A couple of items from the May 2021 Inavate edition:

A very sharp learning space right here!

Sharp learning space full of AV equipment at Southampton University, UK

 

 

Enrich your history and social studies classes with these resources — from educatorstechnology.com

Excerpt:

Below are three websites we are featuring in our blog for the first time. These are platforms where teachers (and students) can access resources and teaching materials to help them with their history teaching (learning).

Addendum on 5/4/21:

 

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 Dollar Project to launch five U.S. central bank digital currency pilots — from datafloq.com by Michelle Price

Excerpt:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. nonprofit Digital Dollar Project said on Monday it will launch five pilot programs over the next 12 months to test the potential uses of a U.S. central bank digital currency, the first effort of its kind in the United States.

A partnership between Accenture and the Digital Dollar Foundation, the Digital Dollar Project was created last year to promote research into a U.S. central bank digital currency (CBDC).

CBDCs are the digital equivalent of banknotes and coins, giving holders a direct digital claim on the central bank and allowing them to make instant electronic payments.

 

 

Doubling down on accessibility: Microsoft’s next steps to expand accessibility in technology, the workforce and workplace — from Brad Smith, President of Microsoft

Excerpt:

Accessibility by design
Today, we are announcing a variety of new “accessible by design” features and advances in Microsoft 365, enabling more than 200 million people to build, edit and share documents. Using artificial intelligence (AI) and other advanced technologies, we aim to make more content accessible and as simple and automatic as spell check is today. For example:

  • A new background accessibility checker will provide a prompt to fix accessibility issues in content across the core Office apps and Outlook will nudge users to correct accessibility issues.
  • AI in Microsoft Word will detect and convert to heading styles crucial for blind and low-vision readers.
  • A new Excel navigation pane designed for screen readers will help people easily discover and navigate objects in a spreadsheet.
  • We’re expanding Immersive Reader, used by 35 million people every month, to help with the comprehension of PowerPoint slides and notes.
  • In Teams, high-contrast mode can be used to access shared content using PowerPoint Live  which will reduce eye strain and accommodate light sensitivity with Dark Mode in Word.
  • New LinkedIn features that include auto-captioning for LinkedIn Live broadcasts, captions for enterprise content and dark mode later this year.

More than 1 billion people around the world live with a disability, and at some point, most of us likely will face some type of temporary, situational or permanent disability. The practical impacts are huge. 

Addendum on 5/6/21:

 

A lack of devices but a heroic effort by teachers — from global-edtech.com by Dorothy Lepkowska
EDUCATE webinar hears how countries coped with the Covid school shutdown

Excerpts:

As in many countries, including the UK, schools and students in Portugal were hindered by a lack of devices, Huge Fonseca, an EdTech innovator, told the webinar.  He said teachers were “superheroes” and did what they could to connect with pupils, including distributing work on bicycles.

He said: “In Portugal there is a lack of devices and a lack of teacher training. The profession is among the oldest in Europe, and half of teachers are more than 50 years old. There is no government support to develop them, and if you leave teachers without learning new skills for 20 years or more then it is hard for them to adapt. We need more young people to go into teaching.”

In Uruguay, more coherence was needed between the distribution of technology and teacher training.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, there was a roll-out of technology but little training for teachers.

In Zambia, however, the pandemic offered an opportunity for project-based learning to address some of the problems faced by communities.

She said the pandemic had shone a light on the heroic work of teachers and there was a “shift in perceptions about teachers, and the importance of face-to-face teaching as a valued part of civil society”.

Also see:

 

Unbundled law firms find success offering virtual legal services — from abajournal.com by Lyle Moran; with thanks to Gabe Teninbaum for this resource

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

The Law Shop by Skogerson McGinn in Van Meter, Iowa, provides unbundled legal services, which means it helps clients with specific legal tasks rather than assisting them with their entire cases or matters.

In the family law realm, its unbundled offerings include coaching self-represented litigants on filling out divorce forms and preparing child support worksheets.

By emphasizing this nontraditional approach, also known as limited-scope representation, The Law Shop has attracted inquiries from consumers across the state seeking affordable legal assistance.

 

“Endurance is essential” – Flat 70’s fight to support Black visual artists — from itsnicethat.com by Jenny Brewer
Siblings Anthony and Senam Badu founded the non-profit after they lost their home to the regeneration of the Aylesbury Estate, wanting to support and save space for its community.

A New Angle is an editorial series that aims to give a platform to creative industry changemakers who make it their mission to disrupt the status quo. Each week we’ll chat to a person or team doing important work in the sector, making it a fairer place, championing vital causes, supporting underrepresented groups and tackling pertinent issues facing creatives everywhere.

This week we hear from siblings Senam and Anthony Badu, who in February 2020 saw their Aylesbury Estate home demolished and, that very same month, set up non-profit arts organisation Flat 70. They saved the door number from the flat and attached it to the front of their new arts space, symbolic of a phoenix rising from the ashes, and a constant reminder of their mission to support and save their community from being repeatedly “devalued, erased or co-opted”.

A picture of two black children dressed up in colorful clothes

 

Law Society votes to approve regulatory sandbox for innovative legal tech development — from lawtimesnews.com by Aidan Macnab

Excerpt:

At Convocation Thursday morning, the Law Society of Ontario passed a motion to launch a five-year regulatory sandbox pilot for innovative legal tech services.

The initiative recommended by the Law Society’s technology task force would open up a regulatory safe zone for innovative technological legal services. Participants will report to and be monitored by the Law Society, which will study the sandbox to inform policy and regulatory decision-making.

Rocket Lawyer Raises $223 Million To Meet Growing Demand For Its Services — from lawsitesblog.com by Bob Ambrogi

Excerpt:

The online legal services provider Rocket Lawyer has raised $223 million in growth capital financing to help it meet what it says has been a strong and accelerating demand for its digital legal documents and advice.

Legal technology start-up JUSTLAW notches an impressive milestone — from einnews.com
Small business legal protection offering experiences rapid growth.

Excerpt:

NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, April 13, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ — Launched in 2020 in the face of the worst pandemic in a century, legal tech startup JUSTLAW set out with the lofty vision to give ordinary Americans access to top attorneys on a 24/7 basis. It’s working. The number of small businesses enrolled in its small business legal protection plan just surpassed 1,000.

 

How to Design a Hybrid Workplace — from nytimes.com

Excerpt:

But many companies have hatched a postpandemic plan in which employees return to the office for some of the time while mixing in more work from home than before. The appeal of this compromise is clear: Employers hope to give employees the flexibility and focus that come from working at home without sacrificing the in-person connections of the office.

From DSC:
There has been — and likely will continue to be — huge pressure and incentives put on companies like Cisco, Zoom, Microsoft, and others that develop the products and platforms to help people collaborate and communicate over a distance. It will be very interesting to see where these (and other) vendors, products, and platforms are 2-3 years from now! How far will we be down the XR-related routes?

How will those new ways of doing things impact telehealth? Telelegal? Virtual courts? Other?

 

A reasonable robot in the eyes of the law — from innovationaus.com by Stuart Corner

Excerpts:

“But what happens when an autonomous vehicle kills someone? A robot is not subject to the law. So is the car manufacturer liable, or the developer of the software? And how do you pinpoint the cause of such an accident?”

You can’t tax a robot worker
“If my employer, the University of Surrey could get a robot to automate my job, which they will someday, they would save money doing that, even if we were both equally good, because they have to make National Insurance contributions [a UK earnings tax that funds state pensions and other benefits] for my work and a host of other reasons, but the machine is taxed more favourably.

 

All Eyes on Utah: Launching the ‘First Nonlawyer-Owned’ Law Firm — from law.com by Alaina Lancaster
Daniel Wilde, an attorney for Law On Call, which claims to be the first nonlawyer-owned law firm in the nation, says the entire country can benefit from the innovative business models coming out of Utah.

Excerpt:

[The week of April 5], a registered agent service provider announced that it launched the first nonlawyer-owned law firm in the United States.

The move comes after the Utah Supreme Court approved a pilot program that would allow nonlawyers to provide certain legal services—a proposition that’s been kicked around in California, Arizona, Illinois and the District of Columbia. Under Northwest Registered Agent’s Law On Call model, clients can pay a $9 monthly subscription, where they can ring up lawyers directly. They can also hire Law on Call’s attorneys for legal work at discounted rates.

 

This is an abstract picture of a person's head made of connections peering sideways -- it links to Artificial intelligence and the future of national security from ASU

Artificial intelligence and the future of national security — from news.asu.edu

Excerpt:

Artificial intelligence is a “world-altering” technology that represents “the most powerful tools in generations for expanding knowledge, increasing prosperity and enriching the human experience” and will be a source of enormous power for the companies and countries that harness them, according to the recently released Final Report of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence.

This is not hyperbole or a fantastical version of AI’s potential impact. This is the assessment of a group of leading technologists and national security professionals charged with offering recommendations to Congress on how to ensure American leadership in AI for national security and defense. Concerningly, the group concluded that the U.S. is not currently prepared to defend American interests or compete in the era of AI.

Also see:

EU Set to Ban Surveillance, Start Fines Under New AI Rules — from bloomberg.com by Natalia Drozdiak

Excerpt:

The European Union is poised to ban artificial intelligence systems used for mass surveillance or for ranking social behavior, while companies developing AI could face fines as high as 4% of global revenue if they fail to comply with new rules governing the software applications.

Also see:

Wrongfully arrested man sues Detroit police over false facial recognition match — from washingtonpost.com by Drew Harwell
The case could fuel criticism of police investigators’ use of a controversial technology that has been shown to perform worse on people of color

Excerpts:

A Michigan man has sued Detroit police after he was wrongfully arrested and falsely identified as a shoplifting suspect by the department’s facial recognition software in one of the first lawsuits of its kind to call into question the controversial technology’s risk of throwing innocent people in jail.

Robert Williams, a 43-year-old father in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills, was arrested last year on charges he’d taken watches from a Shinola store after police investigators used a facial recognition search of the store’s surveillance-camera footage that identified him as the thief.

Prosecutors dropped the case less than two weeks later, arguing that officers had relied on insufficient evidence. Police Chief James Craig later apologized for what he called “shoddy” investigative work. Williams, who said he had been driving home from work when the 2018 theft had occurred, was interrogated by detectives and held in custody for 30 hours before his release.

Williams’s attorneys did not make him available for comment Tuesday. But Williams wrote in The Washington Post last year that the episode had left him deeply shaken, in part because his young daughters had watched him get handcuffed in his driveway and put into a police car after returning home from work.

“How does one explain to two little girls that a computer got it wrong, but the police listened to it anyway?” he wrote. “As any other black man would be, I had to consider what could happen if I asked too many questions or displayed my anger openly — even though I knew I had done nothing wrong.”

Addendum on 4/20/21:

 

Even as colleges pledge to improve, share of engineering and math graduates who are Black declines — from hechingerreport.org by Melba Newsome; with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
The supply of Black scientists, engineers and mathematicians is flat or falling even as demand goes up

Excerpt:

Black enrollment in STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — is among the issues that urgently demand attention, said Cato Laurencin, CEO of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science. “We need to move from talking about the issue of Blacks in STEM and systemic racism to making concrete changes,” Laurencin said.

The proportion of bachelor’s degrees in science awarded to Black graduates remained flat at about 9 percent from 2001 to 2016, according to the most recent available figures from the National Science Foundation; in engineering, it declined from 5 percent to 4 percent; and in math, it dropped from 7 percent to 4 percent.

 

 

 

Improving Digital Inclusion & Accessibility for Those With Learning Disabilities — from by Meredith Kreisa
Learning disabilities must be taken into account during the digital design process to ensure digital inclusion and accessibility for the community. This comprehensive guide outlines common learning disabilities, associated difficulties, accessibility barriers and best practices, and more.

“Learning shouldn’t be something only those without disabilities get to do,” explains Seren Davies, a full stack software engineer and accessibility advocate who is dyslexic. “It should be for everyone. By thinking about digital accessibility, we are making sure that everyone who wants to learn can.”

“Learning disability” is a broad term used to describe several specific diagnoses. Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, nonverbal learning disorder, and oral/written language disorder and specific reading comprehension deficit are among the most prevalent.

 
An image of a barrier being torn down -- revealing a human mind behind it. This signifies the need to tear down any existing barriers that might hinder someone's learning experience.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian