear that CEOs need to consider AI’s business implications, the technology’s nascence in business settings makes it less clear how to profitably employ it. Through a study of AI that included a survey of 3,073 executives and 160 case studies across 14 sectors and 10 countries, and through a separate digital research program, we have identified 10 key insights CEOs need to know to embark on a successful AI journey.

 

 

Make no mistake: The next digital frontier is here, and it’s AI. While some firms are still reeling from previous digital disruptions, a new one is taking shape. But it’s early days. There’s still time to make AI a competitive advantage.

 

 

 

IBM and MIT to Pursue Joint Research in Artificial Intelligence, Establish New MIT-IBM Watson AI Lab — from  by
IBM plans to make a 10-Year, $240 Million Investment in new lab with MIT to advance AI hardware and software and algorithms

Excerpt:

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — IBM and MIT today announced that IBM plans to make a 10-year, $240 million investment to create the MIT–IBM Watson AI Lab in partnership with MIT. The lab will carry out fundamental artificial intelligence (AI) research and seek to propel scientific breakthroughs that unlock the potential of AI. The collaboration aims to advance AI hardware, software and algorithms related to deep learning and other areas, increase AI’s impact on industries, such as health care and cybersecurity, and explore the economic and ethical implications of AI on society. IBM’s $240 million investment in the lab will support research by IBM and MIT scientists.

 

The new lab will be one of the largest long-term university-industry AI collaborations to date, mobilizing the talent of more than 100 AI scientists, professors, and students to pursue joint research…

 

 

 

Google and Udacity offer scholarships for 75,000 aspiring developers — from thenextweb.com

Excerpt:

Google has announced its plans to extend its partnership with Udacity to offer 75,000 Android scholarships for aspiring developers and data scientists seeking to pursue careers in the digital field.

The initiative builds on the company’s two-year long collaboration with Udacity, which granted 1,000 and 10,000 scholarships for passionate newbie coders in 2015 and 2016, respectively. German media giant Bertelsmann will also be contributing to this effort.

 

 

Also see:

 

 

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.

 

Instructional Design Firm Launches Digital Marketplace; Enables Innovative Universities to Offer Unbundled Alternative Credentials — from prnewswire.com
iDesign Course Market will help colleges deliver course content, accept payment, and issue digital credentials and certificates online

Excerpt:

DALLASAug. 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Instructional design firm, iDesign, [on 8/10/17] announced Course Market, a digital marketplace that universities can use to offer standalone courses and digital credentials in high demand fields. Course Market integrates LMS technology from Instructure and Credly’s pioneering credential platform to deliver engaging learner experiences with real value in the job market. Institutions that utilize Course Market can seamlessly enroll students in continuing education programs, accept payment, deliver content, and issue digital badges or certificates, which can be instantly uploaded and shared through social networks like LinkedIn or Facebook.

“Alternative credentials are unquestionably gaining traction among working adults looking for accelerated pathways to new schools and executive education. We view Course Market as a great tool for universities that want to expand access to learners who may otherwise be unable to take advantage of traditional degree programs,” said William Valenta, Assistant Dean of MBA and Executive Programs at University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business.  “By applying Course Market’s technology and infrastructure to our existing educational offerings, the Katz school successfully enhanced access, affordability, and career relevance.”

 

 

Nearly half of companies say they don’t have the digital skills they need — from hbr.org by Jeremy Goldman

Excerpt:

The companies that think their employees’ digital IQs are unimportant are probably few and far between. After all, in just one decade the concept of “digital” has changed from a niche skill set to something that’s mandatory for virtually all blue-chip companies. If you don’t feel that your employees’ digital IQs are competitive, you have a major problem on your hands.

Unfortunately, for many companies, that’s exactly the situation they find themselves in. On a global basis, companies are losing faith in their digital smarts. In PwC’s 2017 Global Digital IQ Survey, 52% rated their digital IQ as strong. Compare that with 67% and 66% in 2016 and 2015, respectively. The survey, conducted among 2,200 technology executives, identified critical skill gaps such as cybersecurity and privacy.

 

 

 

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