10 really hard decisions coming our way — from gettingsmart.com by Tom Vander Ark

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Things are about to get interesting. You’ve likely heard that Google’s DeepMind recently beat the world’s best Go player. But in far more practical and pervasive ways, artificial intelligence (AI) is creeping into every aspect of life–every screen you view, every search, every purchase, and every customer service contact.

What’s happening? It’s the confluence of several technologies–Moore’s law made storage, computing, and access devices almost free.

This Venn diagram illustrates how deep learning is a subset of AI and how, when combined with big data, can inform enabling technologies in many sectors. For examples, to AI and big data add:

  • Robotics, and you have industry 4.0.
  • Cameras and sensor package, and you have self-driving cars.
  • Sensors and bioinformatic maps, and you have precision medicine.

While there is lots of good news here–diseases will be eradicated and clean energy will be produced–we have a problem: this stuff is moving faster than civic infrastructure can handle. Innovation is outpacing public policy on all fronts. The following are 10 examples of issues coming at us fast that we (in the US in particular) are not ready to deal with.

  1. Unemployment.
  2. Income inequality.
  3. Privacy
  4. Algorithmic bias.
  5. Access.
  6. Machine ethics. 
  7. Weaponization. 
  8. Humanity. 
  9. Genome editing.
  10. Bad AI.

 


From DSC:
Readers of this blog will know that I’m big on pulse-checking the pace of technological change — because it has enormous ramifications for societies throughout the globe, as well as for individuals, workforces, corporations, jobs, education, training, higher education and more. Readers of this blog will again hear me say that the pace of change has changed. We’re now on an exponential pace/trajectory (vs. a slow, steady, linear path).

“Innovation is outpacing public policy on all fronts.”

How true this is. Our society doesn’t know how to deal with this new pace of change. How shall we tackle this thorny issue?

 


 

 

 

 

From DSC:
Some of the largest waves of change that are hitting the beaches of numerous societies throughout the globe are coming from technological changes such as:

  • Artificial intelligence (which includes things like machine learning, deep learning, natural language processing, personal assistants, bots, algorithms, and the like)
  • Big data and analytics
  • Robotics
  • The digital transformation of businesses
  • New forms of human computer interaction such as virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality
  • Mobile computing
  • Cloud computing
  • The Internet of Things
  • Wearables
  • …and more

But in all of these developments, what is common amongst them is that the pace of change has changed. It’s much faster now. In fact, we are no longer on a linear path of slow, steady, incremental changes. We are now on an exponential trajectory – or pace – of change.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This new pace of change is starting to have profound implications for societies, individuals, institutions of higher education, and workforces throughout the globe. Some of these ramifications include:

  • Profound modifications to the existing workforce; in some cases, staff reductions
  • New fields, new positions
  • New skillsets that require highly-educated individuals as well as a massive amount of additional training for existing employees
  • New methods of learning and the requirement for lifelong, constant learning from here on out
  • The need to become more responsive and nimble
  • The need to pulse-check a variety of landscapes to ascertain the best potential strategies to pursue (in light of the potential upcoming scenarios)

Yet the changes aren’t just arising from technological changes. For institutions of higher education, there have been other areas of change that bring with them significant impact, such as:

  • Decreases in state funding
  • The increasing costs of healthcare and benefits for faculty, staff, and administrators
  • Headwinds from demographic-related declines (depending upon one’s geographic location)
  • Aging facilities and infrastructures
  • …and more.

Navigating these rough waters is not easy. But the key questions now are:

  • Is your institution poised to ride the waves of change or is it about to get crushed by these same waves?

 

  • Is someone at your organization looking out for these oncoming waves?
    That is, is someone pulse-checking a variety of landscapes to ascertain the trends that are developing, trends that could significantly impact your institution and/or your students?

 

  • What are some of the ways that your organization could respond to these waves of change to positively impact the following parties?
    • Your organization
      What new programs could be offered at your institution? How is the level of responsiveness at your institution to these changes?
    • Your students
      Many jobs that your students will have in their futures haven’t even been invented yet. How can you best develop them to be ready for the new, exponential pace of change? How are you helping your graduates who (increasingly) need to come back to your institution and reinvent themselves – quickly, conveniently, and cost-effectively?
    • Your employees
      Given all of this change, the professional growth of your own faculty members, staff, and members of your administration is extremely important. How are you looking after their growth?

 

  • Would you use the word “innovative” to describe the culture of your organization? That is, is your institution willing to experiment and take some calculated risks? To take no action or risks in the current environment is likely the biggest risk of all.

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I know Quentin Schultze from our years working together at Calvin College, in Grand Rapids, Michigan (USA). I have come to greatly appreciate Quin as a person of faith, as an innovative/entrepreneurial professor, as a mentor to his former students, and as an excellent communicator. 

Quin has written a very concise, wisdom-packed book that I would like to recommend to those people who are seeking to be better communicators, leaders, and servants. But I would especially like to recommend this book to the leadership at Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, Nvidia, the major companies developing robots, and other high-tech companies. Why do I list these organizations? Because given the exponential pace of technological change, these organizations — and their leaders — have an enormous responsibility to make sure that the technologies that they are developing result in positive changes for societies throughout the globe. They need wisdom, especially as they are working on emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), personal assistants and bots, algorithms, robotics, the Internet of Things, big data, blockchain and more. These technologies continue to exert an increasingly powerful influence on numerous societies throughout the globe today. And we haven’t seen anything yet! Just because we can develop and implement something, doesn’t mean that we should. Again, we need wisdom here.

But as Quin states, it’s not just about knowledge, the mind and our thoughts. It’s about our hearts as well. That is, we need leaders who care about others, who can listen well to others, who can serve others well while avoiding gimmicks, embracing diversity, building trust, fostering compromise and developing/exhibiting many of the other qualities that Quin writes about in his book. Our societies desperately need leaders who care about others and who seek to serve others well.

I highly recommend you pick up a copy of Quin’s book. There are few people who can communicate as much in as few words as Quin can. In fact, I wish that more writing on the web and more articles/research coming out of academia would be as concisely and powerfully written as Quin’s book, Communicate Like a True Leader: 30 Days of Life-Changing Wisdom.

 

 

To lead is to accept responsibility and act responsibly.
Quentin Schultze

 

 

 

Global Human Capital Report 2017 — from the World Economic Forum

Excerpt from the Conclusion section (emphasis DSC):

Technological change and its impact on labour markets calls for a renewed focus on how the world’s human capital is invested in and leveraged for social well-being and economic prosperity for all. Many of today’s education systems are already disconnected from the skills needed to function in today’s labour markets and the exponential rate of technological and economic change is further increasing the gap between education and labour markets. Furthermore, the premise of current education systems is on developing cognitive skills, yet behavioural and non-cognitive skills that nurture an individual’s capacity to collaborate, innovate, self-direct and problem-solve are increasingly important. Current education systems are also time-compressed in a way that may not be suited to current or future labour markets. They force narrow career and expertise decisions in early youth. The divide between formal education and the labour market needs to be overcome, as learning, R&D, knowledge-sharing, retraining and innovation take place simultaneously throughout the work life cycle, regardless of the job, level or industry.

 

Insert from DSC…again I ask:

Is is time to back up a major step and practice design thinking on the entire continuum of lifelong learning?”

 

Education delivery and financing mechanisms have gone through little change over the last decades. In many countries, many youth and children may find their paths constrained depending on the type of education they are able to afford, while others may not have access to even basic literacy and learning. On the other hand, many developed world education systems have made enormous increases in spending—with little explicit return. Early childhood education and teacher quality remain neglected areas in many developed and developing countries, despite their proven impact on learning outcomes. Both areas also suffer from lack of objective, global data.

Generational shifts also necessitate an urgent focus by governments on human capital investments, one that transcends political cycles. Ageing economies will face a historical first, as more and more of their populations cross into the 65 and over age group and their workforces shrink further, necessitating a better integration of youth, female workers, migrants and older workers. Many emerging economies face change of a different kind as a very large cohort of the next generation—one that is more connected and globalized than ever before—enters the workforce with very different aspirations, expectations and worldviews than their predecessors.

The expansion of the digital economy is accelerating the presence of a new kind of productive entity, somewhere between human capital and physical capital—robots and intelligent algorithms. As a result, some experts expect a potential reduction in the use of human labour as part of economic value creation while others expect a restructuring of the work done by people across economies but stable or growing overall levels of employment.19 Yet others have cautioned of the risks to economic productivity of technological reticence at the cost of realizing the raw potential of new technological advancements unfettered.20 While in the immediate term the link between work and livelihoods remains a basic feature of our societies, the uncertainty around the shifts underway poses fundamental questions about the long-term future structure of economies, societies and work. However, for broad-based transition and successful adaptation towards any one of these or other long-term futures, strategic and deep investments in human capital will be even more—not less—important than before.

 

 

 

 

In an AI-powered world, what are potential jobs of the future? — from readwrite.com

Excerpt:

With virtual assistants answering our emails and robots replacing humans on manufacturing assembly lines, mass unemployment due to widespread automation seems imminent. But it is easy to forget amid our growing unease that these systems are not “all-knowing” and fully competent.

As many of us have observed in our interactions with artificial intelligence, these systems perform repetitive, narrowly defined tasks very well but are quickly stymied when asked to go off script — often to great comical effect. As technological advances eliminate historic roles, previously unimaginable jobs will arise in the new economic reality. We combine these two ideas to map out potential new jobs that may arise in the highly automated economy of 2030.

 

 

Despite many claims to the contrary, designing a fully autonomous system is incredibly complex and remains far out of reach. For now, training a human is still much cheaper than developing robot replacement.

 

 


From DSC:


Moving forward, perhaps one of the key values/deliverables that higher education will bring to the table will be helping people decide which of the jobs out there are “safe for now and/or into the next decade” and which jobs students should steer clear of (as such positions are already disappearing or will soon be disappearing — to be replaced by robotics, algorithms, AI, and such).*

Along these lines, Tom Vander Ark’s recent posting (below) is akin to what I’m talking about:

Staying Ahead of the Robots: What Grads Should Know and Be Able To Do

Check out this excerpt from Tom’s article:

A recent Pew report on the future of jobs concluded:

Machines are eating humans’ job talents. And it’s not just about jobs that are repetitive and low-skill. Automation, robotics, algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI) in recent times have shown they can do equal or sometimes even better work than humans who are dermatologistsinsurance claims adjusterslawyersseismic testers in oil fieldssports journalists and financial reporterscrew members on guided-missile destroyershiring managerspsychological testersretail salespeople, and border patrol agents. Moreover, there is growing anxiety that technology developments on the near horizon will crush the jobs of the millions who drive cars and trucks, analyze medical tests and dataperform middle management choresdispense medicinetrade stocks and evaluate marketsfight on battlefieldsperform government functions, and even replace those who program software – that is, the creators of algorithms.

Now if only we could get our accrediting methods/agencies up to speed (i.e., to become far more responsive), this could be a very valuable service to provide for prospective students in the future.

 


 

 


 

*Addendum added on 8/24/17 — a relevant quote from Cathy Engelbert, Deloitte’s CEO, on 8/22/17

We ultimately need to help today’s workers—drivers, factory workers, and beyond—discover where demand for skills will be in five to 10 years and help them gain the necessary expertise and experience to do them well. Historically, wholesale job retraining has been challenging to scale, but the inexorable nature of this transition demands that we try to help them be productive in an even more digitized world economy. We already have a skills gap; we need to figure out how to digitize and skill those workers to match them with the demand for available jobs. There is a collective dialogue that should be engaged now so we can create meaningful, fulfilling, and productive opportunities for all.

 


 

 

 

2017 Ed Tech Trends: The Halfway Point — from campustechnology.com by Rhea Kelly
Four higher ed IT leaders weigh in on the current state of education technology and what’s ahead.

This article includes some perspectives shared from the following 4 IT leaders:

  • Susan Aldridge, Senior Vice President for Online Learning, Drexel University (PA); President, Drexel University Online
  • Daniel Christian, Adjunct Faculty Member, Calvin College
  • Marci Powell, CEO/President, Marci Powell & Associates; Chair Emerita and Past President, United States Distance Learning Association
  • Phil Ventimiglia, Chief Innovation Officer, Georgia State University

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

Robots and AI are going to make social inequality even worse, says new report — from theverge.com by
Rich people are going to find it easier to adapt to automation

Excerpt:

Most economists agree that advances in robotics and AI over the next few decades are likely to lead to significant job losses. But what’s less often considered is how these changes could also impact social mobility. A new report from UK charity Sutton Trust explains the danger, noting that unless governments take action, the next wave of automation will dramatically increase inequality within societies, further entrenching the divide between rich and poor.

The are a number of reasons for this, say the report’s authors, including the ability of richer individuals to re-train for new jobs; the rising importance of “soft skills” like communication and confidence; and the reduction in the number of jobs used as “stepping stones” into professional industries.

For example, the demand for paralegals and similar professions is likely to be reduced over the coming years as artificial intelligence is trained to handle more administrative tasks. In the UK more than 350,000 paralegals, payroll managers, and bookkeepers could lose their jobs if automated systems can do the same work.

 

Re-training for new jobs will also become a crucial skill, and it’s individuals from wealthier backgrounds that are more able to do so, says the report. This can already be seen in the disparity in terms of post-graduate education, with individuals in the UK with working class or poorer backgrounds far less likely to re-train after university.

 

 

From DSC:
I can’t emphasize this enough. There are dangerous, tumultuous times ahead if we can’t figure out ways to help ALL people within the workforce reinvent themselves quickly, cost-effectively, and conveniently. Re-skilling/up-skilling ourselves is becoming increasingly important. And I’m not just talking about highly-educated people. I’m talking about people whose jobs are going to be disappearing in the near future — especially people whose stepping stones into brighter futures are going to wake up to a very different world. A very harsh world.

That’s why I’m so passionate about helping to develop a next generation learning platform. Higher education, as an industry, has some time left to figure out their part/contribution out in this new world. But the window of time could be closing, as another window of opportunity / era could be opening up for “the next Amazon.com of higher education.”

It’s up to current, traditional institutions of higher education as to how much they want to be a part of the solution. Some of the questions each institution ought to be asking are:

  1. Given our institutions mission/vision, what landscapes should we be pulse-checking?
  2. Do we have faculty/staff/members of administration looking at those landscapes that are highly applicable to our students and to their futures? How, specifically, are the insights from those employees fed into the strategic plans of our institution?
  3. What are some possible scenarios as a result of these changing landscapes? What would our response(s) be for each scenario?
  4. Are there obstacles from us innovating and being able to respond to the shifting landscapes, especially within the workforce?
  5. How do we remove those obstacles?
  6. On a scale of 0 (we don’t innovate at all) to 10 (highly innovative), where is our culture today? Where do we hope to be 5 years from now? How do we get there?

…and there are many other questions no doubt. But I don’t think we’re looking into the future nearly enough to see the massive needs — and real issues — ahead of us.

 

 

The report, which was carried out by the Boston Consulting Group and published this Wednesday [7/12/17], looks specifically at the UK, where it says some 15 million jobs are at risk of automation. But the Sutton Trust says its findings are also relevant to other developed nations, particularly the US, where social mobility is a major problem.

 

 

 

 

Chatbot lawyer, which contested £7.2M in parking tickets, now offers legal help for 1,000+ topics — from arstechnica.co.uk by Sebastian Anthony
DoNotPay has expanded to cover the UK and all 50 US states. Free legal help for everyone!

Excerpt:

In total, DoNotPay now has over 1,000 separate chatbots that generate formal-sounding documents for a range of basic legal issues, such as seeking remuneration for a delayed flight or train, reporting discrimination, or asking for maternity leave. If you divide that by 51 (US and UK) you get a rough idea of how many different topics are covered. Each bot had to be hand-crafted by the British creator Joshua Browder, with the assistance of part-time and volunteer lawyers to ensure that the the documents are actually fit for purpose.

 

 

British student’s free robot lawyer can fight speeding tickets and rogue landlords — from telegraph.co.uk by Cara McGoogan

Excerpt:

A free “robot lawyer” that has overturned thousands of parking tickets in the UK can now fight rogue landlords, speeding tickets and harassment at work.

Joshua Browder, the 20-year-old British student who created the aide, has upgraded the robot’s abilities so it can fight legal disputes in 1,000 different areas. These include fighting landlords over security deposits and house repairs, and helping people report fraud to their credit card agency.

To get robot advice, users type their problem into the DoNotPay site and it directs them to a chat bot that can solve their particular legal issue. It can draft letters and offer advice on problems from credit card fraud to airline compensation.

 

 

Free robot lawyer helps low-income people tackle more than 1,000 legal issues — from mashable.com by Katie Dupere

Excerpt:

Shady businesses, you’re on notice. This robot lawyer is coming after you if you play dirty.

Noted legal aid chatbot DoNotPay just announced a massive expansion, which will help users tackle issues in 1,000 legal areas entirely for free. The new features, which launched on Wednesday, cover consumer and workplace rights, and will be available in all 50 states and the UK.

While the bot will still help drivers contest parking tickets and refugees apply for asylum, the service will now also help those who want to report harassment in the workplace or who simply want a refund on a busted toaster.

 

 



From DSC:
Whereas this type of bot is meant for external communications/assistance, we should also watch for Work Bots within an organization — dishing up real-time answers to questions that employees have about a variety of topics. I think that’s the next generation of technical communications, technical/help desk support, as well as training and development groups (at least some of the staff in those departments will likely be building these types of bots).



 

Addendum on 7/15/17:

LawGeex: Contract Review Automation

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The LawGeex Contract Review Automation enables anyone in your business to easily submit and receive approvals on contracts without waiting for the legal team. Our A.I. technology reads, reviews and understands your contracts, approving those that meet your legal team’s pre-defined criteria, and escalating those that don’t. Legal can maintain control and mitigate risk while giving other departments the freedom they need to get business moving.

 

 

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

 

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

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Learning from the Living [Class] Room:

A global, powerful, next generation learning platform

 

What does the vision entail?

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

“I’ve been predicting that by 2030 the largest company on the internet is going to be an education-based company that we haven’t heard of yet,” Frey, the senior futurist at the DaVinci Institute think tank, tells Business Insider.

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

Further details here >>

 

 

 



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



 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Finally…also see:

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

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
With the ever increasing usage of artificial intelligence, algorithms, robotics, and automation, people are going to need to reinvent themselves quickly, cost-effectively, and conveniently. As such, we had better begin working immediately on a next generation learning platform — before the other tidal waves start hitting the beach. “What do you mean by saying ‘other tidal waves’ — what tidal waves are you talking about anyway?” one might ask.

Well….here’s one for you:


 

 

New Report Predicts Over 100,000 Legal Jobs Will Be Lost To Automation — from futurism.com by Jelor Gallego
An extensive new analysis by Deloitte estimates that over 100,000 jobs will be lost to technological automation within the next two decades. Increasing technological advances have helped replace menial roles in the office and do repetitive tasks

 


From DSC:
I realize that not all of this is doom and gloom. There will be jobs lost and there will be jobs gained. A point also made by MIT futurists Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson in a recent podcast entitled, “
Want to stay relevant? Then listen up(in which they explain the momentous technological changes coming next–and what you can do to harness them).

But the point is that massive reinvention is going to be necessary. Traditional institutions of higher education — as well as the current methods of accreditation — are woefully inadequate to address the new, exponential pace of change.

 

 

 


 

Here’s my take on what it’s going to take to deliver constantly up-to-date streams of relevant content at an incredibly affordable price.

 


 

 

 

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