VR Is the Fastest-Growing Skill for Online Freelancers — from bloomberg.com by Isabel Gottlieb
Workers who specialize in artificial intelligence also saw big jumps in demand for their expertise.

Excerpt:

Overall, tech-related skills accounted for nearly two-thirds of Upwork’s list of the 20 fastest-growing skills.

 


 

 


Also see:


How to Prepare Preschoolers for an Automated Economy — from nytimes.com by Claire Miller and Jess Bidgood

Excerpt

MEDFORD, Mass. — Amory Kahan, 7, wanted to know when it would be snack time. Harvey Borisy, 5, complained about a scrape on his elbow. And Declan Lewis, 8, was wondering why the two-wheeled wooden robot he was programming to do the Hokey Pokey wasn’t working. He sighed, “Forward, backward, and it stops.”

Declan tried it again, and this time the robot shook back and forth on the gray rug. “It did it!” he cried. Amanda Sullivan, a camp coordinator and a postdoctoral researcher in early childhood technology, smiled. “They’ve been debugging their Hokey Pokeys,” she said.

The children, at a summer camp last month run by the Developmental Technologies Research Group at Tufts University, were learning typical kid skills: building with blocks, taking turns, persevering through frustration. They were also, researchers say, learning the skills necessary to succeed in an automated economy.

Technological advances have rendered an increasing number of jobs obsolete in the last decade, and researchers say parts of most jobs will eventually be automated. What the labor market will look like when today’s young children are old enough to work is perhaps harder to predict than at any time in recent history. Jobs are likely to be very different, but we don’t know which will still exist, which will be done by machines and which new ones will be created.

 

 

 

155 chatbots in this brand new landscape. Where does your bot fit? — from venturebeat.com by Carylyne Chan

Excerpt:

Since we started building bots at KeyReply more than two years ago, the industry has seen massive interest and change. This makes it hard for companies and customers to figure out what’s really happening — so we hope to throw some light on this industry by creating a landscape of chatbot-related businesses. There’s no way to put everyone into this landscape, so we have selected examples that give readers an overview of the industry, such as notable or dominant providers and tools widely used to develop bots.

To put everything into a coherent structure, we arranged companies along the axes according to the functions of their bots and how they built them.

On the horizontal axis, the “marketing” function refers to a bot’s ability to drive exposure, reach, and interaction with the brand or product for potential and current customers. The “support” function refers to a bot’s ability to assist current customers with problems and to resolve those problems for them.

On the vertical axis, “managed” refers to companies outsourcing the development of bots to external vendors, whereas “self-serve” refers to them building their bots in-house or with an off-the-shelf tool.

 

 

 

 

 

How SLAM technology is redrawing augmented reality’s battle lines — from venturebeat.com by Mojtaba Tabatabaie

 

 

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

In early June, Apple introduced its first attempt to enter AR/VR space with ARKit. What makes ARKit stand out for Apple is a technology called SLAM (Simultaneous Localization And Mapping). Every tech giant — especially Apple, Google, and Facebook — is investing heavily in SLAM technology and whichever takes best advantage of SLAM tech will likely end up on top.

SLAM is a technology used in computer vision technologies which gets the visual data from the physical world in shape of points to make an understanding for the machine. SLAM makes it possible for machines to “have an eye and understand” what’s around them through visual input. What the machine sees with SLAM technology from a simple scene looks like the photo above, for example.

Using these points machines can have an understanding of their surroundings. Using this data also helps AR developers like myself to create much more interactive and realistic experiences. This understanding can be used in different scenarios like robotics, self-driving cars, AI and of course augmented reality.

The simplest form of understanding from this technology is recognizing walls and barriers and also floors. Right now most AR SLAM technologies like ARKit only use floor recognition and position tracking to place AR objects around you, so they don’t actually know what’s going on in your environment to correctly react to it. More advanced SLAM technologies like Google Tango, can create a mesh of our environment so not only the machine can tell you where the floor is, but it can also identify walls and objects in your environment allowing everything around you to be an element to interact with.

 

 

The company with the most complete SLAM database will likely be the winner. This database will allow these giants to have an eye on the world metaphorically, so, for example Facebook can tag and know the location of your photo by just analyzing the image or Google can place ads and virtual billboards around you by analyzing the camera feed from your smart glasses. Your self-driving car can navigate itself with nothing more than visual data.

 

 

 

Voice technology may be poised for a breakthrough with Chinese consumers. — from Shepherd Laughlin jwtintelligence.com

Excerpt:

Worldwide, more consumers are interacting with technology using their voices. As the Innovation Group London and Mindshare Futures found in our Speak Easy report, consumers who use voice technology think that it frees them from having to look at screens, helps them organize their lives, and is less mentally draining than traditional touch or typing devices.

Among the many markets where voice technology is catching on, China faces unique challenges and opportunities. The complex Chinese writing system means that current methods of selecting characters using keyboards can be slow and laborious, which suggests that fully functional voice technology would find an instant market. Spoken Chinese, however, has proven difficult for computers to decipher.

But voice technology is moving ahead anyway. 2015 saw the release of the LingLong DingDong, a product created through a partnership between iFlytek and JD.com, which has become known as China’s answer to the Amazon Echo. The device can understand both Mandarin and Cantonese. It plays music, gives directions, answers questions about the weather and the news, and more. The Tmall Genie, a similar product, functions using Alibaba’s voice assistant, AliGenie.

 

 

 

The Rose-Colored Glasses Come Off: a Survey of Business Officers — from insidehighered.com by Doug Lederman & Rick Seltzer

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The reality of higher education’s financial challenges is sinking in among college and university business officers.

Now the question is what they’re doing about it — and whether they’re willing to do enough.

Chief business officers increasingly agree that higher education is in the midst of a financial crisis, according to the 2017 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Business Officers. Some are also starting to lose faith in the idea that they can overcome revenue shortfalls using the often-cited strategy of increasing enrollment.

Many respondents were open or supportive of the idea of consolidating programs or academic operations with other institutions. Yet survey results reflected a greater skepticism about their likelihood of actually merging with other colleges or universities in the near future. Business officers were also generally leery of addressing their budget issues in ways that would require them to ask faculty members to change. So although business officers are increasingly recognizing the financial threats they face, experts wondered whether they are being realistic about the kind of strategies they will have to pursue to chart a course forward.

 

 

 

Also see:

 

 

I’d like to make a modest proposal.

What if for 2018 all of us involved in postsecondary learning innovation – edtech and CTL and library folks – spent the entire calendar year learning about the business of higher education?

— Per Joshua Kim

 

 

 

 

 

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:

 

 

 

From DSC:
Reviewing the article below made me think of 2 potential additions to the Learning & Development Groups/Departments out there:

  1. Help people build their own learning ecosystems
  2. Design, develop, and implement workbots for self-service

 



 

Chatbots Poised to Revolutionize HR — from by Pratibha Nanduri

Excerpt:

Self-service is becoming an increasingly popular trend where people want to perform their tasks without needing help or input from anyone else. The increasing popularity of this trend is mainly attributed to the increasing use of computers and mobile devices to electronically manage all kinds of tasks.

As employee tolerance for downtime reduces and preferences for mobility increases, the bureaucracy which exists in managing everyday HR related tasks in the workplace will also have to be replaced. A large number of companies have still not automated even their basic HR services such as handling inquiries about holidays and leaves. Employees in such organizations still have to send their query and then wait for HR to respond.

As the number of employees goes up in an organization, the time taken by HR managers to respond to mundane admin tasks also increases. This leaves very little time for the HR manager to focus on strategic HR initiatives.

Chatbots that are powered by AI and machine learning are increasingly being used to automate mundane and repetitive tasks. They can also be leveraged in HR to simulate intelligent SMS-based conversations between employees and HR team members to automate basic HR tasks.

 



 

 

Making the future work for everyone — from blog.google by Jacquelline Fuller

Excerpt:

Help ensure training is as effective and as wide-reaching as possible.
Millions are spent each year on work skills and technical training programs, but there isn’t much visibility into how these programs compare, or if the skills being taught truly match what will be needed in the future. So some of our funding will go into research to better understand which trainings will be most effective in getting the most people the jobs of the future. Our grantee Social Finance is looking at which youth training programs most effectively use contributions from trainees, governments and future employers to give people the best chance of
success.

 

Helping prepare for the future of work

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The way we work is changing. As new technologies continue to unfold in the workplace, more than a third of jobs are likely to require skills that are uncommon in today’s workforce. Workers are increasingly working independently. Demographic changes and shifts in labor participation in developed countries will mean future generations will find new ways to sustain economic growth. These changes create opportunities to think about how work can continue to be a source of not just income, but purpose and meaning for individuals and communities.Technology can help seize these opportunities. We recently launched Google for Jobs, which is designed to help better connect people to jobs, and today we’re announcing Google.org’s $50 million commitment to help people prepare for the changing nature of work. We’ll support nonprofits who are taking innovative approaches to tackling this challenge in three ways: (1) training people with the skills they need, (2) connecting job-seekers with positions that match their skills and talents, and (3) supporting workers in low-wage employment. We’ll start by focusing on the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, and hope to expand to other countries over time.

 

 

 

 

Campus Technology 2017: Virtual Reality Is More Than a New Medium — from edtechmagazine.com by Amy Burroughs
Experts weigh in on the future of VR in higher education.

Excerpts:

“It’s actually getting pretty exciting,” Georgieva said, noting that legacy companies and startups alike have projects in the works that will soon be on the market. Look for standalone, wireless VR headsets later this year from Facebook and Google.

“I think it’s going to be a universal device,” he said. “Eventually, we’ll end up with some kind of glasses where we can just dial in the level of immersion that we want.”

— Per Emery Craig, at Campus Technology 2017 Conference


“Doing VR for the sake of VR makes no sense whatsoever,” Craig said. “Ask when does it make sense to do this in VR? Does a sense of presence help this, or is it better suited to traditional media?”

 

 

Virtual Reality: The User Experience of Story — from blogs.adobe.com

Excerpt:

Solving the content problems in VR requires new skills that are only just starting to be developed and understood, skills that are quite different from traditional storytelling. VR is a nascent medium. One part story, one part experience. And while many of the concepts from film and theater can be used, storytelling through VR is not like making a movie or a play.

In VR, the user has to be guided through an experience of a story, which means many of the challenges in telling a VR story are closer to UX design than anything from film or theater.

Take the issue of frameless scenes. In a VR experience, there are no borders, and no guarantees where a user will look. Scenes must be designed to attract user attention, in order to guide them through the experience of a story.

Sound design, staging cues, lighting effects, and movement can all be used to draw a user’s attention.

However, it’s a fine balance between attraction to distraction.

“In VR, it’s easy to overwhelm the user. If you see a flashing light and in the background, you hear a sharp siren, and then something moves, you’ve given the user too many things to understand,” says Di Dang, User Experience Lead at POP, Seattle. “Be intentional and deliberate about how you grab audience attention.”

 

VR is a storytelling superpower. No other medium has the quite the same potential to create empathy and drive human connection. Because viewers are for all intents and purposes living the experience, they walk away with that history coded into their memory banks—easily accessible for future responses.

 

 

 

Google’s latest VR experiment is teaching people how to make coffee — from techradar.com by Parker Wilhelm
All in a quest to see how effective learning in virtual reality is

Excerpt:

Teaching with a simulation is no new concept, but Google’s Daydream Labs wants to see exactly how useful virtual reality can be for teaching people practical skills.

In a recent experiment, Google ran a simulation of an interactive espresso machine in VR. From there, it had a group of people try their virtual hand at brewing a cup of java before being tasked to make the real thing.

 

 



 

Addendum on 7/26/17:

 



 

 

 

4 ways augmented reality could change corporate training forever –from by Jay Samit

Excerpt:

In the coming years, machine learning and augmented reality will likely take both educational approaches to the next level by empowering workers to have the latest, most accurate information available in context, when and where they need it most.

Here are four ways that digital reality can revolutionize corporate training…

 

…augmented reality (AR) is poised not only to address issues faced by our aging workforce, but to fundamentality increase productivity by changing how all employees are trained in the future.

 

 

 

 
© 2017 | Daniel Christian