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Sunday, December 31, 2017

How to read more books in 2018 | Los Angeles Times - Books

Photo: Jessica Roy
In this article, author Jessica Roy, Contact Reporter at the Los Angeles Times encourages, in this year, read more books.

Give yourself the gift of reading more this year.
Photo: Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times

It's resolution time.

Will this be the year you hit the treadmill for an hour every day, make all your meals at home, learn a new language and max out your retirement savings accounts? Perhaps. But more often than not, New Year's resolutions are abandoned before the first gym payment goes through on your credit card.

This year, make a better resolution: Read more books. In fact, think of it less as a resolution, and more as a belated holiday gift to yourself.

Reading more was my resolution back in 2013. I realized I'd read maybe three books in the previous year. I joined Goodreads, a social media site for book lovers and got an L.A. Public Library card. I asked for an e-reader for Christmas that year. I joined a book club.

I set a goal to read 36 books. I wasn't too hard on myself as to what counted as reading a book. Audiobooks counted. Cookbooks counted, if I had read through most of the recipes. Graphic novels and comic books counted. Books I got halfway through and then abandoned for lack of interest counted.

Getting back into reading books has been one of the singularly most rewarding things I have done for myself in my adult life. I carry my Kindle everywhere, which means I always have something to do when I'm in a waiting room. And getting into a warm bed with a good book is one of life's singular great pleasures.

So do it. Read more books. Here are some ways to help you get started.

Buy an e-reader I love my e-reader. 
I have a Kindle that uses e-ink instead of backlighting, so it doesn't hurt my eyes or keep me up at night. I bought a cute cover that protects it inside my bag.

You can download thousands of free ebooks from Project Gutenberg and other sites. Download a bunch and peruse them at your leisure.

Use the library 
The L.A. Public Library is your secret weapon for reading more. I'm always surprised at how many people don't realize the library carries new releases in addition to classics. In just this year, I checked out and read new releases that include Roxane Gay’s “Hunger,” “Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid, “Lincoln in the Bardo" by George Saunders, Lindy West’s “Shrill” and “Artemis,” the new novel by Andy Weir.

I regularly read book reviews, and when I see something I like, I put it on hold. It's not always immediately available, but I can use the LAPL's site to track where I am in the holds list and see when my book is on its way. If a book you're excited about is coming out soon, you can put a hold on it before it's released and be at the top of the list.

(Sometimes I forget I put the book on hold at all until I receive an email saying it's on its way, which is the free equivalent of getting a package you forgot you ordered from Amazon.)

The L.A. Public Library lets you check out ebooks with a program called Overdrive. You put a hold on the ebook you want, and when it's available, you just click a couple of buttons and it sends it to your e-reader. You never even have to go to the physical library. The book lives on your e-reader for three weeks – or indefinitely, if you turn Wi-Fi off.

Source: Los Angeles Times

Happy New Year! Wish You A Great 2018!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all my readers and subscribers for your support and I hope that you continue to support my eLearning News with comments, suggestions in 2018.

A NASA Expert Says This Is The “Ultimate” Test for AI in Space Exploration | Futurism - Off World

In Brief  
Habitable worlds that hold the promise of extraterrestrial life are all extremely far from Earth. An artificial intelligence expert from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory thinks that reaching these worlds will be the ultimate test for AI in space exploration. 

What role does AI play in the search for life in the universe?

Photo: NASA

AI in Space Exploration 
Given the rate at which artificial intelligence (AI) has been advancing, it’s proving difficult to place bets on just how far the technology will be able to go. Not just here on Earth, but beyond, as researchers harness the power of AI in space exploration to take us to the outskirts of the universe.  According to Steve Chien, Technical Group Supervisor of the Artificial Intelligence Group and Senior Research Scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, not only is AI becoming an integral part of advancing space exploration, it has become clear that the search for extraterrestrial life could be the “ultimate test” for AI in space exploration. Such a search has long been believed to require the kind of creative and intuitive decision making that, for now at least, seems uniquely human.

Chien stated in an interview with Scientific American that “Unsupervised learning is extremely important to analyzing the unknown. A big part of what humans are able to do is interpret data that are unfamiliar.”

NASA is currently adopting a number of AI technologies, as are others working on space exploration ventures. According to Chien, the upcoming Mars 2020 Mission will incorporate three major areas of AI: the rovers themselves will be equipped for autonomous driving, the systems that assist the rovers in performing science tasks will make use of AI, and they will also have a “sophisticated scheduling system that enables them to be more dynamic” allowing the rovers to adjust their to-do list accordingly so that they don’t lag behind on productivity.

Life Out There While 
AI is a major tool to aid in space exploration, the search for life in the universe is also a testing grounds for those AI technologies.
Read more... 

Scientific American, NASA

Source: Futurism

The Verge 2017 tech report card: Artificial intelligence and robotics | The Verge - Robot

Photo: James Vincent
Artificial intelligence boomed this year like few other areas in tech, but despite the scientific breakthroughs, glut of funding, and new products rolling out to consumers, the field has problems that can’t be ignored, argues James Vincent, cover machines with brains for The Verge, despite being a human without one.

Photo: Hanson Robotics

Some of these, like company-driven hype and sensationalist headlines, need better communication from the media and experts. Others challenges are more nuanced and will take longer to address, such as bias in algorithms and the growing threat of tech firms becoming AI monopolies as they hoover up data and talent.

But first, the good stuff. Artificial intelligence was everywhere in 2017, and although you’re right to be skeptical when you hear this, it’s positive news. Experts compare AI to electricity because it’s a resource with the potential to transform a broad range of industries. Sure, there are particularly important technologies in each sector (like autonomous driving in transportation), but it’s the smaller implementations of machine cleverness that may add up to have the biggest impact.

Big tech companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, and Facebook have poured tons of money into the AI field, but it’s fair to say the end-results are often small-scale. Google’s put AI in a camera that automatically snaps photos of your family, and Apple’s new animated emojis is powered by facial recognition. These things won’t change the world, but collectively they build new efficiencies and new experiences.

Compare to this steady drip of AI integration, academic research was a raging torrent. Labs and universities published papers at a higher volume in 2017 than ever before, and big names like DeepMind made significant breakthroughs. (The company’s work removing human knowledge from its champion AlphaGo algorithm and then proving its skills work in other games spring to mind.) Congratulations should be somewhat constrained, as there’s a case to be made that the current wave of AI is supported by too few core innovations. But by no means has basic research stopped, and some radical new approaches are showing the first stirrings of life. 

Robots also stirred to life in 2017, though the year revealed both the limits of current tech and its future promise. A lot of effort is going into applying the fruits of AI to current industrial robots, with companies like Kindred, Embodied Intelligence, Amazon, and Ocado working on dextrous and dynamic machines for warehouses and assembly lines. Advances here could have a huge effect in a range of industries, as robots get put to work pretty much anywhere stuff needs moving about.

Source: The Verge 

AI is learning from our encounters with nature — and that's a concern | ABC Online - Analysis & Opinion

This article was originally published on The Conversation.

"The idea seems wonderful — a phone app that allows you to take a photo of a plant or animal and receive immediate species identification and other information about it." says Andrew Robinson,  Communications Scientist and Scholar at the Australian National University.  

A "Shazam for nature" sounds wonderful, but what are its true implications?
Photo: ABC Open contributor merrijignic

A "Shazam for nature", so to speak.

We are building huge repositories of data related to our natural environments, making this idea a reality.

But there are ethical concerns that should be addressed: about how data is collected and shared, who has the right to share it and how we use public data for machine learning.
And there's a bigger concern — whether such apps change what it means to be human.

Encounters with dandelions 
Oliver Sacks, the brilliant neurologist and author, once arranged to take a group of his patients on a field trip to the New York Botanic Garden. One of his patients, a severely autistic young man named Steve, hadn't stepped outside the facility for years. He never spoke; indeed, the doctors believed him incapable of speech.

In the gardens with Sacks, however, the invigorated Steve plucked a flower, and to the surprise of everyone, uttered the word "dandelion."
Over the last decade, this affinity so many of us feel for nature — what the famed biologist Edward Wilson termed "biophilia" — has resulted in an explosion of big data.
In the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF, an online database run out of Copenhagen) there are 682,447 records of human encounters with dandelions. Overall, the database holds more than 850 million observations of over 1 million different species of flora and fauna.

It's an impressive achievement, a gestating, global catalogue of life. It allows us to see the world in new ways.

For example just this year, thanks to the more than 42,000 recorded sightings from more than 5,000 participants using, we've gained unprecedented insight into the behaviour of the world's largest fish species.

Or on an bigger scale, the millions of bird observations generated through an app called eBird have allowed us to visualise the precise migratory routes of over 100 different bird species.

At the same time, in an outcome largely unforeseen by its early collectors, info-engineers are using the data to train artificial intelligence (AI), particularly computer vision apps to help us interpret the plants and animals we see around us.

And these tools are raising some interesting, sometimes troubling questions.

Joseph Banks in your pocket 
In one sense, of course, such tools are magical. The fictional tricorder of Star Trek is a magnificent device, scanning alien life forms, making them familiar. If we had a version on Earth, it would be the equivalent of a pocket-sized Joseph Banks, a trusty sidekick of discovery, filling us with a sense of confidence and control.

In China the latest version of the Baidu browser (a so-called Chinese Google) comes with a plant recognition feature built into it. Point your camera at a dandelion and you'll see the Chinese name for it — 蒲公英.

Such apps are triggering a new wave of botanical interest among the general population in China.

But there are also questions about these AI tools interfering with our ability — perhaps a human need — to easily transfer our unique nature expertise to, or gain expertise from, other people. 
Read more... 

Source: ABC Online

As We Head Into 2018, Which Topics In AI And Machine Learning Are Still Mostly Hype? | Forbes

"As we enter into 2018, what are some of the topics in AI/ML that are mostly hype? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world" Quora , Contributor.

Answer by Hyrum Anderson, Technical Director of Data Science at Endgame, on Quora:

Photo: Shutterstock

As we enter into 2018, what are some of the topics in AI/ML that are mostly hype?

Let me break this down into a few categories. 

First, just a general note about how artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) have been misapplied generally in the infosec market. While it’s not incorrect to label what some infosec companies are doing as “Artificial Intelligence”, it’s certainly imprecise, and one can’t help but wonder whether there’s some latent hope to impress by sophistication. Let’s all just agree to this: if we’re talking about an autonomous agent intended to behave and interact and reason, I’m totally fine labeling that as AI. If we’re talking about a model trained on data to make predictions, let’s stick with ML (a subfield of AI). It’s probably the case that 90+% of product features that companies market as “AI” is actually “narrow AI” and specifically “ML”, but might be intended to conjure up images of “general AI” Jarvis or Hal9000. I think this is a disservice to customers/users, who at this point are sophisticated and intelligent enough to tell the difference. (Full disclosure: at Endgame, we market our Artemis intelligent assistant chatbot an AI, because it is an “agent that behaves/reasons/interacts”. Our next-gen AV features that detect malware and evil? Machine Learning.)

Next, let me take a kinder view of “overhyped” AI/ML in the sense that there’s a lot of excitement and buzz, but the real end-user product implications have yet to emerge, especially in infosec. In my opinion, it’s important to not dismiss this as compelling research, but it might require a few more years to move from “cool research” to “useful product”. In this category of “interesting research, but hard to pull off reliably at scale”, I’m going to lump in things I’ve researched and published on: generative adversarial networks (GANs) for infosec, and reinforcement learning (RL) for infosec. These are really cool topics that are moving very quickly, but in my experience, don’t work “right out of the box” for many infosec applications. (I say this only because of the large number of hours of my life spent tweaking and fiddling trying to get them to perform as hoped for infosec problems. With some marginal success.) Generally speaking, GANs are seeing a ton of research activity with impressive results—the excitement is totally warranted. Unfortunately, there’s also been a lack of systematic and objective evaluation metrics in their development. 

Source: Forbes 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

2017 indicates that 2018 will be the year of AI phones | PCMag India - Artificial intelligence

Sahil Mohan Gupta, Editor, PCMag India inform, "Every major tech headline of 2017 has had one underlying theme — Artificial intelligence."

Photo: PCMag India

Every major tech headline of 2017 has had one underlying theme — Artificial intelligence (AI). It has been all about AI, machine learning or deep learning. In 2017, we saw the rise of GPU makers like Nvidia as their products took the lead in driving the focus towards hardware solutions tailored for AI. Interestingly we also saw some phones that have started to come with dedicated hardware optimised for AI. If 2017 is an indicator, 2018 is likely to be the year of AI of phones. Every year we see one underlying technology come to the fore. For 2017, we could say it was bezel-less screens, like 2016 was the year of dual camera phones and 2018, could very well be the year of phones that tout AI optimised hardware.

Who innovated in 2017  
Right now, there are three to four companies that come to mind. Apple, Google, Huawei and Samsung are the likely contenders who could take the lead in this space. Huawei and Apple design their own processors and have already added dedicated neural processing units in their latest Kirin 970 and A11 processors which are used in phones like the soon to be launched Honor View 10 and iPhone 8 / iPhone X. Google has designed the Pixel Vision Core co-processor which has been activated with the Android Oreo 8.1 update and going by Samsung’s intense focus on Bixby it could be working on something as well. AI services and ambient computing concepts are a big priority at Samsung and there is a high possibility that it could be working on something that augments and enhances Bixby in its Galaxy S9, though Samsung didn’t announce anything specific for AI when it announced the Exynos 9810 processor in November...

Who is likely to lead in 2018 
It goes without saying that Apple is going to be a leader in this space having been the first company to have a neural chip in a phone that’s sold at scale. Apple has been a big proponent of on-device processing for privacy purposes as well. The next generation of the iPhone will obviously be a big deal; however, one shouldn’t discount the current iPhone X, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models which all also have this neural engine.

At the high-end of the spectrum, you can expect Google to double down on AI focused hardware. The Pixel Vision Core was its first attempt. For the Pixel 3, there could be something more advanced. Imagine, without even a processor on a phone that supports on-device machine learning Google was able to achieve incredible results on the Pixel 2 especially with the camera! Google was able to use its machine learning prowess to enable a portrait mode using just one camera. But then again, Google is the quintessential AI company. Google also bought HTC’s smartphone team to double down on the Pixel line, so one should expect something crazy AI focussed from Google in the latter half of 2018.

Samsung has been making some big jumps in the AI space. It bought Viv in 2016, which was created by the team behind Apple’s Siri. It then launched Bixby and has been expanding it as a platform. There is no hardware as of now to speak of, but Samsung can or rather should change this. It will be very surprising if they don’t have a mobile co-processor for AI for its phone next year.

Huawei is not be left alone in this space. Along with Apple, it is a leader in this space. It’s first AI focussed device was the Honor Magic which was a China focussed device. This year with the launch of the Kirin 970 processor, Huawei launched the Mate 10 devices this year, which have a huge AI focus. Yes, they may not sell even half as much as the iPhone, but for the Android pack, they have been leading AI implementations from a hardware perspective.
Read more... 

Source: PCMag India

Using Machine Learning To Study The String Landscape | Science Trends - Tech

Journal of High Energy Physics
The study, Machine learning in the string landscape was recently published in the Journal of High Energy Physics.

Is fundamental physics unified into a single theory governing all known phenomena, or are we forced to accept a fractured state of affairs where different phenomena are addressed by different theories? reports James Halverson and Brent Nelson.


This question has long been of first importance to theoretical physicists. Einstein, for example, spent many of his later years in search for a unified theory, with little success. Despite his brilliance, the deck was stacked against him, as certain aspects of fundamental physics such as the strong and weak nuclear forces were only just being discovered at the end of his life.

Today we have a more complete picture of the interactions of elementary particles and also a strong sense of what is difficult in the search for a unified theory: combining general relativity, Einstein’s theory of gravity, with quantum mechanics. The search for a unified theory is, therefore, a search for a quantum theory of gravity that has the ability to recover known phenomena in particle physics and cosmology, including the entire standard model of particle physics that has been tested for decades at particle accelerators such as the Large Hadron Collider. This search continues today.

String is a quantum theory of gravity that is perhaps the most promising candidate for a unified theory of physics. It satisfies a number of non-trivial necessary conditions that must be satisfied by any unified theory, including recovering general relativity at long distances and naturally giving rise to the building blocks of realistic cosmological and particle sectors. For these reasons string theory has been a primary focus of theoretical high energy physicists since an important breakthrough in 1984. In addition to continued progress toward unification, string theory has also spawned new subfields in physics and mathematics.

However, its extra dimensions of space must be wrapped up in a “compactification” in order to recover the three spatial dimensions that we observe, and there are many possible ways to do so. There are also many possible configurations of generalizations of electromagnetic fluxes in the extra dimensions. Together, these lead to a large “landscape” of solutions, known as vacua, and the different solutions realize many different incarnations of particle physics and cosmology. Taming the landscape is, therefore, a central problem in theoretical physics, and is critical to making progress in understanding unification in string theory.
Read more... 

Additional resources 
Machine learning in the string landscape (PDF) - Journal of High Energy Physics (2017)
"We utilize machine learning to study the string landscape"

Source: Science Trends

Let’s Have More Engagement From Lecturers | The University Times - Comment & Analysis

"In Trinity, we have world-leading lecturers with so much to give. Wouldn't increased student-lecturer contact make College a better place?" according to Alanna MacNamee, Contributing Writer


I recently met with one of my lecturers to discuss prospective essay titles for an upcoming assignment. Full disclosure: it was probably one of the most anxiety-inducing events of my month thus far (and I have the dubious pleasure of working in a bar during Twelve Pubs December).

I had to do pre-meeting deep breaths and I was horribly nervous about a potential handshake because my palms were so sweaty. I had to have a strong coffee afterwards.

I am an anxious person generally, and I would have to concede that my reaction was probably more extreme than that of the average student. But in light of the Irish Survey of Student Engagement’s findings about student dissatisfaction with student-staff interaction, I wonder whether my discomfort actually speaks to a university culture in which interactions between lecturers and students are all too rare, so much so that a face-to-face meeting becomes an occasion for worry and stress.

Seemingly, the major finding of the survey was that the interactions between students and staff were extremely dissatisfying as regards career plans and non-course specific activities and ideas. When I read this, my initial reaction was to wonder whether this was fair: can students really expect overworked lecturers to act as career guidance counsellors or to be involved in university life? 

If students feel as though lecturers are involved in university life surely they will feel more comfortable approaching their lecturers for advice and assistance?

On reflection, I think that maybe they can. If students feel as though lecturers are involved in university life, if they can establish a rapport, if not a relationship, surely they will feel more comfortable approaching their lecturers for advice and assistance? Furthermore, we are extremely fortunate in Trinity to have genuinely world-leading lecturers who would probably be better placed, with their experiential knowledge and contacts, than a generic guidance counsellor to provide students with subject-specific, real-world career advice.
Read more... 

Source: The University Times 

Friday, December 29, 2017

Things college professors called 'racist' in 2017 | Fox News - Education

Photo: Caleb Parke
Caleb Parke, associate editor for reports, "It seems like everything is racist these days, especially when it comes to American college campuses."

Professors have labeled everything from mathematics to college football as racist in 2017. 
Photo: istock
In the era of microaggressions, trigger warnings, and “safe spaces,” professors, in their efforts to purge the world of racism, have labeled just about everything under the sun – and moon – as such.

Here are a few of the more off-the-wall ones from 2017:


Add caption

A math education professor at the University of Illinois argues that white privilege is bolstered by teaching mathematics.

“On many levels, mathematics itself operates as whiteness,” Rochelle Gutierrez wrote. “Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as white.”

Farmers’ markets
Did you know that “farmers’ markets are often white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized”?

According to two geology professors at San Diego State University, farmers’ markets are contributing to “environmental gentrification.” 
Read more here…
Read more... 

Source: Fox News 

Robo teaching is code for learning | Noosa News

"PEREGIAN Springs pre-service teacher Gillian Larcombe is helping create resources to impart coding skills and robotic programing to children from Prep to Year 6" notes Noosa News.

NEW FIELD: USC pre-service teacher Gillian Larcombe is testing new learning ground.
Photo: Contributed
Gillian is one of five University of the Sunshine Coast education students who recently worked with Meridan State College to evaluate the resources they had created.

She also presented these resources at a coding and robotics workshop for regional teachers at the Digital Tech Expo at Mountain Creek State High School.

USC associate education lecturer Natalie McMaster said the project, called Digital Learning Designers, was an innovative way for the university students to gain wider field experience and contribute to the profe- ssion to which they aspired.

Ms McMaster said the USC students each took home a robot to work out how its functions could link to school subjects other than digital technology.
Read more... 

Source: Noosa News

New Digital Learning Initiative Moves Fulton Students Into 21st Century | Oswego Daily News - Community

"The Fulton City School District has embarked on a Digital Learning Initiative to provide digital equality as a way to empower all students with 21st Century tools" continues Oswego Daily News.

Fulton seventh graders utilize Chromebooks during a math lesson in Todd Parks’ classroom. Through the Fulton City School District’s Digital Learning Initiative, all students will eventually have access to Chromebooks to enhance their learning.
Photo: Oswego Daily News

FCSD Technology Director Dominick Lisi said the undertaking will provide each student in grades three through 12 with a Chromebook, while the district will also explore age-appropriate solutions for students in grades kindergarten through second.

“These devices open up the world to both teachers and students which are traditionally limited by resources and classroom environments designed for 19th Century learners,” he said. “Projects like the DLI provide our young learners with the resources, tools and instructional methodologies that will help prepare them for the future.”

Utilization of Chromebooks will foster immersion and engagement in academic lessons across core areas and facilitate critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity.

Lisi said as technology changes, the district will explore other device options that may best fit learning needs.

As of Dec. 15, all FCSD students in grades three, four, seven and eight were assigned Chomebooks, while the implementation of the device for students in grades five, six and nine through 12 will occur in the fall of 2018.

As the DLI moves forward, the district will provide a series of professional development strategies, programs and resources to fully prepare instructional staff for impending changes.

Diverse DLI connections for teachers are also available on the new FCSD Technology and Professional Development website to help the Fulton learning community follow the project, find relevant information and access professional development tools and resources.

The ongoing project began last year with pilot programs in several classrooms. Building upon knowledge gained throughout other districts across the nation will further ensure successful fulfillment of the local initiative, Lisi said.

Source: Oswego Daily News

Artscape: Striking A New Chord, Part 2 | Rhode Island Public Radio - Arts & Culture

"In part 2 of our series, "Striking a New Chord: A 15-Week Journey To Learning An Instrument," RIPR’s Morning Host Chuck Hinman continues to follow a group of adults learning to play string instruments for the first time." 

Beginners' ensemble at practice
Photo: Chuck Hinman / RIP

To really appreciate what it takes to learn this new skill, Hinman himself is part of the class and learning the cello. 

At this point, the class has completed more than half of the 15 scheduled weekly lessons, organized by the Community String Project, an group that specializes in making string lessons accessible and affordable to adults and children.

The students have been learning the basics: how to read music, use the bow and finger the notes, and how to develop their rhythm skills. It's all leading up to a concert recital at the end of January.

"As of right now, it's going to be Wednesday, January 31st," said the ensemble's teacher, Nathan Rodriguez. "We'll be playing in the Grand Ballroom at Linden Place, in Bristol."

Describing his experience learning to play the cello, RIPR's Chuck Hinman said he's been finding it rewarding, but also a bit frustrating, especially the practicing part. 

"It's a lonely activity," he said. "Just me and my impatience with the speed of my improvement."

But Hinman is quick to add that he's discovered an unexpected benefit to this attempt to learn the cello as an adult. It may be helping him avoid some serious brain disorders brought on by aging. 

"Research shows that learning to use a musical instrument in older age can help protect you against dementia and Alzheimer's disease," said Dr. Jessica Alber, a cognitive neuroscientist at the Butler Hospital Memory and Aging Program in Providence.
Read more...   

Additional resources 
Adult beginners, including RIPR's Chuck Hinman, on their first day of class.
Photo: RIPR

Artscape: Striking A New Chord by Chuck Hinman, Morning Edition host at Rhode Island Public Radio.   

"...RIPR’s Morning Edition host Chuck Hinman follows a beginning adult ensemble class for violin, viola, cello and bass in Bristol, RI."

Source: Rhode Island Public Radio     

The Importance Of Reflection And Free E-Learning | - Blog

Stefan Paulo, passionate about digital technologies and try to implement them in the sphere of education says, "We’ve all heard the phrase, “If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got”."

But what many of us don’t realise is how to elevate ourselves, a process where reflection is key. The science and psychology behind reflection is telling and can be traced back to human instinct. We know intuitively that the only mistakes we ever make are the ones we don’t learn and grow from.

Until now it has been widely accepted that reflection meant being able to successfully question what you did and didn't do well in a situation. Now, however, one must challenge the world around them which requires distancing oneself from the passive listing of positives and negatives. And adopting an active approach that not only aids self-reflection, but may lead to self-discovery. As a tool, reflection encourages learning and without it we may never truly grow.

So what active reflection routes can you can take to maximise your personal growth? Consider enrolling on an online training course. Online courses allow you to work with a coach who guides your reflection through challenging and teaching - proven to be one of the most effective routes to reflection. No matter how remote your location thousands of online schemes offer you the flexibility to learn from home and can be tailored to suit your schedule. To assist you in making the best choice of online scheme, we have narrowed down our favorite five.

For the creative individual, the International career institute offers many design courses including Fashion and Jewelry Design. Both courses are 14-31 weeks long and are available in three-levels of completion: Certificate, Diploma, and Advanced Diploma. And with no previous work or education requirements needed for entry, you can enroll at any time. 

Source: (blog)

How beginners can learn to read music more efficiently | ScienceNordic

Article from University of Stavanger.

The University of Stavanger (UiS) is located in Stavanger, Norway and has about 8,500 students and 1200 administration, faculty and service staff.

"New research shows that literacy learning methods may help beginners to read music" inform Elin Nyberg, Journalist, Universitetet i Stavanger.


Many music students find it difficult to learn to play an instrument, and struggle with music reading. Even after long practice, few children are able to sight read music off the page in the same way they read a book.

“Can this be explained by differences in how they learn to read text and music?” Katarzyna Julia Leikvoll wondered. In March 2017, she defended her PhD thesis in Literacy Studies at the University of Stavanger.

Her thesis focuses on how writing, visual recognition and understanding may provide a more efficient way of learning to read and play music.

Leikvoll examined how beginner piano students learn to read music in the Norwegian extra-curricular music schools. She then compared this to how reading and writing is taught in primary schools.

The researcher points out that text reading and music reading have many similarities...

Learning to read music  
The most popular piano methods for beginners are on the other hand usually based on using single notes as commands to the fingers on which keys to press.

“Piano teachers explain music reading to beginners by pointing to the sheet music saying ‘This is note C, D, E. Here are the C, D and E keys. Now play!’ No child is taught how to read by being told ‘This is the letter A. This is B. This is C. Now read!’, ” Leikvoll points out.

“Furthermore, there are no exercises for writing music and no information as to what is important to look for in an unfamiliar sheet of music. Notes are not explained as visual symbols representing particular sounds, but as commands on which keys to press,” she continues.

Lack of writing and understanding  
Leikvoll calls for exercises in music writing and focus on understanding how harmonic relationships between groups of notes form a kind of scaffold which the piano piece is built upon. Then harmonic structures can be recognised as meaningful units when you read and play unfamiliar music.
Read more... 

Katarzyna Julia Leikvoll: Listen, write, play: About music reading skills of piano pupils at the beginner level). Doctoral thesis, Department of Music and Dance, University of Stavanger. (2017)

Katarzyna Julia Leikvoll: Maurizio i Pianodalen. Piano lesson book based on «Listen, write, play». Musikk-husets forlag. (2018)

Source: ScienceNordic

Managing automation: Employment, inequality and ethics in the digital age | IPPR, the Institute for Public Policy Research

Check Out This Interesting Discussion Paper published by  IPPR, the Institute for Public Policy Research below.

As machines become increasingly capable of performing tasks once thought to be the sole preserve of people, some commentators have raised the spectre of mass unemployment and profound economic disruption.
Photo: IPPR
Yet despite the growing capability of robots and artificial intelligence, we are not on the cusp of a ‘post-human’ economy. Automation will produce significant productivity gains that will reshape specific sectors and occupations. In aggregate, however, these gains are likely to be recirculated, with jobs reallocated rather than eliminated, economic output increased, and new sources of wealth created.

This discussion paper argues that public policy should seek to accelerate automation to reap the productivity benefits, while building new institutions to ensure the dividends of technological change are broadly shared.

Managing Automation Employment, inequality and ethics in the digital age (PDF)
Source: IPPR, the Institute for Public Policy Research

A three-day work week? It’s possible with artificial intelligence | Livemint - Technology

"Not only will artificial intelligence improve the way we live but also give us more time to live life—by saving us from mundane and repetitive tasks that cause job dissatisfaction and burnouts" continues Livemint.

AI-driven can take care of transactional activities that take up a large chunk of working hours of the staff at an organization.
Photo: Bloomberg

Artificial intelligence (AI) has a perception problem in India. In the emerging debate around AI, it is either a bugaboo or the tech industry’s secret potion for profiteering. It is also seen as a gigantic steamroller that is flattening the IT jobs landscape.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. AI is making the future brighter; it represents civilizational progress. Look at it this way. If the collective human intelligence took 25 years to double, with AI it could happen every year. Imagine billions of AI bots working together to create new inventions and cures for terminal diseases. Okay, let’s talk about stuff that is slightly less profound. AI and robotics, as we speak, are changing the way we consume services, experience products and interact with devices.

Powerful sensors combine with intelligent self-learning systems to let your TV screen know who is watching. Your energy meter will know what your home requires, and your smart home will know who is around and who isn’t. The car would start automatically seconds before your travel (you won’t need to scramble for the bunch of keys every morning), and the machines could create an accurate shopping list based on your conversations. Your AI-driven device would also place an online order using the list—and choose from the best available offers, saving you a bob or two for a vacation in Kotor, Montenegro. Why Kotor, you ask? If, for instance, you mentioned to your AI device that you’d like to spend a week in a medieval town with cosy piazzas and Juliet balconies, the Montenegrin town might be one of the most accurate suggestions.

So, why wouldn’t you want AI?

What about the spectre of job losses? When digital photography replaced silver halide paper, more people began to take pictures. There was little barrier to enter the ranks of amateur photographers.

Source: Livemint

Thursday, December 28, 2017

LinkedIn: Machine learning jobs are on the rise |

"Machine learning engineers, data scientists, and Big Data engineers are among the top emerging jobs in technology. This is based off of a recently released report from LinkedIn" notes Jenna Sargent, Online and Social Media Editor for SD Times.

As technology changes and expands, employment trends change with it. As a result, the skills that are important to have to be successful in the workforce are constantly changing. LinkedIn’s report is from its data over the last five years on what jobs and skills are becoming the most popular.

“It may come as no surprise that technology-centric roles stole the show among emerging jobs in the United States, but the prevalence of machine learning and data science roles and skills indicate a shift in the types of technology we can expect to be using in the near future, as well as what professionals should be preparing themselves for,” the LinkedIn economic graph team wrote in a post
Read more... 

Additional resources 
LinkedIn’s 2017 U.S. Emerging Jobs Report