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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

IT academy opens its doors at New College | Swindon Advertiser

"NEW College's new academy offering IT training and apprenticeships launched last week." continues Swindon Advertiser.

Launch of the new IT skills and apprenticeships academy at New College..
Pic - gv.Date 11/5/17.Pic by Dave Cox.

The risual Microsoft Academy is the only one of its kind in Wiltshire and has been developed in partnership with Microsoft and risual Education.

48 people attended the launch evening, including employees, guests and staff from New College, risual, Microsoft, Nationwide, Bath Spa University, Great Western Hospital and the University of Gloucestershire.

Amanda Walton is New College's head of marketing and customer services. She was very excited about the new academy.

She said: "It went really well, it was a very successful and interesting evening.
"The event was an opportunity to showcase this fantastic new academy we are launching."

The academy is aimed at adults and 16-to-18-year-olds.

It will offer a range of apprenticeships including software development and infrastructure technician, and other IT training and digital learning classes.

The courses are linked to industry-recognised qualifications and students will used the latest Microsoft technology during their studies. 

Source: Swindon Advertiser

BLADE laptop deployment almost finished in city | Cleveland Daily Banner

Photo: Saralyn Norkus
"Cleveland City Schools’ laptop deployment with the Blended Learning and Digital Enhancement Project has almost been 100 percent rolled out" says Saralyn Norkus, Education/nonprofit reporter at Cleveland Daily Banner.

A TABLE FILLED with Apple MacBook Air laptops awaited teachers as they filed into the Arnold Memorial Auditorium on Monday afternoon.
Photo: Saralyn Norkus

Teachers began receiving their new Apple MacBook Air laptops last week, and by Thursday, Cleveland High School teachers will receive theirs, thus finishing the deployment. 

BLADE is the school system’s 1:1 device initiative for both staff and students, which will “help foster an innovative culture that brings together the best methods and practices of teaching with current technologies to promote new and relevant learning opportunities for students.” 

“The BLADE Project will allow our teachers to personalize learning to the individual student. In no way will a technology device ever replace a teacher, but the idea is to provide the teacher will the tools necessary to continue with innovative practices in the classroom,” said Director of Schools Dr. Russell Dyer.

“In reality, our students are already living in a digital world. Our job is to harness that digital world, and help our students to be positive digital citizens.”

Students will be receiving Google Chromebooks, beginning at the middle school level in January 2018. Ultimately, every single CCS student will have a Chromebook for classroom and home use. 

“The BLADE Project is all about giving teachers and students the tools they need to accomplish the educational goals of Cleveland City Schools,” said Andrew Phillips, BLADE Project coordinator and director of technology. 

“With new Apple laptops for teachers, Chromebooks for students, and software tools that personalize learning, the BLADE Project will prepare our students for life after graduation.”

Teachers at Arnold Memorial Elementary School received their MacBooks on Monday afternoon. 

Principal Mike Chai, who was a part of the BLADE team, is excited about the rollout, but is also looking forward to the training portion.

Source: Cleveland Daily Banner

Westford ‘Classroom of the Future’ project builds momentum | Westford Eagle

"What will the jobs of the future look like? How do we prepare students to be innovators when they are in high school, middle school and even as young as elementary school?" writes

That is the focus of the “Classroom of the Future” initiative, one of three key 2016-2017 goals that Westford School Superintendent Everett “Bill” Olsen reviewed at the May 22 School Committee meeting. The committee was preparing for its annual assessment of Olsen’s job performance.

The two-year Classroom of the Future mission is “to establish a conceptual model of what educating students in Westford will look like over the next 5-10 years,” Olsen said.

“We know we prepare them well for college,” said Olsen. “We also want to make sure that we prepare them well for work-life.”

System-wide committee
Westford’s Classroom of the Future committee of 26 includes representatives from each school, the central office, and guests Anita Greenwood, dean of the School of Education at UMASS Lowell, and David Birnbach, professor of Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

“We had five excellent meetings,” said Olsen. The superintendent challenged the committee to determine how Westford could educate students “based on current and projected global jobs and labor needs.”

“We wanted to look at short-term and long-term changes we could make to the school system,” he said.

The committee also reached out to an educational consultant associated with High Tech High School in San Diego, California, who will be involved during the 2017-2018 school year.

Creativity and innovation
According to the committee findings, increased student engagement is critical for Westford’s Classroom of the Future. The committee brainstormed strategies to increase engagement by focusing on the “4Cs”: collaboration, creativity, communication, and critical thinking.

Source: Westford Eagle

Friday, May 19, 2017

How this NGO is tapping into music to enhance learning capabilities of underprivileged children |

Photo: Hema Vaishnavi
Music Basti has worked with hundreds of children through community music projects with an aim to create learning and exposure opportunities, summarizes Hema Vaishnavi, Contributor from Hyderabad.


The relation between music and learning has long been established. The popular Mozart Effect, which indicates the improvement in learning abilities when exposed to a certain kind of music, has been proved by various scientific studies.

While there are numerous studies conducted over the decades on the effect of music on learning and the cognitive processes, most education systems around the world haven’t taken extensive efforts to incorporate music into teaching and learning.

Faith Gonsalves, a 27-year-old from Delhi, who believes in the use of music and arts learning as subjects and as pedagogical tools, founded Music Basti, a music education programme for children from marginalised communities.

Music Basti 
Music Basti was set up as a small artiste-led initiative in 2008, by Faith, a then student at Lady Sri Ram College, Delhi, along with a team of musician-volunteers. The project’s team shared vision for every child to have inspiring learning opportunities.

In its initial years, Music Basti’s programme was largely volunteer-driven through a series of short-term projects, with a focus on creating learning and exposure opportunities for hundreds of at-risk children in institutionalised child-care organisations.

Today’s children need much more than to just be taught how to learn and remember facts. Students need content knowledge about language, math, science or civics, but equally, they need learning and innovation skills or ‘life-skills’, such as collaboration, communication, critical thinking and creativity for success in today’s world.

“Music is more than just about performing or entertaining. It builds practical, transferable and applicable skills in areas of school, work, or social development. Every child has the ability and right to excel if given the opportunities and encouragement,” says Faith.

Since 2008, Music Basti has been teaching a mixture of musical training, songwriting, and performing to the under-privileged and young kids. The team believes that children from lower socio-economic groups are extremely disadvantaged in their access to quality learning and opportunities in and out of school, to learn, be encouraged, and excel. The only thing separating them from their more affluent peers is opportunity.


Music program helping improve learning for Danville preschoolers | WSLS

Photo: Colter Anstaett
"Around 100 preschoolers graduated from Danville's head start program Thursday and now have a Head Start on the rest of their education thanks to the new program they participated in called Growing Up Musically." reports Colter Anstaett, Southside Bureau Reporter. 

Watch the Video

"Last year, we began a partnership with Averett University (for GUM), Growing Up Musically program, that enriched our students' musical knowledge and experience," said Head Start education director Jion Word.

Part of that enrichment includes incorporating music in different subjects.

"I have seen a great impact on their learning through music. They use music now to learn letters," Word said.

The program is funded by a donation from local residents Ben and Betty Davenport.

The donation pays for Averett assistant music professor Dr. Janet Phillips to work with students in the Head Start program using a curriculum developed from programming from Averett's music department.

"There's more and more research showing that music helps us learn, retain, even grow our brains," Phillips explained.

Averett education majors also work with the students and help teach other educators how to implement the program.

Source: WSLS

Social-Justice Math Class: ‘Math Has Been Used as a Dehumanizing Tool’ | National Review

‘Teaching Social Justice Through Secondary Mathematics’ was developed by Teach for America. 

Follow on Twitter as @KatTimpf
"A new online course instructs math teachers how to incorporate social-justice ideology into their lessons by discussing how mathematics has historically been used to oppress people" according to Katherine Timpf, National Review Online reporter.

Photo: Andrey Popov/Dreamstime
The class — titled “Teaching Social Justice Through Secondary Mathematics” — was developed by Teach for America and is being offered through edX, according to an article in Campus Reform.

“Do you ask students to think deeply about global and local social justice issues within your mathematics classroom?” the course overview asks. “This education and teacher training course will help you blend secondary math instruction with topics such as inequity, poverty, and privilege to transform students into global thinkers and mathematicians.” 

The idea behind the class is that many students are into the whole social-justice thing and that “setting the mathematics within a specially-developed social justice framework can help students realize the power and meaning of both the data and social justice concerns.”

According to Campus Reform, the class identifies five principles of “intersectional mathematics,” including “mathematical ethics:”
Mathematical ethics recognizes that, for centuries, mathematics has been used as a dehumanizing tool. Does one’s IQ fall on the lower half of the bell curve? Mathematics tells us that individual is intellectually lacking. Mathematics formulae also differentiate between the classifications of a war or a genocide and have even been used to trick indigenous people out of land and property

Source: National Review

New Summer Workshop Introduces High School, Undergraduate Students to Statistics and Related Careers | UKNow

Photo: Mallory Powell
"From May 22 through June 7, a new summer workshop will introduce high school and undergraduate students to statistics and careers in the field." inform
Flyer for Statistics Facts and Snack 2017 summer workshop

At “Statistics Facts and Snacks,” students will learn about what a statistician does, requirements to pursue higher education in statistics, and introductory statistical programming techniques. 

The workshop will meet daily from Monday, May 22 through Wednesday, June 7 (excluding Memorial Day), from 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. in the University of Kentucky Multidisciplinary Sciences building, room 333.

Participants must register to attend, and participants under 18 years old must have a parent or guardian register for them.

The “Statistics Facts and Snacks” summer workshop is presented by the UK College of Arts and Sciences Applied Statistics Lab and the UK Center for Clinical and Translational Science. Kristen McQuerry, PhD, director of the Applied Statistics Lab, will lead the program.

For any questions about the workshop, please contact

Source: UKNow (press release)

Gain an affordable international degree | Borneo Bulletin Online - National

"MALAYSIA has become an important higher education destination for international students from all over the world." continues Borneo Bulletin Online


The Malaysian Government has led considerable efforts over the last few years to make Malaysia an education hub for the region and beyond.

Bruneian students recognise the quality and choice that Malaysian institutions offer and Malaysia now attracts a significant proportion of Bruneians studying overseas.

Students will have the opportunity to find out about the exciting range of study options available in Malaysia at the StudyMalaysia Exhibition on May 21 at The Empire Hotel & Country Club.

The biggest draw for Malaysian institutions is the opportunity to gain a world-class qualification at a fraction of the cost. Malaysian private universities and colleges have set up strategic partnerships with leading institutions in the UK, US, Australia, France etc to offer foreign qualifications in Malaysia.

The student therefore has the assurance that the programme has gone through a rigorous quality control.

One of the options is the ‘3+0’ degree format whereby the student completes the entire degree in Malaysia but is awarded with a foreign degree qualification from the partner university overseas. The syllabus and assessment are the same as the partner university and the qualification will be identical to that obtained at the overseas institution.

Another attractive and cost-effective option is to enter a twinning degree programme – this is a transnational ‘2+0’ or ‘1+2’ degree programme whereby the student completes part of the course in Malaysia and then continues the studies at the twinning partner university. The student saves considerable money by doing part of the degree in Malaysia and also fulfils his dream of studying in a western university.

Malaysia has become a country of choice for reputable foreign universities to set up their branch campuses – currently there are 10 such campuses. Students have the option of completing their full degree in Malaysia or can spend one or two semesters at the main campus.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

It’s easier to get a place on a law degree than a European languages, history or philosophy degree | Legal Cheek

Exclusive: Law is the eighth most competitive university course.
Photo: Katie King
Katie King, reporter at Legal Cheek says, "Research into the percentage of UCAS applications that end in acceptances has shown law is not the ultra competitive course you might think it is."

Photo: Legal Cheek

Last year, 125,230 applications were made to study law at degree level. One fifth of these, 25,050, ended in an aspiring lawyer accepting their place at a higher education provider.
While it’s tempting to assume this means only one in every five law school applicants is successful, this isn’t the case.

UCAS users are able to submit applications to up to five universities (four for medicine, dentistry and veterinary science). This means the number of applicants will be closer to the number of acceptances, rather than the number of applications actually received by UCAS.

For some time, the myth that law is a super competitive course has begun to be dispelled. LLB places have gone up and up in recent years, to the point where some universities are struggling to fill their courses. Last year, almost a week after A-level results day, there were still places available at the likes of the universities of Leeds and Reading.

Source: Legal Cheek (blog)

Really long many words: week 7 | Honi Soit

"We ask students to explain their theses in 200 of the 1000 most common English words" summarizes Stephanie White,  Honi Soit.

Last year Steph White wrote a History and Philosophy of Science honours thesis on the problem of Underdetermination of theories by evidence as it applies in Bayesian and simple deductivist models of theory choice.

In science we try to find the truth, but we usually have many theories that work with the evidence we have. This means we do not know which one is true. This is bad because everyone thinks science knows what the truth is. In this long paper I explain how this problem exists in the theory of chance worked out in numbers, and show that it is the same problem as when you model science as a yes or no question.

If we think of science as a series of choices between theories then science may have forward movement to the truth. In this long paper I explain why this forward movement can happen in a good way, and will lead us to an end point of a theory about the world that is true. This would be good for science.

Source: Honi Soit 

Would Credentials Make the Higher Education CIO a "Professional"? | EDUCAUSE Review

Without generally recognized professional credentials, can the higher education CIO be called a "professional" leader in information technology? Or should we consider the job as descriptive rather than a career stage in a recognized profession? Does it even matter?

Photo: Kyle Johnson
"What skills does a CIO in higher education need, and what evidence might demonstrate possession of those skills?" notes Kyle Johnson, Dean for Information Technology & Services, Chaminade University of Honolulu.

Photo: EDUCAUSE Review

A recent discussion on an e-mail list I follow (yes, I still subscribe to and participate in e-mail lists) caused me to think about this question anew. With permission, here's part of what a colleague wrote:
"A related question that I sometimes ponder is whether CIO-hood is a genuine profession. As professionals (doctors, lawyers, librarians, and others) often remind me, a 'professional is someone who has completed extensive and rigorous training in order to obtain generally recognized credentials to practice in a specific field.' CIOs, on the other hand, come from a wide variety of backgrounds and, while there are graduate programs that provide concentrations in IT management, there is no widely accepted credential for CIO-hood. I've known CIOs with doctoral degrees, master's degrees, bachelor's degrees, and no degrees whatsoever. And, at least in my experience, degrees don't seem to be correlated with CIO success. So I guess my question back to you is, *should* there be a generally accepted training program and credential for CIO-hood?"
My first experience with a professional certification was in 1993 when I became a Certified Apple Repair Technician. I was one of two CARTs in my location, and this allowed the company to do Apple warranty repairs. I later also became a Certified Novell Administrator (CNA), mostly because my company needed a certain number of CNAs to get a reseller status they wanted. So by 1994 I was a two-time professional — and everything "professional" about my career has been downhill since.

After moving to higher education IT, I had a track record of continuous growth and improvement that helped the organization succeed and thrive, attended conferences that expanded my knowledge and network exponentially — and garnered absolutely no professional certifications. My professional downward spiral continued for over a decade until I landed my first CIO appointment in 2007, at which point I had evidently hit rock bottom and joined the amateur ranks permanently.

I have served as CIO at three different institutions, each of which has required a different set of skills. Some CIO positions are technical: you work right next to the other IT staff on much of the day-to-day technical work. Others are general: you set direction and mentor staff, but the staff members do most of the operational work. Some are utility oriented: you keep the network running and the servers on. Others are partnerships with the "business" side of the house: these are process and mission driven. Most are some combination.

While I long to be considered a professional, I'm hard pressed to say what a CIO certification in higher education would look like. If it covers only the core things that every CIO position probably has in common (leading an organization, managing staff, etc.) then it seems too watered down to call a CIO certification. If it covers more, certification as a CIO risks having multiple different specializations (large public, small public, R1 private, religiously affiliated private, community college, etc.).

At the end, if I were putting together a certification program, I would want to make sure that people in the CIO role (or interested in it) have:
  • a good core of leadership, management, and communication skills;
  • a broad enough understanding of IT to listen, ask good questions (and understand the answers), and evaluate impacts of decisions;
  • a passion for learning new things (and a tolerance for failure while learning them);
  • a social presence and a desire to contribute to the profession; and
  • the self-awareness to understand what kinds of institutions will match what they're looking for in a CIO role and the ability to figure that out during the interview process.
Of those, the last is perhaps the most important and most overlooked.
Read more... 

Source: EDUCAUSE Review

Where to Find Free Online Digital Marketing Training | Business 2 Community - BrandViews

"Whether you are new to digital marketing or want to expand your marketing skill set, there is sure to be a free course available online" continues Business 2 Community.

A local plumbing contractor trying to get his business found online.

A recent college grad who just accepted a marketing position in a manufacturing company and is in charge of increasing the brand’s social media reach.

A digital marketing agency content manager who is tasked with creating a content strategy for her clients but has no background in search engine optimization.

What do all of these people have in common?

They all need to learn the skills that it takes to be successful in digital marketing.

A recent article by HubSpot, 5 Essential Skills Marketers Need to Succeed This Year, included an infographic from TEKsystems listing the skills that are in demand by marketing leaders. Organizations investing in their marketing strategy are seeking knowledge and experience in key areas of digital marketing.

It was an eye-opening look at the vast array of skills needed to pull together a complete digital marketing strategy. The marketing subsets of digital advertising, social media, content development, web design and mobile marketing top the list of the most prized skills. Like many of the readers who commented on the article, I was left wondering, “so where do we go from here?” We now know what organizations want but where do we get those skills?

According to TEKsystems’ research, here is a list of the skills that marketers need to succeed.

Digital Advertising:

  • Digital business analytics
  • Digital project management
  • Graphic design
  • Pay-per-click analytics

Social Marketing:

  • Social media management
  • Digital business analytics
  • Content strategy
  • Creative direction

Website Design/Development

  • UX design
  • Front-end development
  • Web development
  • Content creation and management
  • Consumer/behavioral analytics
  • Product management

Content Development

  • Content management
  • Digital project management
  • Web/traffic analytics
  • Content creation and management

Mobile Marketing

  • Mobile design
  • Mobile development
  • Web/traffic analytics
  • E-commerce analytics
You’ll notice that some skills are important in more than one subcategory of digital marketing, for example, analytics, project management, and content creation and strategy. If you are working for a small agency or local business, you may have responsibilities in several areas of your firm’s marketing department and will need a broad range of skills.
Read more... 

Source: Business 2 Community

Entrepreneurship courses available to campuses through Digital Learning Co-op | Penn State News

"Three core courses required for students enrolled in the Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI) are now available to all Penn State campuses through the Digital Learning Cooperative, an administrative system that assists campuses and colleges in the sharing of online, hybrid and video courses" inform Penn State News.
Three core courses required for students enrolled in the Intercollege Minor in Entrepreneurship and Innovation (ENTI) are now available to all Penn State campuses through the Digital Learning Cooperative.
Photo: Penn State

Through the use of the cooperative, any campus can now expect regular access to the 9 credits that form the core of the ENTI minor curriculum: MGMT 215: The Entrepreneurial Mindset; ENGR 310: Entrepreneurship Leadership; and MGMT 425: New Venture Creation.

No transfer of funds from campuses will be required for access to these courses, as the regular credit-hour fees for the Digital Learning Cooperative have been waived.

Photo: Anne Hoag
Anne Hoag, ENTI minor director and associate professor of communications, applauded the collective work across units in support of the initiative. “This was a complex and collaborative effort, with the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses, Office of Undergraduate Education, Smeal College of Business, and World Campus stepping up to defray expenses and donate services and expertise,” said Hoag. “The result is removal of a major barrier to entrepreneurship education at smaller campuses."

In fall 2017, faculty from Penn State Abington, Berks and University Park will teach the three ENTI core courses online.

Dan Goldberg, a lecturer in business at Penn State Abington and successful business owner, will teach ENGR 310, and knows first-hand the impact this type of education can have. “Our country, which was founded in the Commonwealth, is based on entrepreneurship and innovation. Small business is the backbone of America. Since almost all businesses started off as a small business, it's important for our students to know how to create and build successful enterprises that help Pennsylvania, and the rest of our country, to grow and prosper.”

According to Goldberg, the ENTI minor has been quite successful at Abington, as the campus ranks second in ENTI enrollment next to University Park. One of the students it counts among its successes is Dylan Weisman, a 2016 graduate in business management and marketing with a minor in the ENTI New Ventures cluster.

“The ENTI minor had a profound effect on me,” said Weisman, currently an MBA student at Penn State Great Valley. “You learn a lot of macro concepts in business and marketing classes, and ENTI allowed me to take all those concepts and apply them to a small business.”

Weisman, who described himself as a serial-entrepreneur, is using his entrepreneurial skills to run an event and entertainment business, Flare Event Group, that he founded in 2011. He credits his ENTI professors for making the minor’s classes stand-out amongst others. “The professors are all business owners and have real-world experience to back their knowledge. That makes a huge difference.”

For Weisman, completing the minor paid immediate dividends, and he hopes to use what he’s learned by giving back to the entrepreneurship community at Abington. “The whole reason I’m getting my MBA is so I can come back to Abington to be an adjunct professor in the ENTI minor,” said Weisman.

Source: Penn State News

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Project Tomorrow report details students' digital learning preferences | Education Dive

Photo: Roger Riddell
"56% of students are reportedly using technology to learn outside of school more often than at school, and demand for online options is rising" reports Roger Riddell, Editor. 

Photo: Education Dive

Dive Brief:
  • According to the "Speak Up 2016 Research Project for Digital Learning" report from Project Tomorrow, 56% of students report using technology to learn outside of school more often than at school. 
  • The report, which details student digital learning habits and preferences, also shows rising student demand for a wider variety of online course and subject options among those who have taken online courses in math, science and English, eSchool News reports.
  • Also among the findings: Chromebook numbers have doubled since 2014, students in 6th grade and beyond are increasingly using mobile devices for self-directed activities including research (84%) and note-taking (40%), 42% lament the amount of rules around tech usage, 66% still prefer conferencing with teachers in the classroom, and 68% of boys and 58% of girls in grades 3-8 want to learn how to code.
Dive Insight: 
With the increasing prevalence of technology in classrooms and homes, it's no surprise that student preferences are increasingly in favor of tech-driven solutions. But those advanced methods have also brought a need for greater focus on soft skills around digital citizenship.

Recommended Reading: 
eSchool News  
Startling: New report reveals 10 ways students are outpacing their schools

Source: Education Dive

Digital Learning Threatens To Leave Some Students Behind | WUNC

Photo: Lisa Philip
"North Carolina lawmakers are banking on the benefits of digital learning. Four years ago they passed legislation requiring that state funding for textbooks be replaced by funds for digital materials." says Lisa Philip, Education Reporter.

Fifth-graders at Mariam Boyd Elementary in Warrenton, North Carolina, use Chromebooks to answer questions about a story they’re reading. Their teacher, Charis Shattuck, says the technology allows her to review her students’ work in real-time and give them immediate feedback.
Photo: Lisa Philip / WUNC
The deadline is this summer. But educators and student advocates say the transition threatens to leave behind the many kids who can’t access high-speed internet at home. 

Driving into Warrenton is like stepping back in time. The town of 800 or 900 is filled with centuries-old housing, churches, and storefronts. Step into its elementary school, and you’ll rejoin the present – or even catch a glimpse into the future.

In a back hallway, in a fifth-grade classroom, each student huddles over a Chromebook. They’re using the devices to answer questions about a story, with occasional help from their teacher, Charis Shattuck. 

“A lot of people assume that when you take technology into the classroom, the teacher is out of the classroom, or that the teacher isn’t directly involved with the students,” Shattuck said. 

Shattuck said this isn’t the case. 

“A lot of the apps that I use or the programs that I use, allow me to go and see their work live,” she said. “And I can shoot them feedback, or as I’m walking around the room, I can help them.”

But what about when Shattick’s students go home? 

Some 40 percent of Warren County households lack high-speed internet access, according to the Federal Communications Commission. 

“As we move more toward a digital age, and you know, the story with the digital textbooks, and digital resources. When students are at home, some have access, and some do not,” said Ernest Conner, Jr., director of technology for Warren County schools. “So all of our students are not on the same playing field.” 

Educators worry lack of home broadband access in rural and low-income communities is widening learning gaps. That’s because online resources allow those students with access to deepen their knowledge of classroom material – even after they leave school. 

“When students have access, there’s a certain amount of curiosity, there’s a certain amount of freedom to explore new and different things,” said Ray Spain, superintendent of Warren County schools. “And they need that.”

Source: WUNC

Your art degree might save you from automation, an AI expert says | Quartz

Follow on Twitter as @davegershgorn
"When machines control all the world’s finances and run factory floors, what will humans be left to do?" argues Dave Gershgorn, Artificial intelligence reporter.

Kai-Fu Lee gives us some hope.
Photo: Quartz/ Johnny Simon

We’ll make art, says Kai-Fu Lee, a former Google and Microsoft executive who has since launched VC firm Sinovation Ventures.

“Art and beauty is very hard to replicate with AI. Given AI is more objective, analytical, data driven, maybe it’s time for some of us to switch to the humanities, liberal arts, and beauty,” Lee told Quartz editor-in-chief Kevin Delaney during a live Q&A session. “Maybe professions where it’s hard to find a job might be good to study.”

Students now deciding whether to pursue arts or sciences face an uncertain future: While automation is just starting to impact the workforce, Lee believes that 50% of jobs held by humans today will be automated in 10 years, extrapolating from an often-cited 2013 Oxford study. Jobs that require “less than five seconds of thinking” will be among the first to disappear, Lee says. He offers receptionists and factory workers as examples, which have already faced some level of automation. Next will be jobs that rely on crunching numbers, where data is available to make decisions, like bankers, traders, and insurance adjusters.

While art isn’t on Lee’s list of skills that will be replaced by AI, both large tech companies and small startups have dedicated resources to making AI that can generate artistic images, doodles, music, and entertainment. Google’s Magenta project has the sole purpose of developing creative artificial intelligence and is working to make AI sketch, while Sony frequently releases research on generating new music—even actress Kristen Stewart has explored using AI to help her make art.
Read more... 

Source: Quartz

The Lack of Intelligence About Artificial Intelligence | Forbes

Photo: Stephen J. Andriole
"Artificial intelligence (AI) will displace knowledge workers at a rapid pace. There's very little acknowledgment of the problem and the collective understanding of the inevitable impact of AI is weak." according to Steve Andriole, Thomas G. Labrecque Professor of Business Technology in the Villanova School of Business at Villanova University.

Photo: JOSEP LAGO/AFP/Getty Images

Everyone’s talking about artificial intelligence (“AI”). Most of the talk is wrong, misleading and often intended to frighten us about a future that’s unlikely to occur. AI will not steal our babies, hold us hostage for Bitcoins or start nuclear wars. But it will fundamentally change the labor market through the intelligent automation of many routine tasks individuals and companies perform all the time.

First, let’s acknowledge the lack of intelligence around artificial intelligence.  Members of the United States Congress know little or nothing about the technology – which is worrisome on many levels, especially when we consider the technology’s inevitable impact on the US and global economies. Most CEOs – and even most CIOs and CTOs – also know very little about AI – though when surveyed list AI as one of the most important technologies of the 21st century. The judicial system has its head in the sand. The general population understands AI the way Hollywood dramatizes it, like the way it was exhibited in 1992 in Minority Report and 1999 in The Matrix and, more recently, in Her and HBO’s Westworld. Try this: go to a party and randomly ask people what they think about AI. I’ve done it several times and the wordcloud shows robotics, Alexa, Watson and Westworld, but nothing about machine learning, knowledge representation or neural networks. Or about the impact it will inevitably have.

Those who develop and sell AI understand the financial implications.  Amazon, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, Intel and Baidu – among many others – are racing to sell vitamin pills and pain relievers – smart applications that can make money and save money. The CEOs, COOs, CIOs and CTOs are waiting impatiently to deploy applications that will save them time, effort and money – especially money they now spend on humans. They see AI as a cost manager and a profit center.

But for the first time, AI will displace lots of knowledge workers – well-educated professionals – especially in the financial and service communities. AI’s impact on the transportation and manufacturing industries will also accelerate. Lots of pundits talk about the industries most likely to be impacted by AI, but very few talk about the small number of humans who create the technology, how the technology will inevitably become just another black box appliance or how the transition to machines will be managed. 

So what happens when displacement occurs?
Read more... 

Source: Forbes 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Can machine learning prevent another WannaCry? | Livemint

"While hackers are bound to be a step ahead of experts in most cases, technologies like machine learning that can automate the function of malware detection can help." inform Leslie D'Monte, Technology Editor, Mint. 

WannaCry malware is programmed to spread via SMB (Server Message Block), a protocol specific to Windows machines to communicate with file systems over a network.
Photo: Reuters

WannaCry, the malware that held over 200,000 individuals across 10,000 organizations in nearly 100 countries to ransom—demanding that they either cough up money or lose their data—may be on the wane but this is no time to be complacent.

While hackers are bound to be a step ahead of security experts and companies in most cases, the answer lies in seeking the help of newer technologies like machine learning that can automate the function of malware detection.

What does WannaCry do?
Also going by names such as WannaCrypt, WCrypt, WCRY, WannaDecrypt0r or WanaCrypt0r 2.0, ransomware WannaCry is designed to prevent access to a system until a sum of money is paid, usually in bitcoins. The malware is programmed to spread via SMB (Server Message Block), a protocol specific to Windows machines to communicate with file systems over a network.

WannaCry takes advantage of the machines that support this protocol but have not received the critical MS-17-010 security patch from Microsoft that was issued on 14 March.

Once the initial worm module is introduced to a system, according to Paladion Networks, it scans hosts on the local area network or LAN, while simultaneously scanning the Internet by generating random internet protocol (IP) addresses. “If connection to port 445 ( traditional Microsoft networking port) on that random IP address succeeds, the entire range is scanned, and if port 445 is found open, exploit attempts are made,” explained Sunil Gupta, president and chief operating officer of Paladion Networks.

While Microsoft released updates for the unsupported Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 and patches for the Windows 8 operating systems to combat the attack, no incidents of Microsoft Windows 10 being affected have been reported till now.

Russia and India were hit, largely because many users, companies and government departments still use the unsupported Microsoft’s Windows XP. “It indeed is the biggest ransomware outbreak in history in terms of infections. But as of Saturday morning, the day after the outbreak, it had only made a measly $25,000, according to our researchers,” said Amit Nath, head of Asia Pacific-corporate business at F-Secure Corp.

Nature of the ransomware beast
As the name suggests, it is a type of malware that prevents or limits users from accessing their system, either by locking the system’s screen or by locking the users’ files unless a ransom is paid.

According to security experts from Trend Micro Inc., ransomware can be downloaded on to systems when unwitting users visit malicious or compromised websites. Some ransomware are known to be delivered as attachments from spammed email, downloaded from malicious pages through mal-advertisements, or dropped by exploit kits on vulnerable systems. Once executed in the system, ransomware can either lock the computer screen, or, in the case of crypto-ransomware, encrypt predetermined files...

Can machine learning come to the rescue?
The simplest method to detect malware, security experts will tell you, is by using the “Hashing” method which checks the existence of a hash (#) sign in a database. Of course, this is a very tedious exercise. The other method involves the use of signatures where security experts looks for specific strings in the file. But this, too, can easily be bypassed by malware authors. Behaviour-based malware detection examines what the program does when executed.

The question, then, is whether we can automate this process of malware detection with machine learning?

Machine learning, which enables systems to learn from data sets without having to be programmed specifically, would be the next best weapon in this cyber war, Trend Micro security experts believe. It can take advantage of existing data to determine patterns and use those patterns to adjust its own actions. It could, thus, provide the key to detecting ransomware attacks before they become too widespread, providing the opportunity for an organisation to react ahead of malicious file encryption. 
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Source: Livemint