AI Now Report 2018 | December 2018  — from ainowinstitute.org

Meredith Whittaker , AI Now Institute, New York University, Google Open Research
Kate Crawford , AI Now Institute, New York University, Microsoft Research
Roel Dobbe , AI Now Institute, New York University
Genevieve Fried , AI Now Institute, New York University
Elizabeth Kaziunas , AI Now Institute, New York University
Varoon Mathur , AI Now Institute, New York University
Sarah Myers West , AI Now Institute, New York University
Rashida Richardson , AI Now Institute, New York University
Jason Schultz , AI Now Institute, New York University School of Law
Oscar Schwartz , AI Now Institute, New York University

With research assistance from Alex Campolo and Gretchen Krueger (AI Now Institute, New York University)

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Building on our 2016 and 2017 reports, the AI Now 2018 Report contends with this central problem, and provides 10 practical recommendations that can help create accountability frameworks capable of governing these powerful technologies.

  1. Governments need to regulate AI by expanding the powers of sector-specific agencies to oversee, audit, and monitor these technologies by domain.
  2. Facial recognition and affect recognition need stringent regulation to protect the public interest.
  3. The AI industry urgently needs new approaches to governance. As this report demonstrates, internal governance structures at most technology companies are failing to ensure accountability for AI systems.
  4. AI companies should waive trade secrecy and other legal claims that stand in the way of accountability in the public sector.
  5. Technology companies should provide protections for conscientious objectors, employee organizing, and ethical whistleblowers.
  6.  Consumer protection agencies should apply “truth-in-advertising” laws to AI products and services.
  7. Technology companies must go beyond the “pipeline model” and commit to addressing the practices of exclusion and discrimination in their workplaces.
  8. Fairness, accountability, and transparency in AI require a detailed account of the “full stack supply chain.”
  9. More funding and support are needed for litigation, labor organizing, and community participation on AI accountability issues.
  10. University AI programs should expand beyond computer science and engineering disciplines. AI began as an interdisciplinary field, but over the decades has narrowed to become a technical discipline. With the increasing application of AI systems to social domains, it needs to expand its disciplinary orientation. That means centering forms of expertise from the social and humanistic disciplines. AI efforts that genuinely wish to address social implications cannot stay solely within computer science and engineering departments, where faculty and students are not trained to research the social world. Expanding the disciplinary orientation of AI research will ensure deeper attention to social contexts, and more focus on potential hazards when these systems are applied to human populations.

 

Also see:

After a Year of Tech Scandals, Our 10 Recommendations for AI — from medium.com by the AI Now Institute
Let’s begin with better regulation, protecting workers, and applying “truth in advertising” rules to AI

 

Also see:

Excerpt:

As we discussed, this technology brings important and even exciting societal benefits but also the potential for abuse. We noted the need for broader study and discussion of these issues. In the ensuing months, we’ve been pursuing these issues further, talking with technologists, companies, civil society groups, academics and public officials around the world. We’ve learned more and tested new ideas. Based on this work, we believe it’s important to move beyond study and discussion. The time for action has arrived.

We believe it’s important for governments in 2019 to start adopting laws to regulate this technology. The facial recognition genie, so to speak, is just emerging from the bottle. Unless we act, we risk waking up five years from now to find that facial recognition services have spread in ways that exacerbate societal issues. By that time, these challenges will be much more difficult to bottle back up.

In particular, we don’t believe that the world will be best served by a commercial race to the bottom, with tech companies forced to choose between social responsibility and market success. We believe that the only way to protect against this race to the bottom is to build a floor of responsibility that supports healthy market competition. And a solid floor requires that we ensure that this technology, and the organizations that develop and use it, are governed by the rule of law.

 

From DSC:
This is a major heads up to the American Bar Association (ABA), law schools, governments, legislatures around the country, the courts, the corporate world, as well as for colleges, universities, and community colleges. The pace of emerging technologies is much faster than society’s ability to deal with them! 

The ABA and law schools need to majorly pick up their pace — for the benefit of all within our society.

 

 

 

10 predictions for tech in 2019 — from enterprisersproject.com by Carla Rudder
IT leaders look at the road ahead and predict what’s next for containers, security, blockchain, and more

Excerpts:

We asked IT leaders and tech experts what they see on the horizon for the future of technology. We intentionally left the question open-ended, and as a result, the answers represent a broad range of what IT professionals may expect to face in the new year. Let’s dig in…

3. Security becomes must-have developer skill.
Developers who have job interviews next year will see a new question added to the usual list.

5. Ethics take center stage with tech talent
Robert Reeves, CTO and co-founder, Datical: “More companies (prompted by their employees) will become increasingly concerned about the ethics of their technology. Microsoft is raising concerns of the dangers of facial recognition technology; Google employees are very concerned about their AI products being used by the Department of Defense. The economy is good for tech right now and the job market is becoming tighter. Thus, I expect those companies to take their employees’ concerns very seriously. Of course, all bets are off when (not if) we dip into a recession. But, for 2019, be prepared for more employees of tech giants to raise ethical concerns and for those concerns to be taken seriously and addressed.”’

7. Customers expect instant satisfaction
All customers will be the customer of ‘now,’ with expectations of immediate and personalized service; single-click approval for loans, sales quotes on the spot, and deliveries in hours instead of days. The window of opportunity for customer satisfaction will keep closing and technology will evolve to keep pace. Real-time analytics will become faster and smarter as data that is external to the organization, such as social, news and weather, will be included for more insights. The move to the cloud will accelerate with the growing adoption of open-source vendors.”

 

From DSC:
Regarding #7 above…as the years progress, how do you suppose this type of environment where people expect instant satisfaction and personalized service will impact education/training?

 

 

 

GM to lay off 15 percent of salaried workers, halt production at five plants in U.S. and Canada — from washingtonpost.com by Taylor Telford

Excerpts:

Amid global restructuring, General Motors announced Monday it would reduce its North American production and salaried and executive workforce

These changes are part of GM’s efforts to focus its resources on self-driving and electric vehicles, as well as more efficient trucks, crossovers and SUVs, the company said in a statement.

The company also said it will cut 15 percent of its salaried workforce, laying off 25 percent of its executives to “streamline decision-making.” GM also said it will close two plants outside North America by the end of 2019. Those locations have yet to be announced.

 

From DSC to students:
Take note of this. If you’re heading for the corporate world (and other arenas as well these days), be ready for constant change. Always keep learning in order to stay marketable. In addition, hopefully you’ll be pulse checking the relevant landscapes along the way to minimize getting broadsided. Look for signs of what’s coming down the pike and develop some potential scenarios — and your plans/responses to those scenarios.

 

 

Is Amazon’s algorithm cashing in on the Camp Fire by raising the cost of safety equipment? — from wired.co.uk by Matthew Chapman
Sudden and repeated price increases on fire extinguishers, axes and escape ladders sold on Amazon are seemingly linked to increased demand driven by California’s Camp Fire

Excerpt:

Amazon’s algorithm has allegedly been raising the price of fire safety equipment in response to increased demand during the California wildfires. The practice, known as surge pricing, has caused products including fire extinguishers and escape ladders to fluctuate significantly on Amazon, seemingly as a result of the retailer’s pricing system responding to increased demand.

An industry source with knowledge of the firm’s operations claims a similar price surge was triggered by the Grenfell Tower fire. A number of recent price rises coincide directly with the outbreak of the Camp Fire, which has been the deadliest in California’s history and resulted in at least 83 deaths.

 

From DSC:
I’ve been thinking a lot more about Amazon.com and Jeff Bezos in recent months, though I’m not entirely sure why. I think part of it has to do with the goals of capitalism.

If you want to see a winner in the way America trains up students, entrepreneurs, and business people, look no further than Jeff Bezos. He is the year-in-and-year-out champion of capitalism. He is the winner. He is the Michael Jordan of business. He is the top. He gets how the game is played and he’s a master at it. By all worldly standards, Jeff Bezos is the winner.

But historically speaking, he doesn’t come across like someone such as Bill Gates — someone who has used his wealth to literally, significantly, and positively change millions of lives. (Though finally that looks to be changing a bit, with the Bezos Day 1 Families Fund; the first grants of that fund total $97 million and will be given to 24 organizations working to address family homelessness. Source.)

Along those same lines — and expanding the scope a bit — I’m struggling with what the goals of capitalism are for us today…especially in an era of AI, algorithms, robotics, automation and the like. If the goal is simply to make as much profit as possible, we could be in trouble. If what occurs to people and families is much lower down the totem pole…what are the ramifications of that for our society? Yes, it’s a tough, cold world. But does it always have to be that way? What is the best, most excellent goal to pursue? What are we truly seeking to accomplish?

After my Uncle Chan died years ago, my Aunt Gail took over the family’s office supply business and ran it like a family. She cared about her employees and made decisions with an eye towards how things would impact her employees and their families. Yes, she had to make sound business decisions, but there was true caring in the way that she ran her business. I realize that the Amazon’s of the world are in a whole different league, but the values and principles involved here should not be lost just because of size.

 

To whom much is given…much is expected.

 

 

 

Also see:

GM to lay off 15 percent of salaried workers, halt production at five plants in U.S. and Canada — from washingtonpost.com by Taylor Telford

Wall Street applauded the news, with GM’s stock climbing more than 7 percent following the announcement.

 

From DSC:
Well, I bet those on Wall Street aren’t a part of the 15% of the folks being impacted. The applause is not heard at all from those folks who are being impacted today…whose families are being impacted today…and will be feeling the impact of these announcements for quite a while yet.

 

 

Why blockchain is quickly becoming the gold standard for supply chains — from datafloq.com

Excerpts:

Global supply chains are complex processes. Different companies, with distinctive objectives, are working together to achieve a common goal; to bring something from A to B. For a supply chain to work, partners have to trust each other. To do so, there are multiple checks-and-balances, extensive documents and different checkpoints all interacting in a web of bureaucratic processes. Knowing the amount of paperwork required to send a product from farm to plate, it is remarkable that we have managed to develop global supply chains.

However, the processes in place are time-consuming, expensive and they don’t always prevent growing problems such as counterfeit products, fragmentation and falsification of data, lack of transparency, extensive settlement times and incorrect storage conditions.

Especially the availability of counterfeit products is an extensive problem. Research showed that 20 out of 47 items audited from renowned retailers such as Amazon or eBay turned out to be counterfeit. This results in annual damages of $1 trillion of missed income by retailers and manufacturers.


Three use cases of improved supply chains

  1. Beiersdorf – developing an open pallet exchange
  2. Bayer – total recall of pharmaceuticals
  3. Kellogg’s – food quality and safety first

 

 

Can employees change the ethics of tech firms? — from knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu

Excerpts:

“[An] extremely important factor that tech managers now have to consider is how the ethical and moral implications of their choices affect their ability to attract and retain talent.”

“We’re in a space now where these companies are really on the hook,” said the Shorenstein Center’s Ghosh. “Regulation is coming and this whole industry is going to have to figure out a way to socialize the ideas that it has and to make decisions that are a little bit more in the public interest. That’s where this whole conversation is going. I think that they are going to have to start thinking more about what’s in it for the world, and if they don’t, other people are going to step in and decide for them.”

 

These news anchors are professional and efficient. They’re also not human. — from washingtonpost.com by Taylor Telford

Excerpt:

The new anchors at China’s state-run news agency have perfect hair and no pulse.

Xinhua News just unveiled what it is calling the world’s first news anchors powered by artificial intelligence, at the World Internet Conference on Wednesday in China’s Zhejiang province. From the outside, they are almost indistinguishable from their human counterparts, crisp-suited and even-keeled. Although Xinhua says the anchors have the “voice, facial expressions and actions of a real person,” the robotic anchors relay whatever text is fed to them in stilted speech that sounds less human than Siri or Alexa.

 

From DSC:
The question is…is this what we want our future to look like? Personally, I don’t care to watch a robotic newscaster giving me the latest “death and dying report.” It comes off bad enough — callous enough — from human beings backed up by TV networks/stations that have agendas of their own; let alone from a robot run by AI.

 

 

LinkedIn Learning Opens Its Platform (Slightly) [Young]

LinkedIn Learning Opens Its Platform (Slightly) — from edsurge by Jeff Young

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A few years ago, in a move toward professional learning, LinkedIn bought Lynda.com for $1.5 billion, adding the well-known library of video-based courses to its professional social network. Today LinkedIn officials announced that they plan to open up their platform to let in educational videos from other providers as well—but with a catch or two.

The plan, announced Friday, is to let companies or colleges who already subscribe to LinkedIn Learning add content from a select group of other providers. The company or college will still have to subscribe to those other services separately, so it’s essentially an integration—but it does mark a change in approach.

For LinkedIn, the goal is to become the front door for employees as they look for micro-courses for professional development.

 

LinkedIn also announced another service for its LinkedIn Learning platform called Q&A, which will give subscribers the ability to pose a question they have about the video lessons they’re taking. The question will first be sent to bots, but if that doesn’t yield an answer the query will be sent on to other learners, and in some cases the instructor who created the videos.

 

 

Also see:

LinkedIn becomes a serious open learning experience platform — from clomedia.com by Josh Bersin
LinkedIn is becoming a dominant learning solution with some pretty interesting competitive advantages, according to one learning analyst.

Excerpt:

LinkedIn has become quite a juggernaut in the corporate learning market. Last time I checked the company had more than 17 million users, 14,000 corporate customers, more than 3,000 courses and was growing at high double-digit rates. And all this in only about two years.

And the company just threw down the gauntlet; it’s now announcing it has completely opened up its learning platform to external content partners. This is the company’s formal announcement that LinkedIn Learning is not just an amazing array of content, it is a corporate learning platform. The company wants to become a single place for all organizational learning content.

 

LinkedIn now offers skills-based learning recommendations to any user through its machine learning algorithms. 

 

 



Is there demand for staying relevant? For learning new skills? For reinventing oneself?

Well…let’s see.

 

 

 

 

 

 



From DSC:
So…look out higher ed and traditional forms of accreditation — your window of opportunity may be starting to close. Alternatives to traditional higher ed continue to appear on the scene and gain momentum. LinkedIn — and/or similar organizations in the future — along with blockchain and big data backed efforts may gain traction in the future and start taking away some major market share. If employers get solid performance from their employees who have gone this route…higher ed better look out. 

Microsoft/LinkedIn/Lynda.com are nicely positioned to be a major player who can offer society a next generation learning platform at an incredible price — offering up-to-date, microlearning along with new forms of credentialing. It’s what I’ve been calling the Amazon.com of higher ed (previously the Walmart of Education) for ~10 years. It will take place in a strategy/platform similar to this one.

 



Also, this is what a guerilla on the back looks like:

 

This is what a guerilla on the back looks like!

 



Also see:

  • Meet the 83-Year-Old App Developer Who Says Edtech Should Better Support Seniors — from edsurge.com by Sydney Johnson
    Excerpt (emphasis DSC):
    Now at age 83, Wakamiya beams with excitement when she recounts her journey, which has been featured in news outlets and even at Apple’s developer conference last year. But through learning how to code, she believes that experience offers an even more important lesson to today’s education and technology companies: don’t forget about senior citizens.Today’s education technology products overwhelmingly target young people. And while there’s a growing industry around serving adult learners in higher education, companies largely neglect to consider the needs of the elderly.

 

 

The global companies that failed to adapt to change. — from trainingmag.com by Professor M.S. Rao, Ph.D.

Excerpt:

Eastman Kodak, a leader for many years, filed for bankruptcy in 2012. Blockbuster Video became defunct in 2013. Similarly, Borders — one of the largest book retailers in the U.S. — went out of business in 2011. Why did these companies, which once had great brands, ultimately fail? It is because they failed to adapt to change. Additionally, they failed to unlearn and relearn.

Former GE CEO Jack Welch once remarked, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.” Thus, accept change before the change is thrust on you.

Leaders must adopt tools and techniques to adapt to change. Here is a blueprint to embrace change effectively:

  • Keep the vision right and straight, and articulate it effectively.
  • Create organizational culture conducive to bring about change.
  • Communicate clearly about the need to change.
  • Enlighten people about the implications of the status quo.
  • Show them benefits once the change is implemented.
  • Coordinate all stakeholders effectively.
  • Remove the roadblocks by allaying their apprehensions.
  • Show them small gains to ensure that entire change takes place smoothly without any resistance.

 

From DSC:
Though I’m not on board with all of the perspectives in that article, institutions of traditional higher education likely have something to learn from the failures of these companies….while there’s still time to change and to innovate. 

 

 

Virtual digital assistants in the workplace: Still nascent, but developing — from cisco.com by Pat Brans
As workers get overwhelmed with daily tasks, they want virtual digital assistants in the workplace that can alleviate some of the burden.

Excerpts:

As life gets busier, knowledge workers are struggling with information overload.

They’re looking for a way out, and that way, experts say, will eventually involve virtual digital assistants (VDAs). Increasingly, workers need to complete myriad tasks, often seemingly simultaneously. And as the pace of business continues to drive ever faster, hands-free, intelligent technology that can speed administrative tasks holds obvious appeal.

So far, scenarios in which digital assistants in the workplace enhance productivity fall into three categories: scheduling, project management, and improved interfaces to enterprise applications. “Using digital assistants to perform scheduling has clear benefits,” Beccue said.

“Scheduling meetings and managing calendars takes a long time—many early adopters are able to quantify the savings they get when the scheduling is performed by a VDA. Likewise, when VDAs are used to track project status through daily standup meetings, project managers can easily measure the time saved.”

 

Perhaps the most important change we’ll see in future generations of VDA technology for workforce productivity will be the advent of general-purpose VDAs that help users with all tasks. These VDAs will be multi-channel (providing interfaces through mobile apps, messaging, telephone, and so on) and they will be bi-modal (enlisting text and voice).

 

 

 

 

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