Soros urges world leaders to back his $1-billion Global Education Network — from chronicle.com by Dan Parks

Excerpt:

George Soros urged world leaders on Thursday to back his Open Society University Network, a $1-billion effort to integrate teaching and research across higher-education institutions worldwide to solve big problems.

The Central European University, which Soros founded, and Bard College will team up with Arizona State University and other institutions around the globe, according to a news release.

From DSC:
This is not an endorsement of the GEN nor do I have any perspectives to relay one way or another re: George Soros. I just find the idea of a global learning network/platform very interesting…and likely a piece of our future learning ecosystems.

 

Lawyers: Meet the CEO trying to make you obsolete — from abovethelaw.com by James Goodnow
Call it a drive for increased access to the legal system, call it a grab for cash, the legal and business worlds are getting more comfortable with nonlawyers handling issues traditionally reserved for attorneys.

Excerpt:

Mehta and Factor aim to take a bite out of the segment of the legal market that has previously been off-limits to anyone except Biglaw attorneys: challenging, sophisticated contract negotiations and compliance.

Factor’s secret sauce is combining attorneys, nonattorney legal professionals, and curated technology into an efficient package. Factor’s team of hundreds of in-house lawyers oversee nonattorneys specially trained in contract management, compliance issues, and leading-edge technology. The goal, of course, is to bring the cost of even highly complex transactions down to a minimum.

Make no mistake: a new front has opened up in the war between alternative legal service providers and traditional law firms. 


From DSC:

While I don’t think lawyers will become obsolete, the amount of technology being integrated into law firms and throughout the legal realm is definitely on the increase. I don’t see that trend slowing down, but rather picking up steam.

 

The Future of Education Technology (FETC) Conference…What did we learn this year? — from teachercast.net by Jeffrey Bradbury

“I couldn’t believe how many sessions this year revolved around audio or video creation.  I even counted more than 15 sessions that had the word Podcast in them (including mine).”

 

Modular, stackable learning — What it means and why it will transform learning in the workplace — from linkedin.com by Anant Agarwal

Excerpt:

One example is by unbundling the traditional learning “packages” — Associate’s, Bachelor’s, and Master’s degrees — into more manageable learning chunks that are also tied to real career and life outcomes. This is what we call modular learning, and it’s the foundation of all the programs available on edX. Modular learning enables working professionals to learn new skills in shorter amounts of time, even while they work, and those seeking a degree are able to do so in a much more attainable way. They also earn credentials for the smaller modules of learning, thereby garnering value and positive feedback early in the process of advancing towards full degrees. This early positive feedback also increases motivation for learners to persist towards the full degree, if that is their goal.

 

Explore Revit models in VR with Unity Reflect — from by Nick Davis
Unity Reflect makes it easy to bring Building Information Modeling (BIM) data into virtual reality (VR). Learn how you can use the Unity Reflect VR Viewer to conduct immersive design reviews with Autodesk Revit models.

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The value of VR in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry is well documented. It provides an unrivaled medium for gathering rich feedback, catching design flaws, and reducing the need for physical mockups. Studies have shown construction professionals are twice as likely to spot design errors when reviewing designs in VR versus PCs.

Today, 60% of AR and VR content is powered by Unity. Unity’s AEC customers use VR for a wide range of use cases, from conducting immersive walkthroughs that help their clients catch errors pre-construction and save hundreds of thousands of dollars on individual projects, to creating immersive training programs that lead to safer job sites.

 

Pearson Bets on Adaptive Learning (Again) With $25M Acquisition of Smart Sparrow — from edsurge.com by Tony Wan

Excerpt:

Smart Sparrow, which provides course-authoring tools for faculty and instructional designers to build adaptive courseware, has found a new home in a much bigger nest.

Last week, Pearson announced it paid $25 million to acquire Smart Sparrow’s technology, in a move that the publisher says will bolster the digital infrastructure that will soon support all its future higher-education offerings.

In recent years, Ben-Naim says his team has been building the next iteration of its adaptive course-creation tool. Called Aero, the platform has been in the works since 2017. And though Aero has not been publicly released or announced, that was the technology that attracted Pearson, he adds.

 

From DSC:
As some of you may know, I’m now working for the WMU-Thomas M. Cooley Law School. My faith gets involved here, but I believe that the LORD wanted me to get involved with:

  • Using technology to increase access to justice (#A2J)
  • Contributing to leveraging the science of learning for the long-term benefit of our students, faculty, and staff
  • Raising awareness regarding the potential pros and cons of today’s emerging technologies
  • Increase the understanding that the legal realm has a looooong way to go to try to get (even somewhat) caught up with the impacts that such emerging technologies can/might have on us.
  • Contributing and collaborating with others to help develop a positive future, not a negative one.

Along these lines…in regards to what’s been happening with law schools over the last few years, I wanted to share a couple of things:

1) An article from The Chronicle of Higher Education by Benjamin Barton:

The Law School Crash

 

2) A response from our President and Dean, James McGrath:Repositioning a Law School for the New Normal

 

From DSC:
I also wanted to personally say that I arrived at WMU-Cooley Law School in 2018, and have been learning a lot there (which I love about my job!).  Cooley employees are very warm, welcoming, experienced, knowledgeable, and professional. Everyone there is mission-driven. My boss, Chris Church, is multi-talented and excellent. Cooley has a great administrative/management team as well.

There have been many exciting, new things happening there. But that said, it will take time before we see the results of these changes. Perseverance and innovation will be key ingredients to crafting a modern legal education — especially in an industry that is just now beginning to offer online-based courses at the Juris Doctor (J.D.) level (i.e., 20 years behind when this began occurring within undergraduate higher education).

My point in posting this is to say that we should ALL care about what’s happening within the legal realm!  We are all impacted by it, whether we realize it or not. We are all in this together and no one is an island — not as individuals, and not as organizations.

We need:

  • Far more diversity within the legal field
  • More technical expertise within the legal realm — not only with lawyers, but with legislators, senators, representatives, judges, others
  • Greater use of teams of specialists within the legal field
  • To offer more courses regarding emerging technologies — and not only for the legal practices themselves but also for society at large.
  • To be far more vigilant in crafting a positive world to be handed down to our kids and grandkids — a dream, not a nightmare. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.

Still not convinced that you should care? Here are some things on the CURRENT landscapes:

  • You go to drop something off at your neighbor’s house. They have a camera that gets activated.  What facial recognition database are you now on? Did you give your consent to that? No, you didn’t.
  • Because you posted your photo on Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and/or on millions of other websites, your face could be in ClearView AI’s database. Did you give your consent to that occurring? No, you didn’t.
  • You’re at the airport and facial recognition is used instead of a passport. Whose database was that from and what gets shared? Did you give your consent to that occurring? Probably not, and it’s not easy to opt-out either.
  • Numerous types of drones, delivery bots, and more are already coming onto the scene. What will the sidewalks, streets, and skies look like — and sound like — in your neighborhood in the near future? Is that how you want it? Did you give your consent to that happening? No, you didn’t.
  • …and on and on it goes.

Addendum — speaking of islands!

Palantir CEO: Silicon Valley can’t be on ‘Palo Alto island’ — Big Tech must play by the rules — from cnbc.com by Jessica Bursztynsky

Excerpt:

Palantir Technologies co-founder and CEO Alex Karp said Thursday the core problem in Silicon Valley is the attitude among tech executives that they want to be separate from United States regulation.

“You cannot create an island called Palo Alto Island,” said Karp, who suggested tech leaders would rather govern themselves. “What Silicon Valley really wants is the canton of Palo Alto. We have the United States of America, not the ‘United States of Canton,’ one of which is Palo Alto. That must change.”

“Consumer tech companies, not Apple, but the other ones, have basically decided we’re living on an island and the island is so far removed from what’s called the United States in every way, culturally, linguistically and in normative ways,” Karp added.

 

A.I. breakthroughs in natural-language processing are big for business — from fortune.com by Jeremy Kahn

Excerpt:

Over the past 18 months, though, computer scientists have made huge strides in creating algorithms with unprecedented abilities at a variety of language tasks. What’s more, these new algorithms are making the leap from the lab and into real products at a breakneck pace—already changing the way tech’s biggest players, and many other businesses, operate. The Natural Language Processing (NLP) revolution promises better search engines and smarter chatbots and digital assistants. It could lead to systems that automatically analyze—and maybe even compose— legal documents and medical records. But some believe the NLP revolution will do far more.

 

From DSC:
Very disturbing that citizens had no say in this. Legislators, senators, representatives, lawyers, law schools, politicians, engineers, programmers, professors, teachers, and more…please reflect upon our current situation here. How can we help create the kind of future that we can hand down to our kids and rest well at night…knowing we did all that we could to provide a dream — and not a nightmare — for them?


The Secretive Company That Might End Privacy as We Know It — from nytimes.com by Kashmir Hill
A little-known start-up helps law enforcement match photos of unknown people to their online images — and “might lead to a dystopian future or something,” a backer says.

His tiny company, Clearview AI, devised a groundbreaking facial recognition app. You take a picture of a person, upload it and get to see public photos of that person, along with links to where those photos appeared. The system — whose backbone is a database of more than three billion images that Clearview claims to have scraped from Facebook, YouTube, Venmo and millions of other websites — goes far beyond anything ever constructed by the United States government or Silicon Valley giants.

 

Excerpts:

“But without public scrutiny, more than 600 law enforcement agencies have started using Clearview in the past year…”

Clearview’s app carries extra risks because law enforcement agencies are uploading sensitive photos to the servers of a company whose ability to protect its data is untested.

 

From DSC:
If you are using a tool like Cisco Webex in your school, consider implementing the idea below.
I’d like to thank Mr. Steve Grant and Mr. Nelson Miller from the WMU-Cooley Law School for their work in implementing/recommending this approach.

If you are using a tool like Cisco Webex, you can use it to share content to displays, laptops, smartphones, and tablets. If the professor starts a Cisco Webex Meeting Center session using their own personal room, the students can then join that meeting via their devices. (To eliminate noise and confusion — as well as to reduce bandwidth — the students should mute their microphones and choose not to send the video from their webcams.)

If you were doing a think-pair-share, for example, and you really liked what a certain pair of students had going on, one of the students could share their work with the rest of the class. By doing so, whatever was going on on that student’s device could be displayed by any projectors in the room, as well as on any other devices that were connected to the Cisco Webex Meeting Room.

“So you could project any student’s work as students proceed with in-class exercises. Projecting student work adds another level of accountability, excitement, and concentration to in-class exercises.” 

*********

Also, using the Cisco Webex Meeting Center in your face-to-face classroom not only opens up that sort of collaboration channel, but, via the chat feature, it can also open up a running backchannel to draw out your more introverted students, or those students who have questions but don’t want to have the spotlight thrown on them. 

*********

 

Excerpts:

We see the AI space poised for an acceleration in adoption, driven by more sophisticated AI models being put in production, specialized hardware that increases AI’s capacity to provide quicker results based on larger datasets, simplified tools that democratize access to the entire AI stack, small tools that enables AI on nearly any device, and cloud access to AI tools that allow access to AI resources from anywhere.

To fully take advantage of AI technologies, you’ll need to retrain your entire organization.

 

CES 2020: Finding reality in a deluge of utopia — from web-strategist.com by Jeremiah Owyang

Excerpts:

One of my strategies is to look past the products that were announced, and instead find the new technologies that will shed light on which products will emerge such as sensors and data types.

The trick to approaching CES: Look for what creates the data, then analyze how it will be used, therein lies the power/leverage/business model of the future.

Sharp’s augmented windows give us an interesting glimpse of what retail could look like if every window was a transparent screen…

Rivian, the new electric truck company, which is funded by both Ford and Amazon was featured at the Amazon booth, with a large crowd, each wheel has an independent motor and it’s Alexa integrated – watch out Cybertruck.

Caution: “Data leakage” (where your data ends up in places you didn’t expect) is frightening, and people will start to care. The amount of devices present, that offer data collection to unknown companies in unknown countries is truly astounding. Both from a personal, business, and national security perspective, consumers and businesses alike really don’t know the ramifications of all of this data sharing.

Also see:

 

DC: Precursor to a next gen learning platform…? Another piece is falling into place.

 

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
 

AI arms race — insidehighered.com by Lilah Burke
More employers are using applicant tracking systems to hire employees. Some colleges are using new AI-based tools, like VMock, to help students keep up.

Excerpt:

When college students need help with their résumés, some now will be turning to algorithms rather than advisers.

In the last decade, a growing number of large companies have started hiring using applicant tracking systems, AI-based platforms that scan résumés for keywords and rank job candidates.

Similarly, video interviewing platforms that use algorithms to evaluate a candidate’s voice, gestures and emotions have become ubiquitous in some industries. HireVue, the most well-known of these platforms, has drawn accusations of being pseudoscientific and potentially exacerbating bias in hiring.

The frustration many job candidates voice when coming up against these platforms is that they have no way of knowing what they could have done better. The systems give no feedback to candidates.

So what if students, job seekers and career advisers could use the AI for themselves?

Boston University, in a document of VMock tips for students, also advised graphic design or other creative industry students to have two versions of their résumé, one with a conventional layout.

From DSC:
Per my nephew, who works in a recruiting type of position within HR for a Fortune 500 organization:

  • Without a doubt HR recruiting is using AI to help in the selection process.
  • Many companies use keyword scanners, but not everyone [and, in fact, his company did not].
  • HireVue is very important to use when it comes to understanding a person’s presentation skills since a lot of presenting is done via Skype/live video these days. So HireVue is not going away anytime soon. I think it’s a great system/product.
  • At the end of the day, a good recruiter will identify the best talent that has applied to a position. I think it’s important for students to really think about what position they’re applying for and be realistic with their applications. I think that’s where a lot of frustration happens with students that apply to positions and never get to the first round interview. They apply to 20-50 positions that don’t reflect their experience at all…so that’s where coaching and personal advisement is important
 

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