Blockchain: Letting students own their credentials — from campustechnology.com by Dian Schaffhauser
Very soon this nascent technology could securely enable registrars to help students verify credentials without the hassle of ordering copies of transcripts.

Excerpt:

While truth may seem evasive on many fronts, a joint academic and industry effort is underway to codify it for credentialing. At the core of the effort is blockchain, a trust technology developed for bitcoin and used in solving other forms of validation between individuals and organizations. Still in its nascent stage, the technology could, within just a year or two, provide the core services that would enable schools to stop acting as if they own proof of learning and help students verify their credentials as needed — without waiting on a records office to do it for them.

 

From DSC:
This article reminded me of two of the slides from my NGLS 2017 presentation back from February:

 

 

 

Also see:

 

 

Galvanize will teach students how to use IBM Watson APIs with new machine learning course — from techcrunch.com by John Mannes

Excerpt:

As part of IBM’s annual InterConnect conference in Las Vegas, the company is announcing a new machine learning course in partnership with workspace and education provider Galvanize to familiarize students with IBM’s suite of Watson APIs. These APIs simplify the process of building tools that rely on language, speech and vision analysis.

Going by the admittedly clunky name IBM Cognitive Course, the class will spend four weeks teaching the basics of machine learning and Watson’s capabilities. Students will be able to take the class directly within IBM’s Bluemix cloud platform.

 

 

 

 

Code-Dependent: Pros and Cons of the Algorithm Age — from pewinternet.org by Lee Rainie and Janna Anderson
Algorithms are aimed at optimizing everything. They can save lives, make things easier and conquer chaos. Still, experts worry they can also put too much control in the hands of corporations and governments, perpetuate bias, create filter bubbles, cut choices, creativity and serendipity, and could result in greater unemployment

Excerpt:

Algorithms are instructions for solving a problem or completing a task. Recipes are algorithms, as are math equations. Computer code is algorithmic. The internet runs on algorithms and all online searching is accomplished through them. Email knows where to go thanks to algorithms. Smartphone apps are nothing but algorithms. Computer and video games are algorithmic storytelling. Online dating and book-recommendation and travel websites would not function without algorithms. GPS mapping systems get people from point A to point B via algorithms. Artificial intelligence (AI) is naught but algorithms. The material people see on social media is brought to them by algorithms. In fact, everything people see and do on the web is a product of algorithms. Every time someone sorts a column in a spreadsheet, algorithms are at play, and most financial transactions today are accomplished by algorithms. Algorithms help gadgets respond to voice commands, recognize faces, sort photos and build and drive cars. Hacking, cyberattacks and cryptographic code-breaking exploit algorithms. Self-learning and self-programming algorithms are now emerging, so it is possible that in the future algorithms will write many if not most algorithms.

Algorithms are often elegant and incredibly useful tools used to accomplish tasks. They are mostly invisible aids, augmenting human lives in increasingly incredible ways. However, sometimes the application of algorithms created with good intentions leads to unintended consequences. Recent news items tie to these concerns…

 

The use of algorithms is spreading as massive amounts of data are being created, captured and analyzed by businesses and governments. Some are calling this the Age of Algorithms and predicting that the future of algorithms is tied to machine learning and deep learning that will get better and better at an ever-faster pace.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A world without work — by Derek Thompson; The Atlantic — from July 2015

Excerpts:

Youngstown, U.S.A.
The end of work is still just a futuristic concept for most of the United States, but it is something like a moment in history for Youngstown, Ohio, one its residents can cite with precision: September 19, 1977.

For much of the 20th century, Youngstown’s steel mills delivered such great prosperity that the city was a model of the American dream, boasting a median income and a homeownership rate that were among the nation’s highest. But as manufacturing shifted abroad after World War  II, Youngstown steel suffered, and on that gray September afternoon in 1977, Youngstown Sheet and Tube announced the shuttering of its Campbell Works mill. Within five years, the city lost 50,000 jobs and $1.3 billion in manufacturing wages. The effect was so severe that a term was coined to describe the fallout: regional depression.

Youngstown was transformed not only by an economic disruption but also by a psychological and cultural breakdown. Depression, spousal abuse, and suicide all became much more prevalent; the caseload of the area’s mental-health center tripled within a decade. The city built four prisons in the mid-1990s—a rare growth industry. One of the few downtown construction projects of that period was a museum dedicated to the defunct steel industry.

“Youngstown’s story is America’s story, because it shows that when jobs go away, the cultural cohesion of a place is destroyed”…

“The cultural breakdown matters even more than the economic breakdown.”

But even leaving aside questions of how to distribute that wealth, the widespread disappearance of work would usher in a social transformation unlike any we’ve seen.

What may be looming is something different: an era of technological unemployment, in which computer scientists and software engineers essentially invent us out of work, and the total number of jobs declines steadily and permanently.

After 300 years of people crying wolf, there are now three broad reasons to take seriously the argument that the beast is at the door: the ongoing triumph of capital over labor, the quiet demise of the working man, and the impressive dexterity of information technology.

The paradox of work is that many people hate their jobs, but they are considerably more miserable doing nothing.

Most people want to work, and are miserable when they cannot. The ills of unemployment go well beyond the loss of income; people who lose their job are more likely to suffer from mental and physical ailments. “There is a loss of status, a general malaise and demoralization, which appears somatically or psychologically or both”…

Research has shown that it is harder to recover from a long bout of joblessness than from losing a loved one or suffering a life-altering injury.

Most people do need to achieve things through, yes, work to feel a lasting sense of purpose.

When an entire area, like Youngstown, suffers from high and prolonged unemployment, problems caused by unemployment move beyond the personal sphere; widespread joblessness shatters neighborhoods and leaches away their civic spirit.

What’s more, although a universal income might replace lost wages, it would do little to preserve the social benefits of work.

“I can’t stress this enough: this isn’t just about economics; it’s psychological”…

 

 

The paradox of work is that many people hate their jobs, but they are considerably more miserable doing nothing.

 

 

From DSC:
Though I’m not saying Thompson is necessarily asserting this in his article, I don’t see a world without work as a dream. In fact, as the quote immediately before this paragraph alludes to, I think that most people would not like a life that is devoid of all work. I think work is where we can serve others, find purpose and meaning for our lives, seek to be instruments of making the world a better place, and attempt to design/create something that’s excellent.  We may miss the mark often (I know I do), but we keep trying.

 

 

 

IBM Equips Youth with Tech Career Skills in Nationwide Network of High Performing P-TECH Schools — from finance.yahoo.com

Excerpt:

BROOKLYN, N.Y., Jan. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Today, IBM announced that P-TECH, the IBM-inspired six-year education model that is leading a national wave of career-focused technical education in nearly 60 schools across six states, has already graduated more than 50 students, including a new class of 16 graduates in January. All of these graduates completed the six-year curriculum ahead of schedule, earning both their high school and two-year college tech degrees, with some finishing in as little as 3.5 years. Some of their stories can be found here.

 

Alexa, Tell Me Where You’re Going Next — from backchannel.com by Steven Levy
Amazon’s VP of Alexa talks about machine learning, chatbots, and whether industry is strip-mining AI talent from academia.

Excerpt:

Today Prasad is giving an Alexa “State of the Union” address at the Amazon Web Services conference in Las Vegas, announcing an improved version of the Alexa Skills Kit, which helps developers create the equivalent of apps for the platform; a beefed-up Alexa Voice Service, which will make it easier to transform third-party devices like refrigerators and cars into Alexa bots; a partnership with Intel; and the Alexa Accelerator that, with the startup incubator Techstars, will run a 13-week program to help newcomers build Alexa skills. Prasad and Amazon haven’t revealed sales numbers, but industry experts have estimated that Amazon has sold over five million Echo devices so far.

Prasad, who joined Amazon in 2013, spent some time with Backchannel before his talk today to illuminate the direction of Alexa and discuss how he’s recruiting for Jeff Bezos’s arsenal without drying up the AI pipeline.

 

 

What DeepMind brings to Alphabet — from economist.com
The AI firm’s main value to Alphabet is as a new kind of algorithm factory

Excerpt:

DeepMind’s horizons stretch far beyond talent capture and public attention, however. Demis Hassabis, its CEO and one of its co-founders, describes the company as a new kind of research organisation, combining the long-term outlook of academia with “the energy and focus of a technology startup”—to say nothing of Alphabet’s cash.

Were he to succeed in creating a general-purpose AI, that would obviously be enormously valuable to Alphabet. It would in effect give the firm a digital employee that could be copied over and over again in service of multiple problems. Yet DeepMind’s research agenda is not—or not yet—the same thing as a business model. And its time frames are extremely long.

 

 

Artificial Intelligence: Silicon Valley’s Next Frontier — from toptechnews.com by Ethan Baron

Excerpt:

Silicon Valley needs its next big thing, a focus for the concentrated brain power and innovation infrastructure that have made this region the world leader in transformative technology. Just as the valley’s mobile era is peaking, the next frontier of growth and innovation has arrived: It’s Siri in an Apple iPhone, Alexa in an Amazon Echo, the software brain in Google’s self-driving cars, Amazon’s product recommendations and, someday, maybe the robot surgeon that saves your life.

It’s artificial intelligence, software that can “learn” and “think,” the latest revolution in tech.

“It’s going to be embedded in everything,” said startup guru Steve Blank, an adjunct professor at Stanford. “We’ve been talking about artificial intelligence for 30 years, maybe longer, in Silicon Valley. It’s only in the last five years, or maybe even the last two years, that this stuff has become useful.”

 

 

 

What Is The Difference Between Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning? — from forbes.com by Bernard Marr

Excerpt:

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are two very hot buzzwords right now, and often seem to be used interchangeably. They are not quite the same thing, but the perception that they are can sometimes lead to some confusion. So I thought it would be worth writing a piece to explain the difference.

In short, the best answer is that:
Artificial Intelligence is the broader concept of machines being able to carry out tasks in a way that we would consider “smart”.
And,
Machine Learning is a current application of AI based around the idea that we should really just be able to give machines access to data and let them learn for themselves.

 

 

Why we are still light years away from full artificial intelligence — from techcrunch.com by Clara Lu

Excerpt:

Yet, the truth is, we are far from achieving true AI — something that is as reactive, dynamic, self-improving and powerful as human intelligence.

Full AI, or superintelligence, should possess the full range of human cognitive abilities. This includes self-awareness, sentience and consciousness, as these are all features of human cognition.

 

 

Udacity adds 14 hiring partners as AI, VR and self-driving talent wars heat up — from techcrunch.com by Darrell Etherington

Excerpt:

Udacity is positioned perfectly to benefit from the rush on talent in a number of growing areas of interest among tech companies and startups. The online education platform has added 14 new hiring partners across its Artificial Intelligence Engineer, Self-Driving Car Engineer and Virtual Reality Developer Nanodegree programs, as well as in its Predictive Analytics Nanodegree, including standouts like Bosch, Harma, Slack, Intel, Amazon Alexa and Samsung.

That brings the total number of hiring partners for Udacity to over 30, which means a lot of potential soft landings for graduates of its nanodegree programs. The nanodegree offered by Udacity is its own original form of accreditation, which is based on a truncated field of study that spans months, rather than years, and allows students to direct the pace of their own learning. It also all takes place online, so students can potentially learn from anywhere.

 

 

 

 

The Ethics of Artificial Intelligence – from livestream.com

 

 

 

 

The Great A.I. Awakening — from nytimes.com by Gideo Lewis-Kraus
How Google used artificial intelligence to transform Google Translate, one of its more popular services — and how machine learning is poised to reinvent computing itself.

Excerpt:

Google’s decision to reorganize itself around A.I. was the first major manifestation of what has become an industrywide machine-learning delirium. Over the past four years, six companies in particular — Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and the Chinese firm Baidu — have touched off an arms race for A.I. talent, particularly within universities. Corporate promises of resources and freedom have thinned out top academic departments. It has become widely known in Silicon Valley that Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive of Facebook, personally oversees, with phone calls and video-chat blandishments, his company’s overtures to the most desirable graduate students. Starting salaries of seven figures are not unheard-of. Attendance at the field’s most important academic conference has nearly quadrupled. What is at stake is not just one more piecemeal innovation but control over what very well could represent an entirely new computational platform: pervasive, ambient artificial intelligence.

 

 

 

Microsoft bets on AI — from businessinsider.com

Excerpt:

On [December 12th, 2016], Microsoft announced a new Microsoft Ventures fund dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) investments, according to TechCrunch. The fund, part of the company’s investment arm that launched in May, will back startups developing AI technology and includes Element AI, a Montreal-based incubator that helps other companies embrace AI. The fund further supports Microsoft’s focus on AI. The company has been steadily announcing major initiatives in support of the technology. For example, in September, it announced a major restructuring and formed a new group dedicated to AI products. And in mid-November, it partnered with OpenAI, an AI research nonprofit backed by Elon Musk, to further its AI research and development efforts.

 

 

The Growth of Artificial Intelligence in E-commerce — from redstagfulfillment.com by Jake Rheude

Excerpt:

Whether Artificial Intelligence (AI) is something you’ve just come across or it’s something you’ve been monitoring for a while, there’s no denying that it’s starting to influence many industries. And one place that it’s really starting to change things is e-commerce. Below you’ll find some interesting stats and facts about how AI is growing in e-commerce and how it’s changing the way we do things. From personalizing the shopping experience for customers to creating personal buying assistants, AI is something retailers can’t ignore. We’ll also take a look at some examples of how leading online stores have used AI to enrich the customer buying experience.

 

 

Will AI built by a ‘sea of dudes’ understand women? AI’s inclusivity problem — from digitaltrends.com by Dyllan Furness

Excerpt:

Only 26 percent of computer professionals were women in 2013, according to a recent review by the American Association of University Women. That figure has dropped 9 percent since 1990.

Explanations abound. Some say the industry is masculine by design. Others claim computer culture is unwelcoming — even hostile — to women. So, while STEM fields like biology, chemistry, and engineering see an increase in diversity, computing does not. Regardless, it’s a serious problem.

Artificial intelligence is still in its infancy, but it’s poised to become the most disruptive technology since the Internet. AI will be everywhere — in your phone, in your fridge, in your Ford. Intelligent algorithms already track your online activity, find your face in Facebook photos, and help you with your finances. Within the next few decades they’ll completely control your car and monitor your heart health. An AI may one day even be your favorite artist.

The programs written today will inform the systems built tomorrow. And if designers all have one worldview, we can expect equally narrow-minded machines.

 

 

 

 

New journal Science Robotics is established to chronicle the rise of the robots — from techcrunch.com by Devin Coldewey

Excerpt:

Robots have been a major focus in the technology world for decades and decades, but they and basic science, and for that matter everyday life, have largely been non-overlapping magisteria. That’s changed over the last few years, as robotics and every other field have come to inform and improve each other, and robots have begun to infiltrate and affect our lives in countless ways. So the only surprise in the news that the prestigious journal group Science has established a discrete Robotics imprint is that they didn’t do it earlier.

Editor Guang-Zhong Yang and president of the National Academy of Sciences Marcia McNutt introduce the journal:

In a mere 50 years, robots have gone from being a topic of science fiction to becoming an integral part of modern society. They now are ubiquitous on factory floors, build complex deep-sea installations, explore icy worlds beyond the reach of humans, and assist in precision surgeries… With this growth, the research community that is engaged in robotics has expanded globally. To help meet the need to communicate discoveries across all domains of robotics research, we are proud to announce that Science Robotics is open for submissions.

Today brought the inaugural issue of Science Robotics, Vol.1 Issue 1, and it’s a whopper. Despite having only a handful of articles, each is deeply interesting and shows off a different aspect of the robotics research world — though by no means do these few articles hit all the major regions of the field.

 

 

See also:

 

Excerpt:

Science Robotics has been launched to cover the most important advances in the development and application of robots, with interest in hardware and software as well as social interactions and implications.

From molecular machines to large-scale systems, from outer space to deep-sea exploration, robots have become ubiquitous, and their impact on our lives and society is growing at an accelerating pace. Science Robotics has been launched to cover the most important advances in robot design, theory, and applications. Science Robotics promotes the communication of new ideas, general principles, and original developments. Its content will reflect broad and important new applications of robots (e.g., medical, industrial, land, sea, air, space, and service) across all scales (nano to macro), including the underlying principles of robotic systems covering actuation, sensor, learning, control, and navigation. In addition to original research articles, the journal also publishes invited reviews. There are also plans to cover opinions and comments on current policy, ethical, and social issues that affect the robotics community, as well as to engage with robotics educational programs by using Science Robotics content. The goal of Science Robotics is to move the field forward and cross-fertilize different research applications and domains.

 

 

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?

 

 

 

 

IBM Launches Experimental Platform for Embedding Watson into Any Device — from finance.yahoo.com

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE: IBM) today unveiled the experimental release of Project Intu, a new, system-agnostic platform designed to enable embodied cognition. The new platform allows developers to embed Watson functions into various end-user device form factors, offering a next generation architecture for building cognitive-enabled experiences.

Project Intu, in its experimental form, is now accessible via the Watson Developer Cloud and also available on Intu Gateway and GitHub.

 

 

IBM and Topcoder Bring Watson to More than One Million Developers — from finance.yahoo.com

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — At the IBM (NYSE: IBM) Watson Developer Conference, IBM announced a partnership with Topcoder, the premier global software development community comprised of more than one million designers, developers, data scientists, and competitive programmers, to advance learning opportunities for cognitive developers who are looking to harness the power of Watson to create the next generation of artificial intelligence apps, APIs, and solutions.  This partnership also benefits businesses that gain access to an increased talent pool of developers through the Topcoder Marketplace with experience in cognitive computing and Watson.

 

 

5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Shaping the Future of E-commerce — from entrepreneur.com by Sheila Eugenio
Paradoxically for a machine, AI’s greatest strength may be in creating a more personal experience for your customer. From product personalization to virtual personal shoppers.

Excerpt:

Here are three ways AI will impact e-commerce in the coming years:

  1. Visual search.
  2. Offline to online worlds merge.
  3. Personalization.

 

 

IBM to invest $3 billion to groom Watson for the Internet of Things — from healthcareitnews.com by Bernie Monegain
As part of the project, Big Blue will spend $200 million on a global Watson IoT headquarters in Munich

 

 

 

Man living with machine: IBM’s AI-driven Watson is learning quickly, expanding to new platforms — from business.financialpost.com by Lynn Greiner

Excerpt:

Getting kids interested in STEM subjects is an ongoing challenge, and Teacher Advisor with Watson, a free tool, will help elementary school teachers match materials with student needs. In its first phase, it’s being used by 200 teachers, assisting them in creating math lessons that engage students and help them learn. The plan is to roll it out to all U.S. elementary schools by year end. As time goes on, Watson will learn from teacher feedback and improve its recommendations. There is, Rometty said, an opportunity to also build in professional development resources.

 

 

Oxford University’s lip-reading AI is more accurate than humans, but still has a way to go — from qz.com by Dave Gershgorn

Excerpt:

Even professional lip-readers can figure out only 20% to 60% of what a person is saying. Slight movements of a person’s lips at the speed of natural speech are immensely difficult to reliably understand, especially from a distance or if the lips are obscured. And lip-reading isn’t just a plot point in NCIS: It’s an essential tool to understand the world for the hearing-impaired, and if automated reliably, could help millions.

A new paper (pdf) from the University of Oxford (with funding from Alphabet’s DeepMind) details an artificial intelligence system, called LipNet, that watches video of a person speaking and matches text to the movement of their mouth with 93.4% accuracy.

 

 

A school bus, virtual reality, & an out-of-this-world journey — from goodmenproject.com
“Field Trip To Mars” is the barrier-shattering outcome of an ambitious mission to give a busload of people the same, Virtual Reality experience – going to Mars.

Excerpt:

Inspiration was Lockheed‘s goal when it asked its creative resources, led by McCann, to create the world’s first mobile group Virtual Reality experience. As one creator notes, VR now is essentially a private, isolating experience. But wouldn’t it be cool to give a busload of people the same, simultaneous VR experience? And then – just to make it really challenging – put the whole thing on wheels?

“Field Trip To Mars” is the barrier-shattering outcome of this ambitious mission.

 

From DSC:
This is incredible! Very well done. The visual experience tracks the corresponding speeds of the bus and even turns of the bus.

 

 

 

lockheed-fieldtriptomarsfall2016

 

 

Ed Dept. Launches $680,000 Augmented and Virtual Reality Challenge — from thejournal.com by David Nagel

Excerpt:

The United States Department of Education (ED) has formally kicked off a new competition designed to encourage the development of virtual and augmented reality concepts for education.

Dubbed the EdSim Challenge, the competition is aimed squarely at developing students’ career and technical skills — it’s funded through the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 — and calls on developers and ed tech organizations to develop concepts for “computer-generated virtual and augmented reality educational experiences that combine existing and future technologies with skill-building content and assessment. Collaboration is encouraged among the developer community to make aspects of simulations available through open source licenses and low-cost shareable components. ED is most interested in simulations that pair the engagement of commercial games with educational content that transfers academic, technical, and employability skills.”

 

 

 

Virtual reality boosts students’ results — from raconteur.net b
Virtual and augmented reality can enable teaching and training in situations which would otherwise be too hazardous, costly or even impossible in the real world

Excerpt:

More recently, though, the concept described in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics has been bolstered by further scientific evidence. Last year, a University of Chicago study found that students who physically experience scientific concepts, such as the angular momentum acting on a bicycle wheel spinning on an axel that they’re holding, understand them more deeply and also achieve significantly improved scores in tests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual and augmented reality are shaking up sectors — from raconteur.net by Sophie Charara
Both virtual and augmented reality have huge potential to leap from visual entertainment to transform the industrial and service sectors

 

 

 

 

Microsoft’s HoloLens could power tanks on a battlefield — from theverge.com by Tom Warren

Excerpt:

Microsoft might not have envisioned its HoloLens headset as a war helmet, but that’s not stopping Ukrainian company LimpidArmor from experimenting. Defence Blog reports that LimpidArmor has started testing military equipment that includes a helmet with Microsoft’s HoloLens headset integrated into it.

The helmet is designed for tank commanders to use alongside a Circular Review System (CRS) of cameras located on the sides of armored vehicles. Microsoft’s HoloLens gathers feeds from the cameras outside to display them in the headset as a full 360-degree view. The system even includes automatic target tracking, and the ability to highlight enemy and allied soldiers and positions.

 

 

 

Bring your VR to work — from itproportal.com by Timo Elliott, Josh Waddell 4 hours ago
With all the hype, there’s surprisingly little discussion of the latent business value which VR and AR offer.

Excerpt:

With all the hype, there’s surprisingly little discussion of the latent business value which VR and AR offer — and that’s a blind spot that companies and CIOs can’t afford to have. It hasn’t been that long since consumer demand for the iPhone and iPad forced companies, grumbling all the way, into finding business cases for them. Gartner has said that the next five to ten years will bring “transparently immersive experiences” to the workplace. They believe this will introduce “more transparency between people, businesses, and things” and help make technology “more adaptive, contextual, and fluid.”

If digitally enhanced reality generates even half as much consumer enthusiasm as smartphones and tablets, you can expect to see a new wave of consumerisation of IT as employees who have embraced VR and AR at home insist on bringing it to the workplace. This wave of consumerisation could have an even greater impact than the last one. Rather than risk being blindsided for a second time, organisations would be well advised to take a proactive approach and be ready with potential business uses for VR and AR technologies by the time they invade the enterprise.

 

In Gartner’s latest emerging technologies hype cycle, Virtual Reality is already on the Slope of Enlightenment, with Augmented Reality following closely.

 

 

 

VR’s higher-ed adoption starts with student creation — from edsurge.com by George Lorenzo

Excerpt:

One place where students are literally immersed in VR is at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). ETC offers a two-year Master of Entertainment Technology program (MET) launched in 1998 and cofounded by the late Randy Pausch, author of “The Last Lecture.”

MET starts with an intense boot camp called the “immersion semester” in which students take a Building Virtual Worlds (BVW) course, a leadership course, along with courses in improvisational acting, and visual storytelling. Pioneered by Pausch, BVW challenges students in small teams to create virtual reality worlds quickly over a period of two weeks, culminating in a presentation festival every December.

 

 

Apple patents augmented reality mapping system for iPhone — from appleinsider.com by Mikey Campbell
Apple on Tuesday was granted a patent detailing an augmented reality mapping system that harnesses iPhone hardware to overlay visual enhancements onto live video, lending credence to recent rumors suggesting the company plans to implement an iOS-based AR strategy in the near future.

 

 

A bug in the matrix: virtual reality will change our lives. But will it also harm us? — from theguardian.stfi.re
Prejudice, harassment and hate speech have crept from the real world into the digital realm. For virtual reality to succeed, it will have to tackle this from the start

 

 

 

The latest Disney Research innovation lets you feel the rain in virtual reality — from haptic.al by Deniz Ergurel

Excerpt:

Virtual reality is a combination of life-like images, effects and sounds that creates an imaginary world in front of our eyes.

But what if we could also imitate more complex sensations like the feeling of falling rain, a beating heart or a cat walking? What if we could distinguish, between a light sprinkle and a heavy downpour in a virtual experience?

Disney Research?—?a network of research laboratories supporting The Walt Disney Company, has announced the development of a 360-degree virtual reality application offering a library of feel effects and full body sensations.

 

 

Relive unforgettable moments in history through Timelooper APP. | Virtual reality on your smartphone.

 

timelooper-nov2016

 

 

Literature class meets virtual reality — from blog.cospaces.io by Susanne Krause
Not every student finds it easy to let a novel come to life in their imagination. Could virtual reality help? Tiffany Capers gave it a try: She let her 7th graders build settings from Lois Lowry’s “The Giver” with CoSpaces and explore them in virtual reality. And: they loved it.

 

 

 

 

learningvocabinvr-nov2016

 

 

 

James Bay students learn Cree syllabics in virtual reality — from cbc.ca by Celina Wapachee and Jaime Little
New program teaches syllabics inside immersive world, with friendly dogs and archery

 

 

 

VRMark will tell you if your PC is ready for Virtual Reality — from engadget.com by Sean Buckley
Benchmark before you buy.

 

 

Forbidden City Brings Archaeology to Life With Virtual Reality — from wsj.com

 

 

holo.study

hololensdemos-nov2016

 

 

Will virtual reality change the way I see history? — from bbc.co.uk

 

 

 

Scientists can now explore cells in virtual reality — from mashable.com by Ariel Bogle

Excerpt:

After generations of peering into a microscope to examine cells, scientists could simply stroll straight through one.

Calling his project the “stuff of science fiction,” director of the 3D Visualisation Aesthetics Lab at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) John McGhee is letting people come face-to-face with a breast cancer cell.

 

 

 

 

Can Virtual Reality Make Us Care More? — from huffingtonpost.co.uk by Alex Handy

Excerpt:

In contrast, VR has been described as the “ultimate empathy machine.” It gives us a way to virtually put us in someone else’s shoes and experience the world the way they do.

 

 

 

Stanford researchers release virtual reality simulation that transports users to ocean of the future — from news.stanford.edu by Rob Jordan
Free science education software, available to anyone with virtual reality gear, holds promise for spreading awareness and inspiring action on the pressing issue of ocean acidification.

 

 

 

 

The High-end VR Room of the Future Looks Like This — from uploadvr.com by Sarah Downey

Excerpt:

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list, but if I missed something major, please tell me and I’ll add it. Also, please reach out if you’re working on anything cool in this space à sarah(at)accomplice(dot)co.

Hand and finger tracking, gesture interfaces, and grip simulation:

AR and VR viewers:

Omnidirectional treadmills:

Haptic feedback bodysuits:

Brain-computer interfaces:

Neural plugins:

  • The Matrix (film)
  • Sword Art Online (TV show)
  • Neuromancer (novel)
  • Total Recall (film)
  • Avatar (film)

3D tracking, capture, and/or rendering:

Eye tracking:

 VR audio:

Scent creation:

 

 

 
© 2016 Learning Ecosystems