Amazon Web Services, Arizona State to offer for-credit cloud education to 10K high schoolers — from highereddive.com by Natalie Schwartz

Excerpt:

Amazon Web Services is working with the nonprofit National Education Equity Lab to offer cloud computing classes to high school students in low-income districts, the company announced Wednesday.

 

 

AI voice actors sound more human than ever —and they’re ready to hire— from technologyreview.com by Karen Hao
A new wave of startups are using deep learning to build synthetic voice actors for digital assistants, video-game characters, and corporate videos.

Excerpt:

The company blog post drips with the enthusiasm of a ’90s US infomercial. WellSaid Labs describes what clients can expect from its “eight new digital voice actors!” Tobin is “energetic and insightful.” Paige is “poised and expressive.” Ava is “polished, self-assured, and professional.”

Each one is based on a real voice actor, whose likeness (with consent) has been preserved using AI. Companies can now license these voices to say whatever they need. They simply feed some text into the voice engine, and out will spool a crisp audio clip of a natural-sounding performance.

But the rise of hyperrealistic fake voices isn’t consequence-free. Human voice actors, in particular, have been left to wonder what this means for their livelihoods.

And below are a couple of somewhat related items:

Amazon’s latest voice interoperability move undermines Google — from protocol.com by Janko Roettgers
With a new toolkit, Amazon is making it easier to build devices that run multiple voice assistants — weakening one of Google’s key arguments against licensing the Google Assistant for such scenarios.

People should be able to pick whatever assistant they prefer for any given task, simply by invoking different words, Rubenson said. “We think it’s critical that customers have choice and flexibility,” he said. “Each will have their own strengths and capabilities.”

Protocol Next Up — from protocol.com by Janko Roettgers
Defining the future of tech and entertainment with Janko Roettgers.

Voice is becoming a true developer ecosystem. Amazon now has more than 900,000 registered Alexa developers, who collectively have built over 130,000 Alexa skills. And those skills are starting to show up in more and more places: “We now have hundreds of physical products” with Alexa built in, Alexa Voice Service & Alexa Skills VP Aaron Rubenson told me this week.

 

Amazon Contractors Are Revolting, Here Are Their Demands — from interestingengineering.com by Loukia Papadopoulos
Two major delivery partners announced they chose to shut down rather than keep sating Amazon’s draconian demands.

Excerpt:

The firms essentially offered Amazon an ultimatum to either agree to a set of conditions that they said would improve driver safety, or they would shut down — well, Amazon is their only client. Amazon refused, and the two companies actually followed through with their ultimatum.

From DSC:
Our son, who is college age, worked at an Amazon distribution center last summer. He is typically a healthy person. But his back and knees did not do well over the summer. After just a few weeks of having to meet an aggressive (and constant) quota of items being shipped, pains and issues started appearing. I don’t know how some of their employees keep up the pace that they are required to maintain…hour after hour after hour after hour…day after day, month after month.

Also see:

Amazon is destroying millions of unsold goods, from smart TVs to laptops — from fastcompany.com by Lucy Wishart
An Amazon warehouse exposé in the UK underscores a larger problem with how goods are treated as disposable.

Excerpt:

A recent undercover investigation in an Amazon warehouse in Dunfermline, Scotland, reported the disposal of more than 130,000 “new or lightly used” objects in a single week in just that one location. Public outrage was clear. Questions were asked about how Amazon could be so wasteful and why weren’t the usable objects sent to those in need?

 

 

Gov. Kemp Announces Technical Skills Training Commitment to Prepare 5,500 Georgians for Cloud Computing Careers — from gov.georgia.gov

Excerpt:

Atlanta, GA — [On June 9th], Governor Brian P. Kemp announced a collaborative initiative between the Technical College System of Georgia (TCSG), the Georgia Department of Education (GADOE), the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG), and Amazon Web Services (AWS) to provide cloud computing training and education to 5,500 learners statewide by 2024. Through this initiative, high schools and technical colleges in Georgia will offer cloud computing courses and credentials that align with skills needed to pursue in-demand technical careers.

“The tech industry in Georgia is rapidly growing with exciting job opportunities for Georgians,” said Governor Kemp. “This collaboration with AWS will ensure our citizens have access to innovative training and education to help prepare them for tech jobs in Georgia.”

 

From DSC:
Again, as you can see from the items below…there are various plusses and minuses regarding the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Some of the items below are neither positive or negative, but I found them interesting nonetheless.


How Amazon is tackling the A.I. talent crunch — from fortune.com by Jonathan Vanian

Excerpt:

“One way Amazon has adapted to the tight labor market is to require potential new programming hires to take classes in machine learning, said Bratin Saha, a vice president and general manager of machine learning services at Amazon. The company’s executives believe they can teach these developers machine learning basics over a few weeks so that they can work on more cutting-edge projects after they’re hired.”

“These are not formal college courses, and Saha said the recruits aren’t graded like they would be in school. Instead, the courses are intended to give new developers a foundation in machine learning and statistics so they can understand the theoretical underpinnings.”

Machine Learning Can Predict Rapid Kidney Function Decline — from sicklecellanemianews.com by Steve Bryson PhD; with thanks to Sam DeBrule for this resource

Excerpt:

Machine learning tools can identify sickle cell disease (SCD) patients at high risk of progressive kidney disease as early as six months in advance, a study shows.  The study, “Using machine learning to predict rapid decline of kidney function in sickle cell anemia,” was published in the journal eJHaem.

NYPD’s Sprawling Facial Recognition System Now Has More Than 15,000 Cameras — from vice.com by Todd Feathers; with thanks to Sam DeBrule for this resource
The massive camera network is concentrated in predominantly Black and brown neighborhoods, according to a new crowdsourced report.

Excerpt:

The New York City Police Department has built a sprawling facial recognition network that may include more than 15,000 surveillance cameras in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and the Bronx, according to a massive crowdsourced investigation by Amnesty International.

“This sprawling network of cameras can be used by police for invasive facial recognition and risk turning New York into an Orwellian surveillance city,” Matt Mahmoudi, an artificial intelligence and human rights researcher at Amnesty, wrote in the group’s report. “You are never anonymous. Whether you’re attending a protest, walking to a particular neighbourhood, or even just grocery shopping—your face can be tracked by facial recognition technology using imagery from thousands of camera points across New York.”

Related to that article is this one:

The All-Seeing Eyes of New York’s 15,000 Surveillance Cameras — from wired.com by Sidney Fussell
Video from the cameras is often used in facial-recognition searches. A report finds they are most common in neighborhoods with large nonwhite populations.

Excerpt:

A NEW VIDEO from human rights organization Amnesty International maps the locations of more than 15,000 cameras used by the New York Police Department, both for routine surveillance and in facial-recognition searches. A 3D model shows the 200-meter range of a camera, part of a sweeping dragnet capturing the unwitting movements of nearly half of the city’s residents, putting them at risk for misidentification. The group says it is the first to map the locations of that many cameras in the city.

Don’t End Up on This Artificial Intelligence Hall of Shame — from wired.com by Tom Simonite
A list of incidents that caused, or nearly caused, harm aims to prompt developers to think more carefully about the tech they create.

Excerpt:

The AI Incident Database is hosted by Partnership on AI, a nonprofit founded by large tech companies to research the downsides of the technology. The roll of dishonor was started by Sean McGregor, who works as a machine learning engineer at voice processor startup Syntiant. He says it’s needed because AI allows machines to intervene more directly in people’s lives, but the culture of software engineering does not encourage safety.

 

10 takeaways from Big Tech’s big earnings — from protocol.com by David Pierce
What Apple, Facebook, Alphabet, Microsoft and Amazon earnings say about the state of tech.

 

 

Shhhh, they’re listening: Inside the coming voice-profiling revolution — from fastcompany.com by Josephy Turow
Marketers are on the verge of using AI-powered technology to make decisions about who you are and what you want based purely on the sound of your voice.

Excerpt:

When conducting research for my forthcoming book, The Voice Catchers: How Marketers Listen In to Exploit Your Feelings, Your Privacy, and Your Wallet, I went through over 1,000 trade magazine and news articles on the companies connected to various forms of voice profiling. I examined hundreds of pages of U.S. and EU laws applying to biometric surveillance. I analyzed dozens of patents. And because so much about this industry is evolving, I spoke to 43 people who are working to shape it.

It soon became clear to me that we’re in the early stages of a voice-profiling revolution that companies see as integral to the future of marketing.

From DSC:
Hhhhmmm….

 

Digital upskilling in legal: More than just new technology — from legalexecutiveinstitute.com by Bob Dolinsky; with thanks to Gabe Teninbaum for this resource

Excerpt:

How many law firms have digital upskilling programs for their lawyers and staff members? Based on what I hear and read, very few, if any.

Amazon, for example, recently announced a commitment of more than $700 million to its “Upskilling 2025” program, an internal training initiative designed to promote customer satisfaction and worker advancement. Another example is PwC, which has a digital upskilling program to develop its in-house talent pool called “New world. New skills.” In 2019, PwC announced that it would invest $3 billion into job training for its 275,000 employees around the world, enhancing its workforce and client service delivery to better address emerging digital needs.

The goals of these and similar initiatives is to help ensure that employees have the skills in the digital arena to be successful, to position these organizations as preferred employers, and to provide customer and client service excellence.

Also from Gabe:

“Virtual justice” (the preferred, if unsettling, term) is an emergency response to a dire situation. But it is also a vision some judicial innovators had long tried to realize. One leading booster, Michigan Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, told me that going online can make courts not only safer but “more transparent, more accessible, and more convenient.” Witnesses, jurors, and litigants no longer need to miss hours of work and fight traffic. Attorneys with cases in multiple courts can jump from one to another by swiping on their phones.

 

Clicking this image will take you to the 2021 Tech Trends Report -- from the Future Today Institute

14th Annual Edition | 2021 Tech Trends Report — from the Future Today Institute

Our 2021 Tech Trends Report is designed to help you confront deep uncertainty, adapt and thrive. For this year’s edition, the magnitude of new signals required us to create 12 separate volumes, and each report focuses on a cluster of related trends. In total, we’ve analyzed  nearly 500 technology and science trends across multiple industry sectors. In each volume, we discuss the disruptive forces, opportunities and strategies that will drive your organization in the near future.

Now, more than ever, your organization should examine the potential near and long-term impact of tech trends. You must factor the trends in this report into your strategic thinking for the coming year, and adjust your planning, operations and business models accordingly. But we hope you will make time for creative exploration. From chaos, a new world will come.

Some example items noted in this report:

  • Natural language processing is an area experiencing high interest, investment, and growth.
  • + No-code or low-code systems are unlocking new use cases for businesses.
  • Amazon Web Services, Azure, and Google Cloud’s low-code and no-code offerings will trickle down to everyday people, allowing them to create their own artificial intelligence applications and deploy them as easily as they could a website.
  • The race is on to capture AI cloudshare—and to become the most trusted provider of AI on remote servers.
  • COVID-19 accelerated the use of AI in drug discovery last year. The first trial of an AI-discovered drug is underway in Japan.
 

From DSC:
Numerous articles are out there on this, but here’s a handful of them:

Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon C.E.O. — form nytimes.com
Andy Jassy, the chief of Amazon’s cloud computing division, will become chief executive, while Mr. Bezos, the company’s founder, will become executive chairman.

How new Amazon CEO Andy Jassy built an enterprise tech juggernaut — from protocol.com
Using lessons honed from a stint as outgoing CEO Jeff Bezos’ right hand, Jassy changed the way enterprise tech is bought and sold in building the most profitable division of the company.

Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon CEO: Read his full letter to staff — from fastcompany.com
Day One is finally over for Jeff Bezos. 

 

Amazon plans to retrain millions — from linkedin.com by Jessica Hartogs

Excerpt:

Amazon will reskill 29 million people globally for cloud-computing careers. The company says the programs, which will stem from existing ones as well as newer partnerships with nonprofits and schools, will retrain millions of workers by 2025. According to The Wall Street Journal, the online giant is making the move after the pandemic disrupted millions of careers and is aimed at people not employed with the company, as of yet. While Amazon plans to hire some of these newly trained workers, “the idea is to equip people with the education needed to work in … high-tech positions.”

 

Jeff Bezos Wants to Go to the Moon. Then, Public Education. — from edsurge.com by Dominik Dresel

Excerpts:

Jeff Bezos’ $2 billion investment to establish a Montessori-inspired network of preschools may be shrugged off by many as the world’s richest man dabbling in another playground. Instead, we should see it for what it is: the early days of Amazon’s foray into public education.

It would be easy to think that Amazon’s rapid expansion into industry after industry is just the natural, opportunistic path of a cash-flush company seeking to invest in new, lucrative markets. But Jeff Bezos, himself a graduate of a Montessori preschool, doesn’t think in short-term opportunities.

Yet, the world has had its first taste of the disentanglement of schooling from school buildings. Even though in 20 years we will still have school buildings—much like we still have bookstores—there is little doubt that the future will see more, not less, online instruction and content delivery.

 

 
 

From DSC:
For me the Socratic method is still a question mark, in terms of effectiveness. (I suppose it depends on who is yielding the tool and how it’s being utilized/implemented.)

But you have one student — often standing up and/or in the spotlight — who is being drilled on something. That student could be calm and collected, and their cognitive processing could actually get a boost from the adrenaline.

But there are other students who dread being called upon in such a public — sometimes competitive — setting. Their cognitive processing could shut down or become greatly diminished.

Also, the professor is working with one student at a time — hopefully the other students are trying to address each subsequent question, but some students may tune out once they know it’s not their turn in the spotlight.

So I was wondering…could the Socratic method be used with each student at the same time? Could a polling-like tool be used in real-time to guide the discussion?

For example, a professor could start out with a pre-created poll and ask the question of all students. Then they could glance through the responses and even scan for some keywords (using their voice to drive the system and/or using a Ctrl+F / Command+F type of thing).

Then in real-time / on-the-fly, could the professor use their voice to create another poll/question — again for each student to answer — based on one of the responses? Again, each student must answer the follow up question(s).

Are there any vendors out there working on something like this? Or have you tested the effectiveness of something like this?

Vendors: Can you help us create a voice-driven interface to offer the Socratic method to everyone to see if and how it would work? (Like a Mentimeter type of product on steroids…er, rather, using an AI-driven backend.)

Teachers, trainers, pastors, presenters could also benefit from something like this — as it could engage numerous people at once.

#Participation #Engagement #Assessment #Reasoning #CriticalThinking #CommunicationSkills #ThinkingOnOnesFeet #OnlineLearning #Face-to-Face #BlendedLearning #HybridLearning

Could such a method be used in language-related classes as well? In online-based tutoring?

 

The Year TV Leaped Into The Future [Roettgers]

The Year TV Leaped Into The Future [Roettgers]

The Year TV Leaped Into The Future — from protocol.com by Janko Roettgers

The lockdowns this year have transformed our homes into offices, schools, concert halls, movie theaters and gyms. Our homes are working harder for us, but so is our technology. The device that is working the hardest is perhaps the TV—becoming our lifeline to a far more virtual world.

Addendums:

The Second Year of The MOOC: 2020 Saw a Rush to Large-Scale Online Courses

The Second Year of The MOOC: 2020 Saw a Rush to Large-Scale Online Courses — from edsurge.com by Dhawal Shah

Excerpt:

This was the year that more people learned what a MOOC is.

As millions suddenly found themselves with free time on their hands during the pandemic, many turned to online courses—especially, to free courses known as MOOCs, or Massive Open Online Courses. This phenomenon was compounded by media worldwide compiling lists of “free things to do during lockdown,” which tended to include MOOCs.

Within two months, Class Central had received over 10 million visits and sent over six million clicks to MOOC providers. These learners also turned out to be more engaged than usual. In April 2020, MOOC providers Coursera, edX and FutureLearn attracted as many new users in a single month as they did in the entirety of 2019.

.

From DSC:
The pieces continue to come together…

Learning from the living class room

...team-based content creation and delivery will dominate in the future (at least for the masses). It will offer engaging, personalized learning and the AI-based systems will be constantly scanning for the required/sought-after skills and competencies. The systems will then present a listing of items that will help people obtain those skills and competencies.

#AI #LearningProfiles #Cloud #LearningFromTheLivingClassRoom #LearningEcosystems #LearningSpaces #21stCentury #24x7x365 #Reinvent #Surviving #StayingRelevant #LifeLongLearning and many more tags/categories are applicable here.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian