Europe divided over robot ‘personhood’ — from politico.eu by Janosch Delcker

Excerpt:

BERLIN — Think lawsuits involving humans are tricky? Try taking an intelligent robot to court.

While autonomous robots with humanlike, all-encompassing capabilities are still decades away, European lawmakers, legal experts and manufacturers are already locked in a high-stakes debate about their legal status: whether it’s these machines or human beings who should bear ultimate responsibility for their actions.

The battle goes back to a paragraph of text, buried deep in a European Parliament report from early 2017, which suggests that self-learning robots could be granted “electronic personalities.” Such a status could allow robots to be insured individually and be held liable for damages if they go rogue and start hurting people or damaging property.

Those pushing for such a legal change, including some manufacturers and their affiliates, say the proposal is common sense. Legal personhood would not make robots virtual people who can get married and benefit from human rights, they say; it would merely put them on par with corporations, which already have status as “legal persons,” and are treated as such by courts around the world.

 

 

Microsoft Education unveils new Windows 10 devices starting at $189, Office 365 tools for personalized learning, and curricula to ignite a passion for STEM — from blogs.windows.com by Yusuf Mehdi

Excerpt:

This week at Bett, we’ll show new Windows 10 and Windows 10 S devices from Lenovo and JP, starting at just $189, providing more options for schools who don’t want to compromise on Chromebooks. We’ll add new capabilities to our free Office 365 for Education software, enabling any student to write a paper using only their voice and making it easier to access Teams via mobile devices. And we’re making STEM learning fun with a new Chemistry update to Minecraft: Education Edition and new mixed reality and video curricula from partners like BBC Worldwide Learning, LEGO®* Education, PBS, NASA, and Pearson.

 

 

 


Starting in February, we will introduce dictation in Office 365
to help students write more easily by using their voice.

 

 

In regards to mixed reality for immersive learning:

  • Pearson – the world’s largest education company – will begin rolling out in March curriculum that will work on both HoloLens and Windows Mixed Reality immersive VR headsets. These six new applications will deliver seamless experiences across devices and further illustrate the value of immersive educational experiences.
  • We are expanding our mixed media reality curriculum offerings through a new partnership with WGBH’s Bringing the Universe to America’s Classrooms project****, for distribution nationally on PBS LearningMedia™. This effort brings cutting-edge Earth and Space Science content into classrooms through digital learning resources that increase student engagement with science phenomena and practices.
  • To keep up with growing demand for HoloLens in the classroom we are committed to providing affordable solutions. Starting on January 22, we are making available a limited-time academic pricing offer for HoloLens. To take advantage of the limited-time academic pricing offer, please visit, hololens.com/edupromo.

 

 

 
 

Expert Dive: Active Learning in STEM Courses — from teachinginhighered.com by Bonni Stachowiak

 

 


As part of ACUE’s Expert Dive series and collaboration with the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, Paul Blowers sat down with TiHE’s Bonni Stachowiak to discuss the active learning strategies—and practices to increase student persistence—he uses in his chemical engineering courses at the University of Arizona. One of his practices includes showing students the first exam on which he received a failing grade, explaining the steps he took to master the subject to illustrate how failure can lead to success and mastery of the material.

Listen to Paul share the active learning practices that are the cornerstone of his teaching on the Teaching in Higher Ed podcast, and read Paul’s post, Three Misconceptions About Using Active Learning in STEM, on The Q Blog.

 


 

Also see:

Top 10 Recommended Podcasts
If you’re new to the TiHE podcast, check out our top 10 recommended episodes with a number of experts whose work is explored in detail in ACUE’s Course in Effective Teaching Practices.

1. Teaching Lessons from the Road with Penny MacCormack, ACUE

2. Motivating Students in Large Classes with Brenda Gunderson, a senior lecturer at the University of Michigan, whose practices to engage and motivate students are featured in multiple ACUE modules, such as Using Active Learning Techniques in Large Classes, and on ACUE’s community site, where you can see exclusive footage of Dr. Gunderson doing a cartwheel during class

3. Teaching Naked Techniques with José Bowen, president of Goucher College; ACUE subject matter expert for the modules Engaging Underprepared Students, Embracing Diversity in Your Classroom, and Using Student Achievement and Feedback to Improve Your Teaching; and an ACUE community site contributor

4. Teach Students How to Learn with Saundra McGuire, author of Teach Students How to Learn, who shares strategies in ACUE’s course for supporting unprepared students

5. Engage the Heart and Mind Through the Connected Classroom with Ken Bauer from the Tecnológico de Monterrey

6. Radical Hope – A Teaching Manifesto with Kevin Gannon, regular contributor to the Teaching United States History blog

7. Engaging Learners with TEDx Speaker and Professor of English Gardner Campbell

8. Small Teaching with James Lang, author of Small Teaching

9. The Skillful Teacher with our friend Stephen Brookfield, featured in numerous ACUE modules, including Planning an Effective Class Session, Delivering an Effective Lecture, and Developing Self-Directed Learners, and on the community with advice on teaching from the back row

10. Flipped Out with Derek Bruff, who discusses using concept maps and other visualization tools in ACUE’s course

 

 

Chris Lenihan from DiscoverDataScience.org emailed me to let me know about a recently published guide on their site that’s entitled, “A Guide for Women in STEM”. Discover Data Science partnered with Heather Ambler from the University of Pittsburgh and Aiden Ford from the University of Connecticut to help produce this guide. Per Chris, the guide covers :

  • An overview of the challenges women can face in STEM fields
  • Outlines reasons women should pursue a STEM related career
  • Provides tips on how to encourage girls at an early age to follow their passion
  • Gives the reader extensive links to pre-college programs available for women, followed by a listing of over 30 scholarship options available to women pursuing STEM related degrees

Chris mentioned that both current and aspiring students can benefit from this information as they look for inspiration in their careers. Their mission is to serve students by delivering accurate, high quality information presented in a simple, clean format and they hope that this guide achieves that.

Check it out. >>


Here’s a sample excerpt from that guide:



Pre-College Programs for Women in STEM

CURIE Academy is a one-week summer residential program for high school girls who excel in math and science. The focus is on juniors and seniors who may not have had prior opportunities to explore engineering, but want to learn more about the many opportunities in engineering in an interactive atmosphere.

G.R.A.D.E. CAMP is a week-long day program designed specifically for entering 8th to 12th grade girls who want to find out what engineering is all about through “hands-on” experience. G.R.A.D.E. CAMP emphasizes career exposure rather than career choice, so you can come just to experience something new.

Girlgeneering’s goal of a girls-only camp is to increase the interest of high ability young women in a career in engineering by combating stereotypes, creating connections, reducing the issue of competition for resources with boys, and demonstrating the real-world social impact of engineering. This one-week day camp will introduce middle school young women to the field of engineering by showing how engineering is connected to personal issues, social concerns, and community interests.

It’s a Girl Thing is a residential camp for girls. The goals are to provide girls with strong role models and dispel myths and misconceptions about science and careers in science. Campers experience university life, hands-on classes and recreational activities. In the past we have offered classes ranging from Nano Energy to Animal Science.

Smith Summer Science and Engineering Program (SSEP) is a four-week residential program for exceptional young women with strong interests in science, engineering and medicine. Each July, select high school students from across the country and abroad come to Smith College to do hands-on research with Smith faculty in the life and physical sciences and in engineering.

Survey the World of Engineering – is a one-week day camp that will allow you to develop your creativity as well as provide you with the opportunity to meet and speak with working engineers. For part of the camp, you will work on campus with different engineering departments, learning and completing hands-on projects to better understand the breadth and variety of different engineering fields. For the remainder of the camp, you will visit various corporate engineering plants such as General Electric, Procter & Gamble, and Northrop Grumman Xetron to meet professional engineers and see their work in action.

 



Addendums on 10/26

 


 

 

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

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

Excerpt:

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

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

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

 

Autonomous' SmartDesk 3 in white

 

 

 

 

 

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

Excerpt:

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

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

 

 

 

 

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

Excerpts:

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

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

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

 

 

 

 



 

Addendum on 9/25/17:

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

Excerpt:

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

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

 



 

 

 

 

 

AR and VR in STEM: The New Frontiers in Science  — from er.educause.edu by Emory Craig and Maya Georgieva

Excerpt:

Virtual and Augmented Reality are poised to profoundly transform the STEM curriculum. In this article, we offer several inspiring examples and key insights on the future of immersive learning and the sciences. Immersive technologies will revolutionize learning through experiential simulations, modelling and spatial representation of data, and a sense of presence in contextual gamification.

Understanding our place in the universe, building the next Martian Rover, designing new transportation systems, fostering sustainable communities, modeling economic stability — finding the solution for these pressing and interconnected challenges brings us to STEM and STEAM in teaching and learning. The movement behind STEAM advocates incorporating the arts and humanities to the science, technology, engineering and math curriculum.

 

 

Also see:

 

 

 

EdTech magazine covers the latest news and discussions, live from ISTE 2017 in San Antonio, Texas.

 

 

 

ISTE 2017: 6 New Products Unveiled on the Show Floor — from edtechmagazine.com by Jena Passut
New offerings from big tech companies highlight this year’s megaconference in San Antonio.

Excerpt:

With more than 18,000 attendees and plenty of press coverage, the annual ISTE’s 2017 Conference & Expo has become a prime place for vendors to launch new products and announce updates. This year is no different. Check out some of the latest offerings announced at the 2017 event, and then head over to EdTech’s coverage page to read and see more news from ISTE.

 

 



Also see:



 

 

 

Summer 2017 Human++ — fromcambridge.nuvustudio.com
Human-Machine Intelligence, Hacking Drones, Bio Fashion, Augmented Video Games, Aerial Filmmaking, Smart Tools, Soft Robotics and more!

Excerpt:

NuVu is a place where young students grow their spirit of innovation. They use their curiosity and creativity to explore new ideas, and make their concepts come to life through our design process. Our model is based on the architecture studio model, and every Summer we use imaginative themes to frame two-week long Studios in which students dive into hands-on design, engineering, science, technology, art and more!

 

 

Highlights from the 2016 Flipped Classroom Conference — from Harvey Mudd Colleg, with a special thanks to Calvin College Engineering Professor Jeremy VanAntwerp for this resource

 

 

 

 

Optimizing the Flipped STEM Class:  Higher Ed Tools, Contexts, and Assessments
This one-time conference for faculty in the STEM disciplines at 2- and 4-year higher education institutions focused on tools, contexts, and assessments relating to flipped classrooms. What techniques, strategies, and tools use flipped classroom pedagogy to improve student learning outcomes? What does the research say about the different contexts and environments in which flipped instruction will lead to optimal results? How do we measure whether our efforts are producing the best student learning? The conference was designed for those who are new to flipped classrooms and to those who are current practitioners and want to improve outcomes. Participate had plenty of opportunities to share with each other in a small conference setting.

The conference took place from January 11 to 12 at Harvey Mudd College in Claremont, CA. Limited funding for travel and lodging for U.S. residents was available. This conference was generously funded by the National Science Foundation (DUE 1244786) and Harvey Mudd College.

 

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