My thanks to a friend for causing me to further reflect on this article: “Can computers ever replace the classroom?” [Beard]


From DSC:
I’d like to thank Mr. Eric Osterberg — a fraternity brother and friend of mine — for sending me the following article. I wrote back to him. After thanking Eric for the article, I said:

Such an article makes me reflect on things — which is always a good thing for me to try to see my blindspots and/or to think about the good and bad of things. Technologies are becoming more powerful and integrated into our lives — for better at times and for worse at other times.

I’m wondering how the legal realm can assist and/or help create a positive future for societies throughout the globe…any thoughts?


Can computers ever replace the classroom? — from theguardian.com by Alex Beard
With 850 million children worldwide shut out of schools, tech evangelists claim now is the time for AI education. But as the technology’s power grows, so too do the dangers that come with it. 

Excerpts:

But it’s in China, where President Xi Jinping has called for the nation to lead the world in AI innovation by 2030, that the fastest progress is being made. In 2018 alone, Li told me, 60 new AI companies entered China’s private education market. Squirrel AI is part of this new generation of education start-ups. The company has already enrolled 2 million student users, opened 2,600 learning centres in 700 cities across China, and raised $150m from investors.

The supposed AI education revolution is not here yet, and it is likely that the majority of projects will collapse under the weight of their own hype.

The point, in short, is that AI doesn’t have to match the general intelligence of humans to be useful – or indeed powerful. This is both the promise of AI, and the danger it poses.

It was a reminder that Squirrel AI’s platform, like those of its competitors worldwide, doesn’t have to be better than the best human teachers – to improve people’s lives, it just needs to be good enough, at the right price, to supplement what we’ve got. The problem is that it is hard to see technology companies stopping there. For better and worse, their ambitions are bigger. “We could make a lot of geniuses,” Li told me.

 

Guides to help kids learn coding — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Below is a collection of some of the best books to help your kids learn coding. Kids will get to learn the basics of computer coding through a wide variety of interactive visuals, engaging games and project-based  activities. They will also get to experiment with different softwares and programming languages such as Python, Java, Scratch and many more. Links to the books are under the visual.

From DSC:
I don’t subscribe to the idea/expectation that every student should become a programmer and have extensive exposure to it. Why? Because:

  1. It’s been my experience that programming requires a different kind of passion, a different way of thinking and processing information, a different way of problem-solving, a different disposition/makeup that many people (including myself) don’t have. This is one of the reasons why coders are often in such demand and are often paid so much — because the vast majority of people don’t want to do it (at least as programming exists today).
  2. I’d like to see our students enjoy their learning. In fact, I’d like to see more emphasis on students enjoying their learning, and far less on grades. Given the new reality of lifelong learning, folks’ quality of life would increase if that were the case. To expect everyone to be able to code applications of some significance is an entirely different matter.

All that said, I do think it’s helpful for students to at least have some exposure to how to program — a basic understanding of coding and what are some of the things that are involved in that space. To have an appreciation of the process, some basic syntax, what’s possible, etc. would be helpful. 

Introduction to programming classes should explain why programming is relevant, list some of the various languages out there, list some different kinds of applications that we use today, and provide some basic elements of programming. Perhaps students could create some very basic, fun things. This could wet some students’ whistles big-time, while helping other students come to the conclusion of, “Well, I tried it, but I don’t want to do this for a living.”

 

IT career goals 2020: Most-wanted technology and core skills — from enterprisersproject.com by Carla Rudder |
What are the top technology and core skills IT professionals should explore now to advance their careers in the years ahead? Recruiters and tech execs speak

Excerpt:

If you are in IT, it’s wise to check in regularly on career progress – because staying still for too long could quickly lead to falling behind.

“You should be constantly evaluating whether you have the necessary skills to remain relevant and get ahead, and whether your career progression is aligning with your own goals and aspirations,” says Jim Johnson, senior vice president of Robert Half Technology.

If you are in IT, it’s wise to check in regularly on career progress – because staying still for too long could quickly lead to falling behind.

From DSC:
Especially for students/grads pursuing a tech-related career: Be sure you know what you’re getting into. Developing and enhancing your learning ecosystems are key things to do — throughout your career! #LifelongLearning.

 

Deloitte Legal to work with academic tech venture group — from artificiallawyer.com

Excerpt:

Deloitte Legal is to collaborate with Conception X, a nine-month programme designed to train PhD students in technology entrepreneurship and to support them in building ventures based on their original research during their degree.

Conception X accepts applications across several research areas including artificial intelligence, machine learning, genetic engineering, blockchain and quantum computing. The first two cohorts, prior to the link-up with Deloitte, have seen the start-ups incorporated by PhD teams collectively raising a total of £5m and generating revenues of £2m.

 

 

The 5 top tech skills companies want in new hires right now — from fortune.com by Anne Fisher; with thanks to Ryan Craig for his relaying this resource

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Tim Tully agrees. Chief technology officer at data giant Splunk—whose clients number 92 of the Fortune 100—Tully says that the most important trait IT job candidates need now is “a strong desire to learn.” It might be too broad of a requirement, but consider Tully’s own list of the five most essential tech skills now:

1. Real-time data management
2. Design thinking
3. App development
4. A.I. and machine learning
5. A composite of the first four skills

From DSC:
I’m especially posting this for students who are considering a tech-related career. If that’s you, Tim’s words ring true — you must have a strong desire to learn. And I would add, to keep learning and to keep learning and to keep learning…

If you are in IT, it’s wise to check in regularly on career progress – because staying still for too long could quickly lead to falling behind. (source)

Also, given the pace of change and today’s current marketplace, you need to be ready to be let go and take a right turn (i.e., be flexible and adaptable). You need to have a healthy learning ecosystem built up and maintained — one that will support you over the long haul.  Heutagogy comes into play here. And at least for me, prayer helps greatly here too — as one can easily put one’s eggs into the wrong basket(s) when we’re talking about tech-related jobs.

And for you applying for jobs, don’t get discouraged by those organizations/people who are looking for those “purple unicorns” that Ryan Craig talks about in his Gap Letter Volume II, #4 (i.e., the perfect candidate who meets a ridiculously long list of requirements for the job).

 


Also see:


Below is a relevant excerpt from that report:

 

From DSC:
This type of thing will be constantly running on a next-generation learning platform — i.e., scanning open job descriptions and presenting the top/”hottest” occupations/skills/employers — but then offering the relevant courses, modules, webinars, local learning hubs, discussion forums, etc. that will teach you the necessary skills (similar to what justwatch.com or suppose.tv provides for the entertainment industry).

 

 

 

How Blockchain’s ‘paradigm shift’ puts more pressure on legal’s tech evolution — from law.com by Rhys Dipshan
As part of the Legalweek 2020 Q&A series, Legaltech News speaks with blockchain researcher and entrepreneur Bettina Warburg on blockchain’s potential disruption in the legal space, what attorneys most misunderstand about the technology, and more.

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence may still take up much of spotlight these days, but it’s far from the only technology that can fundamentally alter how the legal industry, and the broader economy, operates.

Blockchain technology, for instance, has wide-reaching consequences for record keeping, contracting, data governance and identity management. And beyond that, it may even change how the digital economy functions and work as underlying driver for integrated, autonomously running machines. What all this means for attorneys is that specialization, technical skills, and more technology knowledge will likely become even more important than it is today.

We are not just in the days of Bitcoin, where one user transfers bitcoin to another user’s account. Instead, blockchain should be understood as part of an evolution toward a third generation Web (called Web3) that provides us with virtual machines that are stateful.

Web3 will be the basis of our transition from a digital economy to a decentralized economy. The economic opportunities of the decentralized economy can include wholly new business models: everything from fractionalized ownership and rights to assets that are secured digitally, to new kinds of verifiable and unique assets (such as virtual world avatars), to the ability for machines to transact with one another autonomously. A stateful virtual machine essentially allows us to have a shared verified reality upon which to transact digitally.

While it may sound futuristic, it is also the most obvious use for a digital infrastructure that can verify the transaction of value.

 

Things I Learned at Project Voice — from thejournal.com by Bradley Metrock, who produces the Project Voice conference, hosts This Week in Voice
Could 2020 be the year of the voice? These voice experts think so.

Excerpt:

Voice experience of the year for education, with these finalists:

Highlights took this category.

And voice developer of the year, with these finalists:

Bamboo Learning won this award.

Also see:

  • 12 Education Predictions for 2020 — by Dian Schaffhauser
    The learning and innovation in education never stops. Here’s what 12 education technology experts and observers expect for the new year in K-12.
 

From DSC:
I’ll say it again, just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

From the article below…we can see another unintended consequence is developing on society’s landscapes. I really wish the 20 and 30 somethings that are being hired by the big tech companies — especially at Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, and Microsoft — who are developing these things would ask themselves:

  • “Just because we can develop this system/software/application/etc., SHOULD we be developing it?”
  • What might the negative consequences be? 
  • Do the positive contributions outweigh the negative impacts…or not?

To colleges professors and teachers:
Please pass these thoughts onto your students now, so that this internal questioning/conversations begin to take place in K-16.


Report: Colleges Must Teach ‘Algorithm Literacy’ to Help Students Navigate Internet — from edsurge.com by Rebecca Koenig

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

If the Ancient Mariner were sailing on the internet’s open seas, he might conclude there’s information everywhere, but nary a drop to drink.

That’s how many college students feel, anyway. A new report published this week about undergraduates’ impressions of internet algorithms reveals students are skeptical of and unnerved by tools that track their digital travels and serve them personalized content like advertisements and social media posts.

And some students feel like they’ve largely been left to navigate the internet’s murky waters alone, without adequate guidance from teachers and professors.

Researchers set out to learn “how aware students are about their information being manipulated, gathered and interacted with,” said Alison Head, founder and director of Project Information Literacy, in an interview with EdSurge. “Where does that awareness drop off?”

They found that many students not only have personal concerns about how algorithms compromise their own data privacy but also recognize the broader, possibly negative implications of tools that segment and customize search results and news feeds.

 

Excerpt from Higher Education Predictions for 2020: Recession, Certificates, and Computer Science by Richard Garrett

Coding bootcamps, the educational innovation that arose over the past decade to tackle an acute supply-demand crunch in computer science, had a stellar year in 2019. Dismissed as a fad by some, in 2019, bootcamps graduated 23,000 people, up 49% in one year (37% on a same-school basis).


But short of an unprecedented surge in domestic master’s degrees awarded in 2019, that year will mark the turning point when bootcamps—dominated by U.S. students— unequivocally passed master’s degrees.

An intriguing question is: what impact does a university’s own bootcamp have on domestic enrollment in its computer science master’s program: complementary or competitive? That will have to wait for another Wake-Up Call.

 

Web Technologies of the Year 2019 — from w3techs.com

Excerpts:
These are the technologies that gained most sites in 2019 in areas such as:

  • Content Management System of the Year 2019
  • Server-side Programming Language of the Year 2019
  • JavaScript Library of the Year 2019
  • Web Server of the Year 2019
  • Operating System of the Year 2019
  • Traffic Analysis Tool of the Year 2019
  • …and several more categories
 

7 Artificial Intelligence Trends to Watch in 2020 — from interestingengineering.com by Christopher McFadden

Excerpts:

Per this article, the following trends were listed:

  1. Computer Graphics will greatly benefit from AI
  2. Deepfakes will only get better, er, worse
  3. Predictive text should get better and better
  4. Ethics will become more important as time goes by
  5. Quantum computing will supercharge AI
  6. Facial recognition will appear in more places
  7. AI will help in the optimization of production pipelines

Also, this article listed several more trends:

According to sources like The Next Web, some of the main AI trends for 2020 include:

  • The use of AI to make healthcare more accurate and less costly
  • Greater attention paid to explainability and trust
  • AI becoming less data-hungry
  • Improved accuracy and efficiency of neural networks
  • Automated AI development
  • Expanded use of AI in manufacturing
  • Geopolitical implications for the uses of AI

Artificial Intelligence offers great potential and great risks for humans in the future. While still in its infancy, it is already being employed in some interesting ways.

According to sources like Forbes, some of the next “big things” in technology include, but are not limited to:

  • Blockchain
  • Blockchain As A Service
  • AI-Led Automation
  • Machine Learning
  • Enterprise Content Management
  • AI For The Back Office
  • Quantum Computing AI Applications
  • Mainstreamed IoT

Also see:

Artificial intelligence predictions for 2020: 16 experts have their say — from verdict.co.uk by Ellen Daniel

Excerpts:

  • Organisations will build in processes and policies to prevent and address potential biases in AI
  • Deepfakes will become a serious threat to corporations
  • Candidate (and employee) care in the world of artificial intelligence
  • AI will augment humans, not replace them
  • Greater demand for AI understanding
  • Ramp up in autonomous vehicles
  • To fully take advantage of AI technologies, you’ll need to retrain your entire organisation
  • Voice technologies will infiltrate the office
  • IT will run itself while data acquires its own DNA
  • The ethics of AI
  • Health data and AI
  • AI to become an intrinsic part of robotic process automation (RPA)
  • BERT will open up a whole new world of deep learning use cases

The hottest trend in the industry right now is in Natural Language Processing (NLP). Over the past year, a new method called BERT (Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers) has been developed for designing neural networks that work with text. Now, we suddenly have models that will understand the semantic meaning of what’s in text, going beyond the basics. This creates a lot more opportunity for deep learning to be used more widely.

 

 

With thanks to Mr. Joe Byerwalter for this resource.

 

The following information is from Rebecca West, Founder and CEO, Helium Communications

Make School is working to level the playing field for underrepresented groups in tech.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, scarcity of technology talent is an acute point of pain for many organizations. The SF Bay Area has experienced a remarkable 90% growth in tech employment and a 36.5% expansion in STEM jobs in the past decade. California’s tech workforce grew by more than 51,500 jobs in 2018, with well over half of them in the Bay Area. In the current business climate, the biggest barrier to growth for many organizations is their inability to find qualified job candidates, particularly in technical fields such as coding and computer science.

Ironically, many students graduating from US colleges and universities are still having trouble finding work because they don’t possess the skills required in the actual workplace.  According to the most recent Global Information Workforce Study, the skills gap is only going to become more pronounced in coming years, with as many as 1.8 million IT jobs that could be left unfilled by 2022, a 20 percent bump from what the same study revealed two years earlier.

Make School is a college in San Francisco that’s working to level the playing field for underrepresented groups in tech. Make School is changing the higher education landscape with a unique model of deferred tuition that makes it possible for computer science students to gain the skills they need in order to find employment in the technology market without saddling themselves with huge amounts of debt.

Make School serves high school students entering college and transfer students (either from community colleges or from other four-year institutions). Accessibility to diverse populations is a key component of their offering. Make School offers a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Computer Science, teaching students to design, program, and launch software products while providing a foundation of liberal arts to ensure a lasting career. Students who graduate from Make School do not pay tuition until they have secured employment and are earning an annual salary of at least $60K.

With four years of positive student outcomes comparable to schools like Stanford and MIT, Make School has demonstrated the success of its model. Alumni currently work at companies including Facebook, Google, Apple, Zendesk, Y Combinator startups, and other leading technology innovators.

Fall and Spring semester tuition is $15,000. Summer semester tuition is $10,000. Total tuition for the bachelor’s program is $70,000.

 

From DSC:
I’d like to see the tuition come down for this school — especially as they are marketing themselves as a school that aims to help underrepresented groups in tech. Perhaps they’ll need to develop some satellite branches/campuses outside the San Francisco area in order to make that tuition reduction happen. As it stands, this is not much of a discount. That said, I do appreciate that they are trying to address the gorillas of debt on our graduates’ backs. Plus they are pursuing new business models, alternatives to the status quo, and are making efforts to address some of the numerous gaps in our society.

 

Artificial Intelligence has a gender problem — why it matters for everyone — from nbcnews.com by Halley Bondy
To fight the rise of bias in AI, more representation is critical in the computing workforce, where only 26 percent of workers are women, 3 percent are African-American women, and 2 percent are Latinx.

Excerpt:

More women and minorities must work in tech, or else they risk being left behind in every industry.

This grim future was painted by Artificial Intelligence (AI) equality experts who spoke at a conference Thursday hosted by LivePerson, an AI company that connects brands and consumers.

In that future, if AI goes unchecked, workplaces will be completely homogenous, hiring only white, nondisabled men.

Guest speaker Cathy O’Neil, who authored “Weapons of Math Destruction,” explained how hiring bias works with AI: company algorithms are created by (mostly white male) data scientists, and they are based on the company’s historic wins. If a CEO is specifically looking for hirees who won’t leave the company after a year, for example, he might turn to AI to look for candidates based on his company’s retention rates. Chances are, most of his company’s historic wins only include white men, said O’Neil.

 

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