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….

 

Supreme Court sides with Google in Oracle’s API copyright case — from theverge.com by Russell Brandom and Adi Robertson
The ruling overturns a federal circuit decision favoring Oracle

Excerpt:

The court’s opinion concludes that APIs — which let programmers access other code — are significantly different from other kinds of computer programs. “As part of an interface, the copied lines are inherently bound together with uncopyrightable ideas … and the creation of new creative expression,” Justice Stephen Breyer writes in his opinion. Unlike many other computer programs, Breyer wrote, much of the copied lines’ value came from developers being invested in the ecosystem, rather than the actual operations of the program. Google used the API to let Java programmers build Android apps, which the court declared is a fundamentally transformative use.

“Google copied only what was needed to allow programmers to work in a different computing environment without discarding a portion of a familiar programming language. Google’s purpose was to create a different task-related system for a different computing environment (smartphones) and to create a platform — the Android platform — that would help achieve and popularize that objective.”

Also see:

SUPREME COURT OF THE UNITED STATES
Syllabus | GOOGLE LLC v. ORACLE AMERICA, INC. — from supremecourt.gov
CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FEDERAL CIRCUIT No. 18–956.
Argued October 7, 2020—Decided April 5, 2021

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Held: Google’s copying of the Java SE API, which included only those lines of code that were needed to allow programmers to put their accrued talents to work in a new and transformative program, was a fair use of that material as a matter of law. Pp. 11–36.

 

More Employers Are Awarding Credentials. Is A Parallel Higher Education System Emerging? — from edsurge.com by Sean Gallagher and Holly Zanville

Excerpt:

As the acceptance of new types of credentials grows, a number of employers have become learning providers in their own right, in a way that could shake up the broader higher education landscape.

A growing number of companies have moved beyond training their own employees or providing tuition assistance programs to send staff members to higher education. Many of these employers are also developing their own curricula and rapidly expanding their publicly-facing credential offerings.

But the current boom in employer-issued credentials is different—and potentially transformational. Unlike the traditional IT certifications of decades past, these new credentials are less focused on proprietary technologies related to a given tech vendor, and are instead more focused on broadly applicable tech skill sets such as IT support, cloud computing and digital marketing.

 

Chrome now instantly captions audio and video on the web — from theverge.com by Ian Carlos Campbell
The accessibility feature was previously exclusive to some Pixel and Samsung Galaxy phones

Excerpt:

Google is expanding its real-time caption feature, Live Captions, from Pixel phones to anyone using a Chrome browser, as first spotted by XDA Developers. Live Captions uses machine learning to spontaneously create captions for videos or audio where none existed before, and making the web that much more accessible for anyone who’s deaf or hard of hearing.

Chrome’s Live Captions worked on YouTube videos, Twitch streams, podcast players, and even music streaming services like SoundCloud in early tests run by a few of us here at The Verge. Google also says Live Captions will work with audio and video files stored on your hard drive if they’re opened in Chrome. However, Live Captions in Chrome only work in English, which is also the case on mobile.

 

Chrome now instantly captions audio and video on the web -- this is a screen capture showing the words being said in a digital audio-based file

 

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.
 

The excerpt below is from The 7 best online whiteboards in 2021 — from zapier.com by Maria Myre

  • Miro for turning ideas into tasks
  • Stormboard for creating multiple whiteboards in a single brainstorming session
  • MURAL for remote, multi-member team meetings
  • Limnu for teaching students remotely
  • InVision Freehand for annotating design files with a team
  • Conceptboard for turning a brainstorming session into a formal presentation
  • Explain Everything for creating whiteboard videos

From DSC:
Other potentially-relevant tools/vendors here include:

Woman using the Cisco Webex Desk Pro

 

G Suite for Ed Gets New Name and Pile of New Features — from thejournal.com by Dian Schaffhauser

Excerpt:

Google announced a spate of changes to its education offerings, including a renaming of its education bundle of productivity applications and a limit to free storage for schools and colleges. Security and engagement updates are also being added to the education version of Google Meet, and Google Classroom will see enhancements later this year. The announcements came during a 90-minute virtual session on “learning with Google.”

A New Name
G Suite for Education has been renamed. Starting today, it’s known as Google Workspace for Education. 

Addendum on 2/24/21:

 

How to become a livestreaming teacher — from innovatemyschool.com by Bobbie Grennier

Excerpts:

What is an encoder?
The format that a video camera records content in has to be transcoded so that it can be livestreamed to a destination like Facebook Live, YouTube, Twitch and Periscope. This is accomplished using an encoder software. An encoder optimizes the video feed for the streaming platform. The key to using an encoder is to learn to set-up scenes.

From DSC:
It will be interesting to see how learning-related platforms develop in the future. I’m continually on the lookout for innovative ideas across the learning landscapes, especially due to the Learning from the Living [Class] Room vision that I’ve been tracking this last decade. The pieces continue to come together. This might be another piece to that puzzle.

An online-based teaching and learning marketplace — backed up by AI, cloud-based learning profiles, voice-driven interfaces, learning agents, and more. Feeds/streams of content into how to learn about any topic…supporting communities of practice as well as individuals. And people will be key in this platform — technology will serve the people, not the other way around.

Daniel Christian -- A technology is meant to be a tool, it is not meant to rule.

 
 

Best Online Educational Games for High School Students — from edtechreview.in by Saniya Khan

Excerpt:

…the introduction of educational games to kids helps increase their motivation and engagement, enhance visual skills, improve students’ interaction and collaboration abilities with their peers, and apply gaming values in a real-world situation; most importantly, it improves learning.

Learning Apps For Kids To Explore in 2021 — from edtechreview.in by Priyanka Gupta

Excerpt:

Living in a digital era and in times when technology has kept education going, let’s look at some promising learning apps for kids to explore in 2021.

 

 

4 of the Best Android Audio Recording Apps for Teachers — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Following our list of  the best web tools for recording audio, we received a couple of requests for recommendations for Android apps. For those of you using Android-enabled devices, below are some of the best recording apps to consider. These are apps students can use to record lectures and meetings, capture audio notes, save voice memos, share audio feedback and many more.

Addendum on 1/18/21:

 

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?

 

Timnit Gebru’s Exit From Google Exposes a Crisis in AI — from wired.com by Alex Hanna and Meredith Whittaker
The situation has made clear that the field needs to change. Here’s where to start, according to a current and a former Googler.

Excerpt:

It was against this backdrop that Google fired Timnit Gebru, our dear friend and colleague, and a leader in the field of artificial intelligence. She is also one of the few Black women in AI research and an unflinching advocate for bringing more BIPOC, women, and non-Western people into the field. By any measure, she excelled at the job Google hired her to perform, including demonstrating racial and gender disparities in facial-analysis technologies and developing reporting guidelines for data sets and AI models. Ironically, this and her vocal advocacy for those underrepresented in AI research are also the reasons, she says, the company fired her. According to Gebru, after demanding that she and her colleagues withdraw a research paper critical of (profitable) large-scale AI systems, Google Research told her team that it had accepted her resignation, despite the fact that she hadn’t resigned. (Google declined to comment for this story.)

 

Google announces switch-off date for Android Things — from itpro.co.uk by Danny Bradbury
Google calls time on ambitious Android-in-everything project

Excerpt:

Google has put an official expiry date on an ambitious internet of things (IoT) project that failed to catch light: Android Things. In an announcement, the company warned developers wouldn’t be able to create new projects from the platform as of January 2021.

Launched in developer preview in 2016, Android Things is an embedded operating system designed to run low-power IoT devices with as little as 32 MB of memory. The operating system used a protocol called Weave, which Google announced simultaneously with Android Things, to communicate with other devices over Bluetooth Low Energy and Wi-Fi.

Also see:

Internet of Things device identification — from techlinkcenter.org
Air Force researchers have invented a wireless, non-intrusive system for authenticating Internet of Things (IoT) network devices, such as fitness trackers and smartwatches.

Excerpt:

IoT networks pose threats to the security and privacy of exchanged information. For example, different types of data breaches, such as information leakage and false data injection, may be initiated in one network device when connecting to another device. Implementing existing security techniques in IoT architectures may not be feasible because devices such as fitness trackers and smartwatches have less battery and processing power than computers or smartphones.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian