AWS and Microsoft announce Gluon, making deep learning accessible to all developers — from news.microsoft.com
New open source deep learning interface allows developers to more easily and quickly build machine learning models without compromising training performance. Jointly developed reference specification makes it possible for Gluon to work with any deep learning engine; support for Apache MXNet available today and support for Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit coming soon.

Excerpt:

SEATTLE and REDMOND, Wash. — Oct. 12, 2017 — On Thursday, Amazon Web Services Inc. (AWS), an Amazon.com company (NASDAQ: AMZN), and Microsoft Corp. (NASDAQ: MSFT) announced a new deep learning library, called Gluon, that allows developers of all skill levels to prototype, build, train and deploy sophisticated machine learning models for the cloud, devices at the edge and mobile apps. The Gluon interface currently works with Apache MXNet and will support Microsoft Cognitive Toolkit (CNTK) in an upcoming release. With the Gluon interface, developers can build machine learning models using a simple Python API and a range of prebuilt, optimized neural network components. This makes it easier for developers of all skill levels to build neural networks using simple, concise code, without sacrificing performance. AWS and Microsoft published Gluon’s reference specification so other deep learning engines can be integrated with the interface. To get started with the Gluon interface, visit https://github.com/gluon-api/gluon-api/.

 

 

Microsoft and Amazon struck a brilliant partnership to take on Google in the next big thing for cloud computing  — from finance.yahoo.com Business Insider by Julie Bort

Excerpt:

  • Microsoft and Amazon announced a surprise partnership on Thursday in which they were jointly releasing for free a new software tool for developers called Gluon.
  • Gluon makes it easier for developers to build AI/machine learning systems, aka apps that can learn.
  • But there’s another, more important reason this partnership is interesting: it challenges Google in its one big area of dominance.

 

 

 

 

Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2018 — from Gartner Research

Summary

  • The intelligent digital mesh is a foundation for future digital business and its ecosystems. To create competitive advantage, enterprise architecture and technology innovation leaders must evaluate these top trends to identify opportunities that their organizations can exploit.

Key Findings

  • Artificial intelligence (AI) delivers value to every industry, enabling new business models. It does so by supporting key initiatives such as customer engagement, digital production, smart cities, self-driving cars, risk management, computer vision and speech recognition.
  • As people, places, processes and “things” become increasingly digitalized, they will be represented by digital twins. This will provide fertile ground for new event-driven business processes and digitally enabled business models and ecosystems.
  • The way we interact with technology will undergo a radical transformation over the next five to 10 years. Conversational platforms, augmented reality, virtual reality and mixed reality will provide more natural and immersive interactions with the digital world.
  • A digital business is event-centric, which means it must be continuously sensing and adapting. The same applies to the security and risk infrastructure that supports it, which must focus on deceiving potential intruders and predicting security events.

Table of Contents

Analysis

Trend No. 1: AI Foundation
Today’s AI Is Narrow AI

Trend No. 2: Intelligent Apps and Analytics
Augmented Analytics Will Enable Users to Spend More Time Acting on Insights

Trend No. 3: Intelligent Things
Swarms of Intelligent Things Will Work Together

Trend No. 4: Digital Twins
Digital Twins Will Be Linked to Other Digital Entities

Trend No. 5: Cloud to the Edge
Edge Computing Brings Distributed Computing Into the Cloud Style

Trend No. 6: Conversational Platforms
Integration With Third-Party Services Will Further Increase Usefulness

Trend No. 7: Immersive Experience
VR and AR Can Help Increase Productivity

Trend No. 8: Blockchain
Blockchain Offers Significant Potential Long-Term Benefits Despite Its Challenges

Trend No. 9: Event-Driven Model
Events Will Become More Important in the Intelligent Digital Mesh

Trend No. 10: Continuous Adaptive Risk and Trust
Barriers Must Come Down Between Security and Application Teams

Gartner Recommended Reading

 

 



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Amazon and Codecademy team up for free Alexa skills training — from venturebeat.com by Khari Johnson

Excerpt:

Amazon and tech training app Codecademy have collaborated to create a series of free courses. Available today, the courses are meant to train developers as well as beginners how to create skills, the voice apps that interact with Alexa.

Since opening Alexa to third-party developers in 2015, more than 20,000 skills have been made available in the Alexa Skills Store.

 

 

 

 

Ginni Rometty on the End of Programming — from bloomberg.com by Megan Murphy
The IBM chief dares to imagine what Watson will be when it grows up, and reaffirms her pledge to hire 25,000 people over the next four years.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Do you feel we’re going to get to a point where AI will displace more jobs than it creates and we’re not doing enough to push forward with the jobs of the future?

I do believe that when it comes to complete job replacement, it will be a very small percentage. When it comes to changing a job and what you do, it will be 100 percent. “Whoa, different skills. Everybody is going to have to have a different skill because it’s going to be a threat in all our jobs.” Let me just park that thought. I want to come back to something I think that’s far more important and is related. The issue of skills is front and center in this country and many countries in the world right now without AI. We already have a world that’s bifurcating between haves and have-nots, and a lot of that is based on education and skills. This country has 5 million to 6 million jobs open. That’s about skill. This is not being caused by AI. We’ve got to revamp education for this era of man and machine. And that means you cannot insist that every person needs to be a university or a Ph.D. graduate to be productive in society. You cannot. It’s not true by the way. We’ve proven that.

You started a six-year high school program. This is a program where they take people through four years of high school, two years of a college equivalent, and then hopefully give them preference in getting into the workforce, again to work with IBM.

In the U.S., in 2015, half of our young people didn’t have an associate’s degree or a college degree. That’s the problem today: the number of people that need to be retrained. I’m far more optimistic that public-private partnerships can solve this dilemma. There will be a hundred pathways to technology becoming viral, driven by governors and states. I always remember when President Obama came to the first one, he goes, “Where are all the computers?” We’re like, “That’s not what we teach these kids.” We’re teaching them a skill about math and problem-solving that’s going to transcend any technology they deal with. The first part is a very simple formula: a curriculum of math, science. The second, give the kids a mentor and then you give them a chance at a job. We will be up to 50,000 kids, and 300 other companies have volunteered. I have a whole bunch of these kids over in Silicon Alley where we have our Watson headquarters.

 

 

I do believe that when it comes to complete job replacement, it will be a very small percentage. When it comes to changing a job and what you do, it will be 100 percent.

 

 

 

The new Autonomous SmartDesk 3 has a built-in touchscreen and AI software — from imore.com by Tory Foulk 

Excerpt:

Can your desk encourage you to stand, remind you to drink water and order you a pizza? No? Well SmartDesk 3 can.

Autonomous announced the launch of the newest iteration of its SmartDesk in a press release today, and is claiming it’s “the world’s most powerful AI-powered standing desk.”

The embedded tablet has a 7″ display and is powered by Autonomous’ own OS platform, and has both Bluetooth and WiFi capabilities so it can interact with the apps on your phone. It features many of its own shortcuts, too – you can make coffee, order food, check the weather, play Spotify playlists, and even request a ride from Uber. Because the tablet syncs with Google Calendar, it will remind you of any meetings you might have throughout the day. And in addition to all of that, SmartDesk 3 monitors how long you sit or stand and reminds you to either stretch your legs or take a break to relax when it feels you need it. After using the AI for a week or so, it will learn your habits – say, when you usually start getting hungry – and begin to anticipate your needs.

 

Autonomous' SmartDesk 3 in white

 

 

 

 

 

Unity Technologies unveils AI toolkit for training machine learning ‘agents’ — from therobotreport.com by Alex Beall

Excerpt:

Unity Technologies released the open beta version of its Unity Machine Learning Agents, an artificial intelligence toolkit developers and researchers can use to virtually train agents —whether video game characters, autonomous vehicles or robots.

“Machine learning is a disruptive technology that is important to all types of developers and researchers to make their games or systems smarter, but complexities and technical barriers make it out of reach for most,” vice president of AI and machine learning Danny Lange said in a press release. “This is an exciting new chapter in AI’s history as we are making an end-to-end machine learning environment widely accessible, and providing the critical tools needed to make more intelligent, beautiful games and applications. Complete with Unity’s physics engine and a 3D photorealistic rendering environment, our AI toolkit also offers a game-changing AI research platform to a rapidly growing community of AI enthusiasts exploring the frontiers of Deep Learning.”

 

 

 

 

How Chatbot Tech Takes Customer Service to the Next Level — from nojitter.com by Yaniv Reznik
A chatbot’s combination of personalized service and quick, efficient answers perfectly fits the needs of today’s digital consumers.

Excerpts:

Rather, today’s connected consumers want a seamless online experience that immediately allows them to self-serve when they have a quick question or choose a hybrid approach when they need that personal touch from a live representative.

Chatbots empower consumers to take charge of their own brand experience and efficiently get the answers they need. Consumers demand accuracy and convenience, and chatbots provide the perfect balance of speed, personalization, and human touch necessary for improved customer experiences.

The key to implementing chatbots that go beyond scripted responses is Natural Language Processing (NLP). Chatbots equipped with this advanced technology can understand situational context and can therefore get to the root of customer questions without putting customers on hold or redirecting them.

 

 

 

 



 

Addendum on 9/25/17:

One year later, Microsoft AI and Research grows to 8k people in massive bet on artificial intelligence — from geekwire.com by Todd Bishop

Excerpt:

One way to measure Microsoft’s AI bet: In its first year of operation, the AI and Research group has grown by 60 percent — from 5,000 people originally to nearly 8,000 people today — through hiring and acquisitions, and by bringing aboard additional teams from other parts of the company.

The creation of Microsoft AI and Research also underscores the intense competition in artificial intelligence. Microsoft is gearing up to compete against the likes of Google, Amazon, Salesforce, Apple, and countless AI startups and research groups, all of them looking to lead the tech industry in this new era of artificial intelligence.

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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Everything Apple Announced — from wired.comby Arielle Pardes

Excerpt:

To much fanfare, Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled the next crop of iPhones [on 9/12/17] at the new Steve Jobs Theater on Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino. With the introduction of three new phones, Cook made clear that Apple’s premiere product is very much still evolving. The iPhone X, he said, represents “the future of smartphones”: a platform for augmented reality, a tool for powerful computing, screen for everything. But it’s not all about the iPhones. The event also brought with it a brand new Apple Watch, upgrades to Apple TV, and a host of other features coming to the Apple ecosystem this fall. Missed the big show? Check out our archived live coverage of Apple’s big bash, and read all the highlights below.

 

 

iPhone Event 2017 — from techcrunch.com

From DSC:
A nice listing of articles that cover all of the announcements.

 

 

Apple Bets on Augmented Reality to Sell Its Most Expensive Phone — from bloomberg.com by Alex Webb and Mark Gurman

Excerpt:

Apple Inc. packed its $1,000 iPhone with augmented reality features, betting the nascent technology will persuade consumers to pay premium prices for its products even as cheaper alternatives abound.

The iPhone X, Apple’s most expensive phone ever, was one of three new models Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook showed off during an event at the company’s new $5 billion headquarters in Cupertino, California, on Tuesday. It also rolled out an updated Apple Watch with a cellular connection and an Apple TV set-top box that supports higher-definition video.

Augmented Reality
Apple executives spent much of Tuesday’s event describing how AR is at the core of the new flagship iPhone X. Its new screen, 3-D sensors, and dual cameras are designed for AR video games and other more-practical uses such as measuring digital objects in real world spaces. Months before the launch, Apple released a tool called ARKit that made it easier for developers to add AR capabilities to their apps.

These technologies have never been available in consumer devices and “solidify the platform on which Apple will retain and grow its user base for the next decade,” Gene Munster of Loup Ventures wrote in a note following Apple’s event.

The company is also working on smart glasses that may be AR-enabled, people familiar with the plan told Bloomberg earlier this year.

 

 

Meet the iPhone X, Apple’s New High-End Handset — from wired.com by David Pierce

Excerpt:

First of all, the X looks like no other phone. It doesn’t even look like an iPhone. On the front, it’s screen head to foot, save for a small trapezoidal notch taken out of the top where Apple put selfie cameras and sensors. Otherwise, the bezel around the edge of the phone has been whittled to near-nonexistence and the home button disappeared—all screen and nothing else. The case is made of glass and stainless steel, like the much-loved iPhone 4. The notched screen might take some getting used to, but the phone’s a stunner. It goes on sale starting at $999 on October 27, and it ships November 3.

If you can’t get your hands on an iPhone X in the near future, Apple still has two new models for you. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus both look like the iPhone 7—with home buttons!—but offer a few big upgrades to match the iPhone X. Both new models support wireless charging, run the latest A11 Bionic processor, and have 2 gigs of RAM. They also have glass backs, which gives them a glossy new look. They don’t have OLED screens, but they’re getting the same TrueTone tech as the X, and they can shoot video in 4K.

 

 

Apple Debuts the Series 3 Apple Watch, Now With Cellular — from wired.com by David Pierce

 

 

 

Ikea and Apple team up on augmented reality home design app — from curbed.com by Asad Syrkett
The ‘Ikea Place’ app lets shoppers virtually test drive furniture

 

 

The New Apple iPhone 8 Is Built for Photography and Augmented Reality — from time.com by Alex Fitzpatrick

Excerpt:

Apple says the new iPhones are also optimized for augmented reality, or AR, which is software that makes it appear that digital images exist in the user’s real-world environment. Apple SVP Phil Schiller demonstrated several apps making use of AR technology, from a baseball app that shows users player statistics when pointing their phone at the field to a stargazing app that displays the location of constellations and other celestial objects in the night sky. Gaming will be a major use case for AR as well.

Apple’s new iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 plus will have wireless charging as well. Users will be able to charge the device by laying it down on a specially-designed power mat on their desk, bedside table or inside their car, similar to how the Apple Watch charges. (Competing Android devices have long had a similar feature.) Apple is using the Qi wireless charging standard for the iPhones.

 

 

Why you shouldn’t unlock your phone with your face — from medium.com by Quincy Larson

Excerpt:

Today Apple announced its new FaceID technology. It’s a new way to unlock your phone through facial recognition. All you have to do is look at your phone and it will recognize you and unlock itself. At time of writing, nobody outside of Apple has tested the security of FaceID. So this article is about the security of facial recognition, and other forms of biometric identification in general.

Historically, biometric identification has been insecure. Cameras can be tricked. Voices can be recorded. Fingerprints can be lifted. And in many countries?—?including the US?—?the police can legally force you to use your fingerprint to unlock your phone. So they can most certainly point your phone at your face and unlock it against your will. If you value the security of your data?—?your email, social media accounts, family photos, the history of every place you’ve ever been with your phone?—?then I recommend against using biometric identification.

Instead, use a passcode to unlock your phone.

 

 

The iPhone lineup just got really compleX  — from techcrunch.com by Josh Constine

 

 

 

 

 

Apple’s ‘Neural Engine’ Infuses the iPhone With AI Smarts — from wired.com by Tom Simonite

Excerpt:

When Apple CEO Tim Cook introduced the iPhone X Tuesday he claimed it would “set the path for technology for the next decade.” Some new features are superficial: a near-borderless OLED screen and the elimination of the traditional home button. Deep inside the phone, however, is an innovation likely to become standard in future smartphones, and crucial to the long-term dreams of Apple and its competitors.

That feature is the “neural engine,” part of the new A11 processor that Apple developed to power the iPhone X. The engine has circuits tuned to accelerate certain kinds of artificial-intelligence software, called artificial neural networks, that are good at processing images and speech.

Apple said the neural engine would power the algorithms that recognize your face to unlock the phone and transfer your facial expressions onto animated emoji. It also said the new silicon could enable unspecified “other features.”

Chip experts say the neural engine could become central to the future of the iPhone as Apple moves more deeply into areas such as augmented reality and image recognition, which rely on machine-learning algorithms. They predict that Google, Samsung, and other leading mobile-tech companies will soon create neural engines of their own. Earlier this month, China’s Huawei announced a new mobile chip with a dedicated “neural processing unit” to accelerate machine learning.

 

 

 

 

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:

 

 

ARCore: Augmented reality at Android scale — from blog.google by Dave Burke

Excerpt:

With more than two billion active devices, Android is the largest mobile platform in the world. And for the past nine years, we’ve worked to create a rich set of tools, frameworks and APIs that deliver developers’ creations to people everywhere. Today, we’re releasing a preview of a new software development kit (SDK) called ARCore. It brings augmented reality capabilities to existing and future Android phones. Developers can start experimenting with it right now.

 

Google just announced its plan to match the coolest new feature coming to the iPhone –from cnbc.com by Todd Haselton

  • Google just announced its answer to Apple’s augmented reality platform
  • New tools called ARCore will let developers enable AR on millions of Android devices

 

AR Experiments

Description:

AR Experiments is a site that features work by coders who are experimenting with augmented reality in exciting ways. These experiments use various tools like ARCore, an SDK that lets Android developers create awesome AR experiences. We’re featuring some of our favorite projects here to help inspire more coders to imagine what could be made with AR.

 

Google’s ARCore hopes to introduce augmented reality to the Android masses — from androidauthority.com by Williams Pelegrin

Excerpt:

Available as a preview, ARCore is an Android software development kit (SDK) that lets developers introduce AR capabilities to, you guessed it, Android devices. Because of how ARCore works, there is no need for folks to purchase additional sensors or hardware – it will work on existing and future Android phones.

 

 

Top Trends in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017 — from gartner.com by Kasey Panetta
Enterprises should explain the business potential of blockchain, artificial intelligence and augmented reality.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

…emerging technologies such as machine learning, blockchain, drones (commercial UAVs), software-defined security and brain-computer interfaces have moved significantly along the Hype Cycle since 2016.

The Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017 focuses on three emerging technology mega-trends: Artificial intelligence (AI) everywhere, transparently immersive experiences and digital platforms. Enterprise architects and technology innovation leaders should explore and ideate these three mega-trends to understand the future impacts to their business.

“Organizations will continue to be faced with rapidly accelerating technology innovation that will profoundly impact the way they deal with their workforces, customers and partners,” says Mike J. Walker, research director. “Our 2017 Hype Cycle reveals three distinct technology trends that profoundly create new experiences with unrivaled intelligence, and offer platforms that propel organizations to connect with new business ecosystems in order to become competitive over the next five to 10 years.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
According to the article below, bootcamps appear to be filling several (perceived and/or real) gaps. Quoting from the article:

Why are students enrolling in coding bootcamps? One reason may be the adaptability of these accelerated computer science programs, where students are taught web and mobile development skills that align with industry demands. Programs are offered in-person or online, providing students with flexible learning options. The payoff is decent too: At a typical coding bootcamp, Course Report estimates average tuition is $11,400 for about 14 weeks of instruction, from which the majority students complete on-time and find relevant jobs.

Cost.

Time.

Responsiveness to industry demands.

Greater flexibility.

These are some of the things for traditional institutions of higher education to grapple with, and I would argue the sooner, the better — before this trend finds its legs and gains even more traction/momentum.

For example, in your own mind/thinking…how long do you think it will take bootcamps to begin offering programs that help learners develop content for augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) — as compared to programs coming out of institutions of traditional higher education?

Whatever your answers are in regards to the reasons for that time difference are likely the exact sort of things institutions need to be working on. For me, at least one of the answers has to do with our current accreditation systems. Other reasons come to my mind as well, but I don’t have time to go there right now.

 


Study: 1 Coding Bootcamp Graduate for Every 3.5 University Grads — from campustechnology.com by Sri Ravipati

Excerpt:

The five-year coding bootcamp industry estimated at $266 million is rapidly expanding, according to a new market study from Course Report.

The study counted 94 full-time coding bootcamps across the United States and Canada (with programs in 74 U.S. cities). Compared to 2012, there will be 10 times as many graduates this year — or roughly one coding bootcamp graduate for every 3.5 graduates from a traditional university or college. Course Report estimates that 22,814 developers will graduate from coding bootcamps this year — an increase from 15,048 graduates last year.

 

 

 

 

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.

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian