Teachers can now use IBM’s Watson to search for free lesson plans — from edsurge.com by Stephen Noonoo

Excerpt:

IBM’s famous Watson computing system—which defeated Jeopardy champ Ken Jennings in 2011—is coming to education, if not quite the classroom. As part of a new IBM philanthropic initiative, the supercomputer is helping to power a searchable database of open educational math resources designed for teachers in grades K-5.

Today marks the first time the new tool, called Teacher Advisor With Watson 1.0, is open to the public after a lengthy beta testing period that sought input from state education commissioners, teachers unions, school board associations and more than 1,000 teachers.

“We wanted to build and design something for teachers by teachers, with the best information and the best technology available,” says Stan Litow, the President Emeritus of the IBM Foundation and a former deputy chancellor for New York City Department of Education.

The IBM Foundation has been flirting with ideas to apply Watson technology in education for a while, without knowing exactly what it wanted to do with it. The tech giant began last year by pulling in more than 100 top-level education leaders for a daylong event demoing the tech. From that focus group they narrowed the list of potential applications to professional development tools and, eventually, settled on a searchable database exclusively for elementary school math.

 

Populating the search engine is a collection of more than 1,000 OERs—from sources such as Achieve, UnboundED and statewide orgs like EngageNY—hand-selected by math experts assisting the program.

 

Also see:

 


 

 
 

The case for a next generation learning platform [Grush & Christian]

 

The case for a next generation learning platform — from campustechnology.com by Mary Grush & Daniel Christian

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Grush: Then what are some of the implications you could draw from metrics like that one?

Christian: As we consider all the investment in those emerging technologies, the question many are beginning to ask is, “How will these technologies impact jobs and the makeup of our workforce in the future?”

While there are many thoughts and questions regarding the cumulative impact these technologies will have on our future workforce (e.g., “How many jobs will be displaced?”), the consensus seems to be that there will be massive change.

Whether our jobs are completely displaced or if we will be working alongside robots, chatbots, workbots, or some other forms of AI-backed personal assistants, all of us will need to become lifelong learners — to be constantly reinventing ourselves. This assertion is also made in the aforementioned study from McKinsey: “AI promises benefits, but also poses urgent challenges that cut across firms, developers, government, and workers. The workforce needs to be re-skilled to exploit AI rather than compete with it…”

 

 

A side note from DSC:
I began working on this vision prior to 2010…but I didn’t officially document it until 2012.

 

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

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:

A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

  • A new, global, collaborative learning platform that offers more choice, more control to learners of all ages – 24×7 – and could become the organization that futurist Thomas Frey discusses here with Business Insider:

“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.

  • A learner-centered platform that is enabled by – and reliant upon – human beings but is backed up by a powerful suite of technologies that work together in order to help people reinvent themselves quickly, conveniently, and extremely cost-effectively
  • A customizable learning environment that will offer up-to-date streams of regularly curated content (i.e., microlearning) as well as engaging learning experiences
  • Along these lines, a lifelong learner can opt to receive an RSS feed on a particular topic until they master that concept; periodic quizzes (i.e., spaced repetition) determines that mastery. Once mastered, the system will ask the learner whether they still want to receive that particular stream of content or not.
  • A Netflix-like interface to peruse and select plugins to extend the functionality of the core product
  • An AI-backed system of analyzing employment trends and opportunities will highlight those courses and streams of content that will help someone obtain the most in-demand skills
  • A system that tracks learning and, via Blockchain-based technologies, feeds all completed learning modules/courses into learners’ web-based learner profiles
  • A learning platform that provides customized, personalized recommendation lists – based upon the learner’s goals
  • A platform that delivers customized, personalized learning within a self-directed course (meant for those content creators who want to deliver more sophisticated courses/modules while moving people through the relevant Zones of Proximal Development)
  • Notifications and/or inspirational quotes will be available upon request to help provide motivation, encouragement, and accountability – helping learners establish habits of continual, lifelong-based learning
  • (Potentially) An online-based marketplace, matching learners with teachers, professors, and other such Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
  • (Potentially) Direct access to popular job search sites
  • (Potentially) Direct access to resources that describe what other companies do/provide and descriptions of any particular company’s culture (as described by current and former employees and freelancers)
  • (Potentially) Integration with one-on-one tutoring services

Further details here >>

 

 

 



Addendum from DSC (regarding the resource mentioned below):
Note the voice recognition/control mechanisms on Westinghouse’s new product — also note the integration of Amazon’s Alexa into a “TV.”



 

Westinghouse’s Alexa-equipped Fire TV Edition smart TVs are now available — from theverge.com by Chaim Gartenberg

 

The key selling point, of course, is the built-in Amazon Fire TV, which is controlled with the bundled Voice Remote and features Amazon’s Alexa assistant.

 

 

 

Finally…also see:

  • NASA unveils a skill for Amazon’s Alexa that lets you ask questions about Mars — from geekwire.com by Kevin Lisota
  • Holographic storytelling — from jwtintelligence.com
    The stories of Holocaust survivors are brought to life with the help of interactive 3D technologies.
    New Dimensions in Testimony is a new way of preserving history for future generations. The project brings to life the stories of Holocaust survivors with 3D video, revealing raw first-hand accounts that are more interactive than learning through a history book.  Holocaust survivor Pinchas Gutter, the first subject of the project, was filmed answering over 1000 questions, generating approximately 25 hours of footage. By incorporating natural language processing from the USC Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT), people are able to ask Gutter’s projected image questions that trigger relevant responses.

 

 

 

 

 

Key issues in teaching and learning 2017 — from Educause Learning Initiative (ELI)

Excerpt:

Since 2011, ELI has surveyed the higher education teaching and learning community to identify its key issues. The community is wide in scope: we solicit input from all those participating in the support of the teaching and learning mission, including professionals from the IT organization, the center for teaching and learning, the library, and the dean’s and provost’s offices.

 

 

 

Amazon Opening Store That Will Eliminate Checkout — and Lines — from bloomberg.com by Jing Cao
At Amazon Seattle location items get charged to Prime account | New technology combines artificial intelligence and sensors

Excerpt:

Amazon.com Inc. unveiled technology that will let shoppers grab groceries without having to scan and pay for them — in one stroke eliminating the checkout line.

The company is testing the new system at what it’s calling an Amazon Go store in Seattle, which will open to the public early next year. Customers will be able to scan their phones at the entrance using a new Amazon Go mobile app. Then the technology will track what items they pick up or even return to the shelves and add them to a virtual shopping cart in real time, according a video Amazon posted on YouTube. Once the customers exit the store, they’ll be charged on their Amazon account automatically.

 

 

 

Amazon Introduces ‘Amazon Go’ Retail Stores, No Checkout, No Lines — from investors.com

Excerpt:

Online retail king Amazon.com (AMZN) is taking dead aim at the physical-store world Monday, introducing Amazon Go, a retail convenience store format it is developing that will use computer vision and deep-learning algorithms to let shoppers just pick up what they want and exit the store without any checkout procedure.

Shoppers will merely need to tap the Amazon Go app on their smartphones, and their virtual shopping carts will automatically tabulate what they owe, and deduct that amount from their Amazon accounts, sending you a receipt. It’s what the company has deemed “just walk out technology,” which it said is based on the same technology used in self-driving cars. It’s certain to up the ante in the company’s competition with Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT) and the other retail leaders.

 

 

Google DeepMind Makes AI Training Platform Publicly Available — from bloomberg.com by Jeremy Kahn
Company is increasingly embracing open-source initiatives | Move comes after rival Musk’s OpenAI made its robot gym public

Excerpt:

Alphabet Inc.’s artificial intelligence division Google DeepMind is making the maze-like game platform it uses for many of its experiments available to other researchers and the general public.

DeepMind is putting the entire source code for its training environment — which it previously called Labyrinth and has now renamed as DeepMind Lab — on the open-source depository GitHub, the company said Monday. Anyone will be able to download the code and customize it to help train their own artificial intelligence systems. They will also be able to create new game levels for DeepMind Lab and upload these to GitHub.

 

Related:
Alphabet DeepMind is inviting developers into the digital world where its AI learns to explore — from qz.com by Dave Gershgorn

 

 

 

After Retail Stumble, Beacons Shine From Banks to Sports Arenas — from bloomberg.com by Olga Kharif
Shipments of the devices expected to grow to 500 million

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Beacon technology, which was practically left for dead after failing to deliver on its promise to revolutionize the retail industry, is making a comeback.

Beacons are puck-size gadgets that can send helpful tips, coupons and other information to people’s smartphones through Bluetooth. They’re now being used in everything from bank branches and sports arenas to resorts, airports and fast-food restaurants. In the latest sign of the resurgence, Mobile Majority, an advertising startup, said on Monday that it was buying Gimbal Inc., a beacon maker it bills as the largest independent source of location data other than Google and Apple Inc.

Several recent developments have sparked the latest boom. Companies like Google parent Alphabet Inc. are making it possible for people to use the feature without downloading any apps, which had been a major barrier to adoption, said Patrick Connolly, an analyst at ABI. Introduced this year, Google Nearby Notifications lets developers tie an app or a website to a beacon to send messages to consumers even when they have no app installed.

But in June, Cupertino, California-based Mist Systems began shipping a software-based product that simplified the process. Instead of placing 10 beacons on walls and ceilings, for example, management using Mist can install one device every 2,000 feet (610 meters), then designate various points on a digital floor plan as virtual beacons, which can be moved with a click of a mouse.

 

 

Google’s Hand-Fed AI Now Gives Answers, Not Just Search Results — from wired.com by Cade Metz

Excerpt:

Ask the Google search app “What is the fastest bird on Earth?,” and it will tell you.

“Peregrine falcon,” the phone says. “According to YouTube, the peregrine falcon has a maximum recorded airspeed of 389 kilometers per hour.”

That’s the right answer, but it doesn’t come from some master database inside Google. When you ask the question, Google’s search engine pinpoints a YouTube video describing the five fastest birds on the planet and then extracts just the information you’re looking for. It doesn’t mention those other four birds. And it responds in similar fashion if you ask, say, “How many days are there in Hanukkah?” or “How long is Totem?” The search engine knows that Totem is a Cirque de Soleil show, and that it lasts two-and-a-half hours, including a thirty-minute intermission.

Google answers these questions with the help from deep neural networks, a form of artificial intelligence rapidly remaking not just Google’s search engine but the entire company and, well, the other giants of the internet, from Facebook to Microsoft. Deep neutral nets are pattern recognition systems that can learn to perform specific tasks by analyzing vast amounts of data. In this case, they’ve learned to take a long sentence or paragraph from a relevant page on the web and extract the upshot—the information you’re looking for.

 

 

Deep Learning in Production at Facebook — from re-work.co by Katie Pollitt

Excerpt:

Facebook is powered by machine learning and AI. From advertising relevance, news feed and search ranking to computer vision, face recognition, and speech recognition, they run ML models at massive scale, computing trillions of predictions every day.

At the 2016 Deep Learning Summit in Boston, Andrew Tulloch, Research Engineer at Facebook, talked about some of the tools and tricks Facebook use for scaling both the training and deployment of some of their deep learning models at Facebook. He also covered some useful libraries that they’d open-sourced for production-oriented deep learning applications. Tulloch’s session can be watched in full below.

 

 

The Artificial Intelligence Gold Rush — from foresightr.com by Mark Vickers
Big companies, venture capital firms and governments are all banking on AI

Excerpt:

Let’s start with some of the brand-name organizations laying down big bucks on artificial intelligence.

  • Amazon: Sells the successful Echo home speaker, which comes with the personal assistant Alexa.
  • Alphabet (Google): Uses deep learning technology to power Internet searches and developed AlphaGo, an AI that beat the world champion in the game of Go.
  • Apple: Developed the popular virtual assistant Siri and is working on other phone-related AI applications, such as facial recognition.
  • Baidu: Wants to use AI to improve search, recognize images of objects and respond to natural language queries.
  • Boeing: Works with Carnegie Mellon University to develop machine learning capable of helping it design and build planes more efficiently.
  • Facebook: Wants to create the “best AI lab in the world.” Has its personal assistant, M, and focuses heavily on facial recognition.
    IBM: Created the Jeopardy-winning Watson AI and is leveraging its data analysis and natural language capabilities in the healthcare industry.
  • Intel: Has made acquisitions to help it build specialized chips and software to handle deep learning.
  • Microsoft: Works on chatbot technology and acquired SwiftKey, which predicts what users will type next.
  • Nokia: Has introduced various machine learning capabilities to its portfolio of customer-experience software.
    Nvidia: Builds computer chips customized for deep learning.
  • Salesforce: Took first place at the Stanford Question Answering Dataset, a test of machine learning and comprehension, and has developed the Einstein model that learns from data.
  • Shell: Launched a virtual assistant to answer customer questions.
  • Tesla Motors: Continues to work on self-driving automobile technologies.
  • Twitter: Created an AI-development team called Cortex and acquired several AI startups.

 

 

 

IBM Watson and Education in the Cognitive Era — from i-programmer.info by Nikos Vaggalis

Excerpt:

IBM’s seemingly ubiquitous Watson is now infiltrating education, through AI powered software that ‘reads’ the needs of individual  students in order to engage them through tailored learning approaches.

This is not to be taken lightly, as it opens the door to a new breed of technologies that will spearhead the education or re-education of the workforce of the future.

As outlined in the 2030 report, despite robots or AI displacing a big chunk of the workforce, they will also play a major role in creating job opportunities as never before.In such a competitive landscape, workers of all kinds, white or blue collar to begin with, should come readied with new, versatile and contemporary skills.

The point is, the very AI that will leave someone jobless, will also help him to re-adapt into a new job’s requirements.It will also prepare the new generations through the use of such optimal methodologies that will once more give meaning to the aging  and counter-productive schooling system which has the  students’ skills disengaged from the needs of the industry and which still segregates students into ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Might it be that ‘bad’ students become just like that due to the system’s inability to stimulate their interest?

 

 

 

 

Our latest way to bring your government to you — from whitehouse.gov
Why we’re open-sourcing the code for the first-ever government bot on Facebook Messenger.

 

botgif

Excerpt:

On August 26th, President Obama publicly responded to a Facebook message sent to him by a citizen—a first for any president in history. Since then, he has received over one and a half million Facebook messages, sent from people based all around the world.

While receiving messages from the public isn’t a recent phenomenon—every day, the White House receives thousands of phone calls, physical letters, and submissions through our online contact form—being able to contact the President through Facebook has never been possible before. Today [10/14/16], it’s able to happen because of the first-ever government bot on Facebook messenger.

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 
 

How might these enhancements to Siri and tvOS 10 impact education/training/learning-related offerings & applications? [Christian]

From DSC:
I read the article mentioned below.  It made me wonder how 3 of the 4 main highlights that Fred mentioned (that are coming to Siri with tvOS 10) might impact education/training/learning-related applications and offerings made possible via tvOS & Apple TV:

  1. Live broadcasts
  2. Topic-based searches
  3. The ability to search YouTube via Siri

The article prompted me to wonder:

  • Will educators and trainers be able to offer live lectures and training (globally) that can be recorded and later searched via Siri? 
  • What if second screen devices could help learners collaborate and participate in active learning while watching what’s being presented on the main display/”TV?”
  • What if learning taken this way could be recorded on one’s web-based profile, a profile that is based upon blockchain-based technologies and maintained via appropriate/proven organizations of learning? (A profile that’s optionally made available to services from Microsoft/LinkedIn.com/Lynda.com and/or to a service based upon IBM’s Watson, and/or to some other online-based marketplace/exchange for matching open jobs to potential employees.)
  • Or what if you could earn a badge or prove a competency via this manner?

Hmmm…things could get very interesting…and very powerful.

More choice. More control. Over one’s entire lifetime.

Heutagogy on steroids.

Micro-learning.

Perhaps this is a piece of the future for MOOCs…

 

MoreChoiceMoreControl-DSC

 

 

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

 

 

StreamsOfContent-DSC

 

 


 

Apple TV gets new Siri features in tvOS 10 — from iphonefaq.org by Fred Straker

Excerpt:

The forthcoming update to Apple TV continues to bring fresh surprises for owners of Apple’s set top box. Many improvements are coming to tvOS 10, including single-sign-on support and an upgrade to Siri’s capabilities. Siri has already opened new doors thanks to the bundled Siri Remote, which simplifies many functions on the Apple TV interface. Four main highlights are coming to Siri with tvOS 10, which is expected to launch this fall.

 


 

Addendum on 7/17/16:

CBS News Launches New Apple TV App Designed Exclusively for tvOS — from macrumors.com

Excerpt:

CBS today announced the launch of an all-new Apple TV app that will center around the network’s always-on, 24-hour “CBSN” streaming network and has been designed exclusively for tvOS. In addition to the live stream of CBSN, the app curates news stories and video playlists for each user based on previously watched videos.

The new app will also take advantage of the 4th generation Apple TV’s deep Siri integration, allowing users to tell Apple’s personal assistant that they want to “Watch CBS News” to immediately start a full-screen broadcast of CBSN. While the stream is playing, users can interact with other parts of the app to browse related videos, bookmark some to watch later, and begin subscribing to specific playlists and topics.

 

 

 

 

This is how blockchain will change your life — from medium.com by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott

Excerpt:

Enter the blockchain, the first native digital medium for peer to peer value exchange. Its protocol establishes the rules — in the form of globally distributed computations and heavy duty encryption — that ensure the integrity of the data traded among billions of devices without going through a trusted third party. Trust is hard-coded into the platform. That’s why we call it the Trust Protocol. It acts as a ledger of accounts, a database, a notary, a sentry, and clearing house, all by consensus.

 

 

 

 

Blockchain technology: Redefining makerspaces — from worlds-of-learning.com by Laura Fleming

Excerpt:

My own personal fascination with blockchain technology lies in its potential for makerspaces and its role in the Maker Movement.  The blockchain by nature is decentralized (peer-to-peer), distributed and open-source…the blueprint for makerspaces.  Makerspaces both in and out of schools are about decentralizing and widening-access. This includes not only access to the spaces themselves, but also to equipment and resources.  I have written before about he potential of Open Educational Resources (OER) in a makerspace.  Blockchain technology could further open up access and use of resources, making our educational system that much more open and flexible.

Within schools, giving students credit for the skills they gain in a makerspace is always a challenge.  The blockchain offers a real possiblity for managing and processing these types of credentials. Outside of school, no standard exists for certification or credentialing in a makerspace.  You might be certified to use a tool in one makerspace, but walk into another and not be able to use that same tool there. Blockchain technology can help streamline and create a new standard for these types of certifications.

 

 

 

New platform aims to make it easier to develop for blockchain — from adigaskell.org

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Blockchain is undoubtedly one of the hottest technologies around at the moment. Whilst it has gained most of its notoriety for the Bitcoin financial technology, it also has a number of other possible applications.

For instance, John Holden and Greg Irving from the University of Cambridge use blockchain technology as a means of making clinical trial documents immutable. The pair wanted to tackle the thorny issue of ensuring that research data is untampered with, so that external people can have confidence in the results from the trials.

They highlighted the use of blockchain in cardiovascular diabetes and ethanol research via a report published on the F1000 website.

 

 

 

Bitcoin transaction initiated from fed offices, for the first time — from fee.org
Blockchain technology is maturing very quickly

Excerpt:

Some remarkable things are happening in the bitcoin/blockchain space. It’s hard to believe that just seven years ago, this technology was first revealed on an email list followed by just a handful of cypherpunks, who should be remembered by history as brilliant and dedicated innovators of a revolutionary technology. Today what they did has grabbed the attention of the world’s largest financial institutions and central banks.

And why? It’s clear this innovation is not going away. It’s simply a better method for exchanging value globally. It is a technology that will influence—if not define—the future of payments and money. It is already disrupting the status quo in more ways than even the best experts can track, especially in emerging markets.

 

Four of us blockchainers actually visited Janet Yellen [Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System] in her office.

 

 

 

 

BlockchainEcosystem-July2016

 

 

 

 

Can IBM really make a business out of blockchain? — from fortune.com by Jeff Roberts

Excerpt:

One of the loudest evangelists is IBM, which has been touting the potential of blockchain—a technology that can allow companies to create quick, tamper-proof ledgers—to transform everything from finance to trading to insurance.

On Tuesday, IBM announced the formal launch of a so-called “Bluemix Garage” in New York, where developers can experiment with financial-tech software and explore new forms of blockchain innovation.

It’s a fine idea and one that could serve IBM’s long-term strategic interests. Namely, if developers flock to IBM’s platform, the company will be well-positioned to grab a big share of the “blockchain-as-a-service” market—a still nascent industry dedicated to helping firms navigate the world of ledgers, smart contracts, and all that other good stuff.

 

 

 

 

MusicOnBlockchain-July2016

Excerpt:

Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), or ‘blockchain’, has started to receive increasing media attention and investment from several sectors including governments, financial services and the creative industries. The potential application in relation to music is of particular interest, as it appears to offer solutions to problems artists have highlighted for decades – around transparency, the sharing of value and the relationships with intermediaries that sit between the artist and fan, the central and most important relationship in music.

If blockchain technology can help the commercial and contractual relationships in music keep pace with technology and the communication between artists and fans then it could be truly revolutionary.

 

 

 

Pink Floyd: Blockchain technology in music could be ‘truly revolutionary’ — from ibtimes.co.uk by Ian Allison
A research team at Middlesex University has released their ‘Music on the blockchain’ report.

Excerpt:

According to the report, there are four main areas where blockchain could transform the music industries:

  • A single, networked database for music copyright information, rather than the many, not-quite-complete databases maintained at present;
  • fast, frictionless royalty payments, whereas payments can currently take years;
  • transparency through the value chain, allowing musicians and their managers to see exactly how much money they are owed, as opposed to a culture of non-disclosure agreements and “black boxes”; and
  • access to alternative sources of capital, with smart contracts – contracts implemented via software – potentially transforming crowdfunding and leading to the establishment of ‘artist accelerators’ on the model of tech start-ups.

 

 

 

Using blockchain to re-imagine learning — from medium.com by Ben Blair, co-founder of Teachur

Excerpt:

In her recent blog, KnowledgeWorks Senior Director of Strategic Foresight Katherine Prince lists six challenges that K-12 education faces. I’m not going to go all panacea on you, but let me illustrate how blockchain technology could address at least one of those issues and gesture to how it could play an important — if not central — part in addressing all six.

 

 

Amazon unveils online education service for teachers — from nytimes.com by Natasha Singer

Excerpt:

Just ahead of the back-to-school season, Amazon is making a major foray into the education technology market for primary and secondary schools, a territory that Apple, Google and Microsoft have heavily staked out.

On Monday morning, Amazon said that it would introduce an online marketplace with tens of thousands of free lesson plans, worksheets and other instructional materials for teachers in late August or early September.

Called Amazon Inspire, the education site has features that may seem quite familiar to frequent Amazon shoppers. Search bar at the top of the page? Check. User reviews? Check. Star ratings for each product? Check.

 

AmazonInspire-6-27-16

 

 

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