Amazon’s new Fire TV Blaster works with Echo to control your TV, soundbar, cable box and more — from techcrunch.com by Sarah Perez

Excerpt:

Amazon already offers Alexa voice control to TV owners through its Fire TV devices, by way of a voice remote or by pairing an Echo device with a Fire TV, for hands-free voice commands. Now, it’s introducing a new device, the Fire TV Blaster, which extends that same hands-free voice control to your TV itself and other TV devices — like your soundbar, cable box, or A/V Receiver.

That means you’ll be able to say things like “Alexa, turn off the TV,” or “Alexa, switch to HDMI 1 on TV.” You can also control the volume and the playback.

And if you have other TV devices, you can control them hands-free as well, by saying things like “Alexa, turn up the soundbar volume,” or “Alexa tune to ESPN on cable.”

 

From DSC:
How might such Natural Language Processing (NLP) / voice recognition technologies impact future learning experiences and learning spaces? Will we enjoy more hands-free navigation around some cloud-based learning-related content? Will faculty members be able to use their voice to do the things that a Crestron Media Controller does today?

Parenthetically…when will we be able to speak to our routers (to shut off the kids’ internet connections/devices for example) and/or speak to our thermostats (to set the temperature(s) quickly for the remainder of the day)?

 

 

In Search of a Conversational Bot: Voice Computing Evolves — from learningsolutionsmag.com by Pamela Hogle

Excerpts:

Voice computing is rapidly changing the way people interact with technology, which will have dramatic impact on how learners expect to interact with eLearning technology.

Using conversational AI in an eLearning context, where learners are focused on a single topic or narrow range of content, could become feasible before developers achieve the goal of an AI that excels at general conversation.

 

FTI 2020 Trend Report for Entertainment, Media, & Technology [FTI]

 

FTI 2020 Trend Report for Entertainment, Media, & Technology — from futuretodayinstitute.com

Our 3rd annual industry report on emerging entertainment, media and technology trends is now available.

  • 157 trends
  • 28 optimistic, pragmatic and catastrophic scenarios
  • 10 non-technical primers and glossaries
  • Overview of what events to anticipate in 2020
  • Actionable insights to use within your organization

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Synthetic media offers new opportunities and challenges.
  • Authenticating content is becoming more difficult.
  • Regulation is coming.
  • We’ve entered the post-fixed screen era.
  • Voice Search Optimization (VSO) is the new Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
  • Digital subscription models aren’t working.
  • Advancements in AI will mean greater efficiencies.

 

 

The impact of voice search on firms — from lawtechnologytoday.org

Excerpts:

“Alexa, where can I find an attorney near me who specializes in…?”

“What is my liability if a tree in my yard falls on my neighbor’s house because of a storm?”

“…voice-activated legal searches are coming, and probably faster than you expect.”

 

The 7 biggest technology trends in 2020 everyone must get ready for now — from forbes.com by Bernard Marr

Excerpts:

  • AI-as-a-service
  • 5G data networks
  • Autonomous Driving
  • Personalized and predictive medicine
  • Computer Vision
  • Extended Reality
  • Blockchain Technology

 

From DSC:
I appreciate this list from Bernard. I would also add voice-enabled interfaces/products (NLP) to this list, as well as more integration of AI into learning-related applications and services. 

For the federal agencies, state representatives, senators, law schools, students in law school, lawyers, legislators, CIO’s, and CEO’s etc. out there: Are you/we ready for these? Given the pace of exponential change, how are you seeking to keep a pulse-check on these types of emerging technologies and their impacts on our society? How are you/we guiding the development of these emerging technologies?

 
 

Artificial Intelligence in Future and Present — from datafloq.com
A look at what AI might do and what it can actually do in various industries…

  • Artificial Intelligence and Medicine
  • Artificial Intelligence and Finance
  • Artificial Intelligence and Manufacturing
  • Artificial Intelligence and Media & Entertainment
  • Artificial Intelligence and Education

 

Reflections on “DIY Mindset Reshaping Education” [Schaffhauser]

DIY Mindset Reshaping Education — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

A do-it-yourself mindset is changing the face of education worldwide, according to new survey results. Learners are “patching together” their education from a “menu of options,” including self-teaching, short courses and bootcamps, and they believe that self-service instruction will become even more prevalent for lifelong learning. In the United Sates specifically, 84 percent of people said learning would become even more self-service the older they get.

Among those who have needed to reskill in the last two years to continue doing their jobs, 42 percent found information online and taught themselves and 41 percent took a course or training offered by their employers, a professional association or bootcamp, compared to just 28 percent who pursued a professional certification program, 25 percent who enrolled in a university-level degree program or 12 percent who did nothing.

If people had to learn something new for their career quickly, they said they would be more likely turn to a short training program (47 percent), followed by access to a free resource such as YouTube, Lynda.com or Khan Academy (33 percent). A smaller share (20 percent) would head to an accredited university or college.

 

From DSC:
This is why the prediction from Thomas Frey carries weight and why I’ve been tracking a new learning platform for the 21st century. Given:

  • The exponential pace of technological change occurring in many societies throughout the globe

  • That emerging technologies are game-changers in many industries
  • That people will need to learn about those emerging technologies and how to leverage/use them <– if they want to remain marketable/employed
  • That people need to reinvent themselves quickly, efficiently, and cost-effectively
  • That many people can’t afford the time nor the funding necessary these days to acquire a four-year higher ed degree
  • That running new courses, programs, etc. through committees, faculty senates, etc. takes a great deal of time…and time is something we no longer have (given this new pace of change)

…there needs to be a new, up-to-date, highly responsive, inexpensive learning-related platform for the 21st century. I call this learning platform of the future, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room.” And while it requires subject matter experts / humans in significant ways, AI and other technologies will be embedded throughout such a platform.

 



 

“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.

source

 

Addendum on 9/18/19:

For $400 per course, students will be able to gain access to course videos that are cinematically filmed and taught by “some of the brightest minds in academia.” Outlier.org students will also have access to problem sets, one-on-one tutoring and assessments proctored through artificial intelligence.

 

 

Technology as Part of the Culture for Legal Professionals -- a Q&A with Mary Grush and Daniel Christian

 


Technology as Part of the Culture for Legal Professionals A Q&A with Daniel Christian — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush and Daniel Christian

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Mary Grush: Why should new technologies be part of a legal education?

Daniel Christian: I think it’s a critical point because our society, at least in the United States — and many other countries as well — is being faced with a dramatic influx of emerging technologies. Whether we are talking about artificial intelligence, blockchain, Bitcoin, chatbots, facial recognition, natural language processing, big data, the Internet of Things, advanced robotics — any of dozens of new technologies — this is the environment that we are increasingly living in, and being impacted by, day to day.

It is so important for our nation that legal professionals — lawyers, judges, attorney generals, state representatives, and legislators among them — be up to speed as much as possible on the technologies that surround us: What are the issues their clients and constituents face? It’s important that legal professionals regularly pulse check the relevant landscapes to be sure that they are aware of the technologies that are coming down the pike. To help facilitate this habit, technology should be part of the culture for those who choose a career in law. (And what better time to help people start to build that habit than within the law schools of our nation?)

 

There is a real need for the legal realm to catch up with some of these emerging technologies, because right now, there aren’t many options for people to pursue. If the lawyers, and the legislators, and the judges don’t get up to speed, the “wild wests” out there will continue until they do.

 


 

An artificial-intelligence first: Voice-mimicking software reportedly used in a major theft — from washingtonpost.com by Drew Harwell

Excerpt:

Thieves used voice-mimicking software to imitate a company executive’s speech and dupe his subordinate into sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to a secret account, the company’s insurer said, in a remarkable case that some researchers are calling one of the world’s first publicly reported artificial-intelligence heists.

The managing director of a British energy company, believing his boss was on the phone, followed orders one Friday afternoon in March to wire more than $240,000 to an account in Hungary, said representatives from the French insurance giant Euler Hermes, which declined to name the company.

 

From DSC:
Needless to say, this is very scary stuff here! Now what…? Who in our society should get involved to thwart this kind of thing?

  • Programmers?
  • Digital audio specialists?
  • Legislators?
  • Lawyers?
  • The FBI?
  • Police?
  • Other?


Addendum on 9/12/19:

 

Alexa Skill Blueprints Publishing Now Available in Australia and New Zealand – Create and Publish a Skill, No Coding Required— from developer.amazon.com by James Ang

Excerpt:

We are excited to announce that now anyone can create and publish an Alexa skill on the Australian Alexa Skills Store using Alexa Skill Blueprints. Skill Blueprints enable you to create and share customised Alexa skills simply by filling in the blanks to one of the dozens of easy-to-use templates, with no coding required. Now you can publish skills created using Alexa Skill Blueprints to the Alexa Skills Store in Australia for customers to discover and use. We have also built new Skill Blueprints specifically for content creators, bloggers, and organisations so they can reach anyone with an Alexa-enabled device.

Create Fun Learning Tools
Whether you are a parent helping your child study or want to teach something you’re passionate about, Blueprints are easy tools to create new ways to learn. Use the QuizFlashcardsFacts, and Listening Quiz Blueprints to help teach new concepts, retain information, and prepare for the next exam. Add your content into the Skill Blueprint template without the need for any coding and make learning fun for everyone.

 

 

Microsoft’s new AI wants to help you crush your next presentation — from pcmag.com by Jake Leary
PowerPoint is receiving a slew of updates, including one that aims to help you improve your public speaking.

Excerpt:

Microsoft [on 6/18/19] announced several PowerPoint upgrades, the most notable of which is an artificial intelligence tool that aims to help you overcome pre-presentation jitters.

The Presenter Coach AI listens to you practice and offers real-time feedback on your pace, word choice, and more. It will, for instance, warn you if you’re using filler words like “umm” and “ahh,” profanities, non-inclusive language, or reading directly from your slides. At the end of your rehearsal, it provides a report with tips for future attempts. Presenter Coach arrives later this summer.

 

 

 Also see:

Microsoft is building a virtual assistant for work. Google is building one for everything else — from qz.com by Dave Gershgorn

Excerpts:

In the early days of virtual personal assistants, the goal was to create a multipurpose digital buddy—always there, ready to take on any task. Now, tech companies are realizing that doing it all is too much, and instead doubling down on what they know best.

Since the company has a deep understanding of how organizations work, Microsoft is focusing on managing your workday with voice, rearranging meetings and turning the dials on the behemoth of bureaucracy in concert with your phone.

 

Voice is the next major platform, and being first to it is an opportunity to make the category as popular as Apple made touchscreens. To dominate even one aspect of voice technology is to tap into the next iteration of how humans use computers.

 

 

From DSC:
What affordances might these developments provide for our future learning spaces?

Will faculty members’ voices be recognized to:

  • Sign onto the LMS?
  • Dim the lights?
  • Turn on the projector(s) and/or display(s)?
  • Other?

Will students be able to send the contents of their mobile devices to particular displays via their voices?

Will voice be mixed in with augmented reality (i.e., the students and their devices can “see” which device to send their content to)?

Hmmm…time will tell.

 

 

Is your college future-ready? — from jisc.ac.uk by Robin Ghurbhurun

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is increasingly becoming science fact rather than science fiction. Alexa is everywhere from the house to the car, Siri is in the palm of your hand and students and the wider community can now get instant responses to their queries. We as educators have a duty to make sense of the information out there, working alongside AI to facilitate students’ curiosities.

Instead of banning mobile phones on campus, let’s manage our learning environments differently

We need to plan strategically to avoid a future where only the wealthy have access to human teachers, whilst others are taught with AI. We want all students to benefit from both. We should have teacher-approved content from VLEs and AI assistants supporting learning and discussion, everywhere from the classroom to the workplace. Let’s learn from the domestic market; witness the increasing rise of co-bot workers coming to an office near you.

 

 

Stanford team aims at Alexa and Siri with a privacy-minded alternative — from nytimes.com by John Markoff

Excerpt:

Now computer scientists at Stanford University are warning about the consequences of a race to control what they believe will be the next key consumer technology market — virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant.

The group at Stanford, led by Monica Lam, a computer systems designer, last month received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant is for an internet service they hope will serve as a Switzerland of sorts for systems that use human language to control computers, smartphones and internet devices in homes and offices.

The researchers’ biggest concern is that virtual assistants, as they are designed today, could have a far greater impact on consumer information than today’s websites and apps. Putting that information in the hands of one big company or a tiny clique, they say, could erase what is left of online privacy.

 

Amazon sends Alexa developers on quest for ‘holy grail of voice science’ — from venturebeat.com by Khari Johnson

Excerpt:

At Amazon’s re:Mars conference last week, the company rolled out Alexa Conversations in preview. Conversations is a module within the Alexa Skills Kit that stitches together Alexa voice apps into experiences that help you accomplish complex tasks.

Alexa Conversations may be Amazon’s most intriguing and substantial pitch to voice developers in years. Conversations will make creating skills possible with fewer lines of code. It will also do away with the need to understand the many different ways a person can ask to complete an action, as a recurrent neural network will automatically generate dialogue flow.

For users, Alexa Conversations will make it easier to complete tasks that require the incorporation of multiple skills and will cut down on the number of interactions needed to do things like reserve a movie ticket or order food.

 

 

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