Veeery interesting. Alexa now adds visuals / a screen! With the addition of 100 skills a day, where might this new platform lead?

Amazon introduces Echo Show

The description reads:

  • Echo Show brings you everything you love about Alexa, and now she can show you things. Watch video flash briefings and YouTube, see music lyrics, security cameras, photos, weather forecasts, to-do and shopping lists, and more. All hands-free—just ask.
  • Introducing a new way to be together. Make hands-free video calls to friends and family who have an Echo Show or the Alexa App, and make voice calls to anyone who has an Echo or Echo Dot.
  • See lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi. Also, stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more.
  • Powerful, room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response
  • Ask Alexa to show you the front door or monitor the baby’s room with compatible cameras from Ring and Arlo. Turn on lights, control thermostats and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices.
  • With eight microphones, beam-forming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Show hears you from any direction—even while music is playing
  • Always getting smarter and adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Jeopardy!, Allrecipes, CNN, and more

 

 

 

 

 

 



From DSC:

Now we’re seeing a major competition between the heavy-hitters to own one’s living room, kitchen, and more. Voice controlled artificial intelligence. But now, add the ability to show videos, text, graphics, and more. Play music. Control the lights and the thermostat. Communicate with others via hands-free video calls.

Hmmm….very interesting times indeed.

 

 

Developers and corporates released 4,000 new skills for the voice assistant in just the last quarter. (source)

 

…with the company adding about 100 skills per day. (source)

 

 

 

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

 

 



 

Addendum on 5/10/17:

 



 

 

The Future of Jobs and Jobs Training — from by Lee Rainie and Janna Anderson
As robots, automation and artificial intelligence perform more tasks and there is massive disruption of jobs, experts say a wider array of education and skills-building programs will be created to meet new demands. There are two uncertainties: Will well-prepared workers be able to keep up in the race with AI tools? And will market capitalism survive?

Excerpt:

Machines are eating humans’ jobs talents. And it’s not just about jobs that are repetitive and low-skill. Automation, robotics, algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) in recent times have shown they can do equal or sometimes even better work than humans who are dermatologists, insurance claims adjusters, lawyers, seismic testers in oil fields, sports journalists and financial reporters, crew members on guided-missile destroyers, hiring managers, psychological testers, retail salespeople, and border patrol agents. Moreover, there is growing anxiety that technology developments on the near horizon will crush the jobs of the millions who drive cars and trucks, analyze medical tests and data, perform middle management chores, dispense medicine, trade stocks and evaluate markets, fight on battlefields, perform government functions, and even replace those who program software – that is, the creators of algorithms.

Several policy and market-based solutions have been promoted to address the loss of employment and wages forecast by technologists and economists. A key idea emerging from many conversations, including one of the lynchpin discussions at the World Economic Forum in 2016, is that changes in educational and learning environments are necessary to help people stay employable in the labor force of the future. Among the six overall findings in a new 184-page report from the National Academies of Sciences, the experts recommended: “The education system will need to adapt to prepare individuals for the changing labor market. At the same time, recent IT advances offer new and potentially more widely accessible ways to access education.”

 

 

In the next 10 years, do you think we will see the emergence of new educational and training programs that can successfully train large numbers of workers in the skills they will need to perform the jobs of the future?

 

 

 

 



From DSC:
The following questions (from the article) might be fodder for initial conversations regarding what changes need to immediately occur within higher education. Those changes might be to establish teams/task forces/etc. charged with answering these kinds of questions.

  • What are the most important skills needed to succeed in the workforce of the future?
  • Which of these skills can be taught effectively via online systems – especially those that are self-directed – and other nontraditional settings?
  • Which skills will be most difficult to teach at scale?
  • Will employers be accepting of applicants who rely on new types of credentialing systems, or will they be viewed as less qualified than those who have attended traditional four-year and graduate programs?

The following section further supports a vision that I’ve been tracking entitled, “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” — where I see the “New Amazon.com of Higher Education” unfolding. Blockchain-based technologies will likely be involved here.

A diversifying education and credentialing ecosystem: Most of these experts expect the education marketplace – especially online learning platforms – to continue to change in an effort to accommodate the widespread needs.  Some predict employers will step up their own efforts to train and retrain workers. Many foresee a significant number of self-teaching  efforts by jobholders themselves as they take advantage of proliferating online opportunities.

Respondents see a new education and training ecosystem emerging in which some job preparation functions are performed by formal educational institutions in fairly traditional classroom settings, some elements are offered online, some are created by for-profit firms, some are free, some exploit augmented and virtual reality elements and gaming sensibilities, and a lot of real-time learning takes place in formats that job seekers pursue on their own.

A considerable number of respondents to this canvassing focused on the likelihood that the best education programs will teach people how to be lifelong learners. Accordingly, some say alternative credentialing mechanisms will arise to assess and vouch for the skills people acquire along the way.

 

 

DC: Many societies around the globe are looking at massive change coming at them. What changes should those of us working in higher education begin to make — immediately? In the longer term?

 



 

 

These respondents suggest that workers of the future will learn to deeply cultivate and exploit creativity, collaborative activity, abstract and systems thinking, complex communication, and the ability to thrive in diverse environments.

 

 



 

Addendum on 5/6/17:

  • How to Prepare for an Automated Future — from nytimes.com by Claire Cain Miller
    Excerpt:
    We don’t know how quickly machines will displace people’s jobs, or how many they’ll take, but we know it’s happening — not just to factory workers but also to money managers, dermatologists and retail workers. The logical response seems to be to educate people differently, so they’re prepared to work alongside the robots or do the jobs that machines can’t. But how to do that, and whether training can outpace automation, are open questions.

 

 

 

Purdue University to Acquire Kaplan University — from wsj.com by Douglas Belkin and Melissa Korn
Purdue President Mitch Daniels calls deal major push into online education

Excerpt:

Purdue University, a flagship public institution in Indiana, is jumping into online education by buying for-profit Kaplan University with the aim of creating a new, public online university.

 

Also see:

Purdue Buys For-Profit Kaplan University for $1 to Create New Kind of Public University — from edsurge.com b

The sale price for Kaplan University’s 15 campuses was $1, though with one important catch: The new nonprofit university operated by Purdue promised to give a percentage of its revenue back to its former owner, Kaplan, Inc., for the next 30 years.

 

 



Addendum on 5/3/17:

 



 

 

From DSC:
The recent pieces below made me once again reflect on the massive changes that are quickly approaching — and in some cases are already here — for a variety of nations throughout the world.

They caused me to reflect on:

  • What the potential ramifications for higher education might be regarding these changes that are just starting to take place in the workplace due to artificial intelligence (i.e., the increasing use of algorithms, machine learning, and deep learning, etc.), automation, & robotics?
  • The need for people to reinvent themselves quickly throughout their careers (if we can still call them careers)
  • How should we, as a nation, prepare for these massive changes so that there isn’t civil unrest due to soaring inequality and unemployment?

As found in the April 9th, 2017 edition of our local newspaper here:

When even our local newspaper is picking up on this trend, you know it is real and has some significance to it.

 

Then, as I was listening to the radio a day or two after seeing the above article, I heard of another related piece on NPR.  NPR is having a journalist travel across the country, trying to identify “robot-safe” jobs.  Here’s the feature on this from MarketPlace.org

 

 

What changes do institutions of traditional higher education
immediately need to begin planning for? Initiating?

What changes should be planned for and begin to be initiated
in the way(s) that we accredit new programs?

 

 

Keywords/ideas that come to my mind:

  • Change — to society, to people, to higher ed, to the workplace
  • Pace of technological change — no longer linear, but exponential
  • Career development
  • Staying relevant — as institutions, as individuals in the workplace
  • Reinventing ourselves over time — and having to do so quickly
  • Adapting, being nimble, willing to innovate — as institutions, as individuals
  • Game-changing environment
  • Lifelong learning — higher ed needs to put more emphasis on microlearning, heutagogy, and delivering constant/up-to-date streams of content and learning experiences. This could happen via the addition/use of smaller learning hubs, some even makeshift learning hubs that are taking place at locations that these institutions don’t even own…like your local Starbucks.
  • If we don’t get this right, there could be major civil unrest as inequality and unemployment soar
  • Traditional institutions of higher education have not been nearly as responsive to change as they have needed to be; this opens the door to alternatives. There’s a limited (and closing) window of time left to become more nimble and responsive before these alternatives majorly disrupt the current world of higher education.

 

 

 



Addendum from the corporate world (emphasis DSC):



 

From The Impact 2017 Conference:

The Role of HR in the Future of Work – A Town Hall

  • Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • Nicola Vogel, Global Senior HR Director, Danfoss
  • Frank Møllerop, Chief Executive Officer, Questback
  • David Mallon, Head of Research, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Massive changes spurred by new technologies such as artificial intelligence, mobile platforms, sensors and social collaboration have revolutionized the way we live, work and communicate – and the pace is only accelerating. Robots and cognitive technologies are making steady advances, particularly in jobs and tasks that follow set, standardized rules and logic. This reinforces a critical challenge for business and HR leaders—namely, the need to design, source, and manage the future of work.

In this Town Hall, we will discuss the role HR can play in leading the digital transformation that is shaping the future of work in organizations worldwide. We will explore the changes we see taking place in three areas:

  • Digital workforce: How can organizations drive new management practices, a culture of innovation and sharing, and a set of talent practices that facilitate a new network-based organization?
  • Digital workplace: How can organizations design a working environment that enables productivity; uses modern communication tools (such as Slack, Workplace by Facebook, Microsoft Teams, and many others); and promotes engagement, wellness, and a sense of purpose?
  • Digital HR: How can organizations change the HR function itself to operate in a digital way, use digital tools and apps to deliver solutions, and continuously experiment and innovate?
 

Retailers cut tens of thousands of jobs. Again. — from money.cnn.com by Paul R. La Monica
The dramatic reshaping of the American retail industry has, unfortunately, led to massive job losses in the sector.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The federal government said Friday that retailers shed nearly 30,000 jobs in March. That follows a more than 30,000 decline in the number of retail jobs in the previous month.

So-called general merchandise stores are hurting the most.

That part of the sector, which includes struggling companies like Macy’s, Sears, and J.C. Penney, lost 35,000 jobs last month. Nearly 90,000 jobs have been eliminated since last October.

“There is no question that the Amazon effect is overwhelming,” said Scott Clemons, chief investment strategist of private banking for BBH. “There has been a shift in the way we buy things as opposed to a shift in the amount of money spent.”

To that end, Amazon just announced plans to hire 30,000 part-time workers.

 

From DSC:
One of the reasons that I’m posting this item is for those who say disruption isn’t real…it’s only a buzz word…

A second reason that I’m posting this item is because those of us working within higher education should take note of the changes in the world of retail and learn the lesson now before the “Next Amazon.com of Higher Education*” comes on the scene. Though this organization has yet to materialize, the pieces of its foundation are beginning to come together — such as the ingredients, trends, and developments that I’ve been tracking in my “Learning from the Living [Class] Room” vision.

This new organization will be highly disruptive to institutions of traditional higher education.

If you were in an influential position at Macy’s, Sears, and/or at J.C. Penney today, and you could travel back in time…what would you do?

We in higher education have the luxury of learning from what’s been happening in the retail business. Let’s be sure to learn our lesson.

 



 

* Effective today, what I used to call the “Forthcoming Walmart of Education — which has already been occurring to some degree with things such as MOOCs and collaborations/partnerships such as Georgia Institute of Technology, Udacity, and AT&T — I now call the “Next Amazon.com of Higher Education.”

Cost. Convenience. Selection. Offering a service on-demand (i.e., being quick, responsive, and available 24×7). <– These all are powerful forces.

 



 

P.S. Some will say you can’t possibly compare the worlds of retail and higher education — and that may be true as of 2017. However, if:

  • the costs of higher education keep going up and we continue to turn a deaf ear to the struggling families/students/adult learners/etc. out there
  • alternatives to traditional higher education continue to come on the landscape
  • the Federal Government continues to be more open to financially supporting such alternatives
  • technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, deep learning continue to get better and more powerful — to the point that they can effectively deliver a personalized education (one that is likely to be fully online and that utilizes a team of specialists to create and deliver the learning experiences)
  • people lose their jobs to artificial intelligence, robotics, and automation and need to quickly reinvent themselves

…I can assure you that people will find other ways to make ends meet. The Next Amazon.com of Education will be just what they are looking for.

 



 

 

 

The Blockchain Revolution and Higher Education — from er.educause.edu by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
The blockchain provides a rich, secure, and transparent platform on which to create a global network for higher learning. This Internet of value can help to reinvent higher education in a way the Internet of information alone could not.

Excerpt:

What will be the most important technology to change higher education? In our view, it’s not big data, the social web, MOOCs, virtual reality, or even artificial intelligence. We see these as components of something new, all enabled and transformed by an emerging technology called the blockchain.

OK, it’s not the most sonorous word ever, sounding more like a college football strategy than a transformative technology. Yet, sonorous or not, the blockchain represents nothing less than the second generation of the Internet, and it holds the potential to disrupt money, business, government, and yes, higher education.

The opportunities for innovators in higher education fall into four categories:

  • Identity and Student Records: How we identify students; protect their privacy; measure, record, and credential their accomplishments; and keep these records secure
  • New Pedagogy: How we customize teaching to each student and create new models of learning
  • Costs (Student Debt): How we value and fund education and reward students for the quality of their work
  • The Meta-University: How we design entirely new models of higher education so that former MIT President Chuck Vest’s dream can become a reality1

The blockchain may help us change the relationships among colleges and universities and, in turn, their relationship to society.

Let us explain.

 

What if there was an Internet of value — a global, distributed, highly secure platform, ledger, or database where we could store and exchange things of value and where we could trust each other without powerful intermediaries? That is the blockchain.

 

 

From DSC:
The quote…

In 2006, MIT President Emeritus Vest offered a tantalizing vision of what he called the meta-university. In the open-access movement, he saw “a transcendent, accessible, empowering, dynamic, communally constructed framework of open materials and platforms on which much of higher education worldwide can be constructed or enhanced.”

…made me wonder if this is where a vision that I’m tracking called Learning from the Living [Class] Room is heading. Also, along these lines, futurist Thomas Frey believes

“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)

Blockchain could be a key piece of this vision.

 

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

 

From DSC:
Hmmm…how true: “…the digital age rewards change and punishes stasis.” (
source)

Which reminds me of a photo I took just yesterday morning at one of the malls in our area, where a local Sears store is closing.

It made me wonder…if Sears could do it all over again, what would they do differently? If they had a time machine, would they go back in time and work to become the new Amazon.com?

 

 

 

By the way, this picture is for those people who continue to dismiss the need to change and to adapt.  Surveying the relevant landscapes is an increasingly important thing for all of us to do, especially given that we are now on an exponential pace of technological change.

 

 

Companies must be open to radical reinvention to find new, significant, and sustainable sources of revenue. Incremental adjustments or building something new outside of the core business can provide real benefits and, in many cases, are a crucial first step for a digital transformation. But if these initiatives don’t lead to more profound changes to the core business and avoid the real work of rearchitecting how the business makes money, the benefits can be fleeting and too insignificant to avert a steady march to oblivion.

 

 

 



Addendum on 2/10/17

  • Macy’s earnings: Shifts in retail are hurting major players — from marketwatch.com by Tonya Garcia
    Macy’s has assets like real estate and brand identity, but shifts in the sector are putting pressure on earningsExcerpt:
    Even a major player like Macy’s M, +1.51%   isn’t immune to retail’s struggles. The sector is experiencing a dramatic shift to e-commerce and changes in consumer tastes and shopping behavior that have put pressure on department store earnings, and on the industry as a whole. Macy’s has already announced 100 store closures and thousands of job cuts, in addition to a reassessment of its real-estate assets. Now there’s buzz from reports about buyout talks with Hudson’s Bay Co. HBC, parent to Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue.

 

 

 

With Uber Freight, it’s not just truck drivers whose jobs are at risk — from linkedin.com by John McDermott
The bane of taxi drivers everywhere is now taking on logistics

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

At the end of December Uber debuted Uber Freight, its foray into the un-sexy yet lucrative world of logistics. Many saw Uber’s entry into freight as a death knell for trucking companies, as Uber is looking to build a fleet of driverless trucks.

And while the threat to trucking is real, Uber Freight poses a more immediate risk to the thousands of mid-level, white-collar support staff jobs in the industry.

Uber is uniquely positioned to streamline the industry, though. Much like the company’s ride-hailing app cuts out the taxi dispatcher and allows people to hail rides directly from drivers, Uber Freight can create a platform where shippers and truckers broker shipping orders directly with one another, effectively rendering obsolete thousands of 3PL (third party logistics) workers. It replaces people with software, and configures a labor-intensive industry into a SaaS business.

Famed venture capitalist Marc Andreessen is fond of the phrase “software is eating the world,” meaning that it’s replacing many of the post-industrial, pre-internet jobs once thought to be essential. Problem is, one man’s efficiency is another’s unemployment.

 

Problem is, one man’s efficiency is another’s unemployment.

 

 

 

Some reflections/resources on today’s announcements from Apple

tv-app-apple-10-27-16

 

tv-app2-apple-10-27-16

From DSC:
How long before recommendation engines like this can be filtered/focused down to just display apps, channels, etc. that are educational and/or training related (i.e., a recommendation engine to suggest personalized/customized playlists for learning)?

That is, in the future, will we have personalized/customized playlists for learning on our Apple TVs — as well as on our mobile devices — with the assessment results of our taking the module(s) or course(s) being sent in to:

  • A credentials database on LinkedIn (via blockchain)
    and/or
  • A credentials database at the college(s) or university(ies) that we’re signed up with for lifelong learning (via blockchain)
    and/or
  • To update our cloud-based learning profiles — which can then feed a variety of HR-related systems used to find talent? (via blockchain)

Will participants in MOOCs, virtual K-12 schools, homeschoolers, and more take advantage of learning from home?

Will solid ROI’s from having thousands of participants paying a smaller amount (to take your course virtually) enable higher production values?

Will bots and/or human tutors be instantly accessible from our couches?

Will we be able to meet virtually via our TVs and share our computing devices?

 

bigscreen_rocket_league

 

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

 

 

 


Other items on today’s announcements:


 

 

macbookpro-10-27-16

 

 

All the big announcements from Apple’s Mac event — from amp.imore.com by Joseph Keller

  • MacBook Pro
  • Final Cut Pro X
  • Apple TV > new “TV” app
  • Touch Bar

 

Apple is finally unifying the TV streaming experience with new app — from techradar.com by Nick Pino

 

 

How to migrate your old Mac’s data to your new Mac — from amp.imore.com by Lory Gil

 

 

MacBook Pro FAQ: Everything you need to know about Apple’s new laptops — from amp.imore.com by Serenity Caldwell

 

 

Accessibility FAQ: Everything you need to know about Apple’s new accessibility portal — from imore.com by Daniel Bader

 

 

Apple’s New MacBook Pro Has a ‘Touch Bar’ on the Keyboard — from wired.com by Brian Barrett

 

 

Apple’s New TV App Won’t Have Netflix or Amazon Video — from wired.com by Brian Barrett

 

 

 

 

Apple 5th Gen TV To Come With Major Software Updates; Release Date Likely In 2017 — from mobilenapps.com

 

 

 

 

The Few, The Proud, the Unusual — by Jack Uldrich

Excerpt:

An army of ants is an awe-inspiring and efficient force of nature. While each ant is individually small, collectively they accomplish amazing things—provided they have a sufficient source of food. The same is true of today’s modern corporation—if it has a profitable source of revenue. Alas, when the food or the money dries up, both the army and the corporation are endangered.

To protect themselves, ants rely on a unique sub-group of “pioneer ants.” Their sole job is to move out away from the main army in search of the next source of food. In this way, the pioneers act as a hedge against the possibility of being caught without a future source of food.

Every organization should also have at least a few “pioneers ants” whose single job is to identify future opportunities. To ensure these individuals have the best chance of success, I have outlined a series of unusual characteristics that I believe will bolster their odds of success–and, thus, your success…

 

 

Every organization should also have at least a few “pioneers ants” whose single job is to identify future opportunities.

 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems