Ambient Intelligence

These Chinese students have put together a video which effectively shows what ambient intelligence can mean for us. Sensory technology which responds to our needs. We have had precursors to it with smart phone apps which manage climate control in our homes and security devices which ring through to back up help for us. The next step is to have ambient technology in our environment so that our experiences are driven by the changes we want. There needs to be a lot more done on privacy, though, before we give ourselves and our environments over to ambient technology. Who wants a self driven car which can be hacked by some random? A wearable device which can be giving false information because it has been remotely tampered with?

And, if ambient technology is to become as integrated into our lives as previous technological revolutions like wood joists, steel beams and engine blocks, we need to subject it to the digital equivalent of enforceable building codes and auto safety standards. Nothing less will do. And health? The current medical device standards will have to be even tougher, while still allowing for innovation.” Walt Mossberg

Walt Mossberg’s article The Disappearing Computer has a good explanation of what is occurring and how this might play out. Artificial Intelligence and Ambient Intelligence are not going to go away. They are the future. It is important we understand the developments and their implications for us. TechCrunch also has a very good article, The next stop on the road to revolution is ambient technology , looking at the future possibilities and transformations which will be brought about by ambient technology. Since the plan is to outsource cognition to devices, then we need to know what the plans and developments are so we can have some useful input and know what it will all mean for us.

Alexa AI on Raspberry Pi 3

Christopher Barnatt is the consummate professional when it comes to making instructional videos about the Raspberry Pi. Everything is presented carefully and in an organised fashion and the visual aspect of his videos has been honed to perfection. This video is clear, instructive and easy to follow. Christopher Barnatt is a professional futurist and is very comfortable in a changing world which relies on technology development. He wants us to be too and as a consequence he gives us ideas to work on which we can follow. Alexa AI 10, 000 skills available now. Tech Republic has a quick overview of what Alexa AI can do . The video shows you how to set up Alexa AI on a Raspberry Pi 3. I haven’t done it yet and even though I have the recommended wifi dongle for the Pi 2 I may not have sufficient processing power. I might try it and then work out whether I really need a Raspberry Pi 3. Nice little project for a rainy day.

AI update

No single post could hope to cover all the new innovations with AI. It will , however , give you an orientation to what is being done and what already exists that you can readily identify with. We have voice synthesisers, text to voice synthesisers, we have robotics in car manufacture, mining, hospitals and Japan even has hotels where the check ins are managed by robots. Artificial talking heads are popping up over the Net and have their uses. Professor of AI Nello Cristianini of Bristol University is world renowned in the  field of artificial intelligence. The video explains the sorts of things we are already accustomed to but he has other videos on YouTube which look at the implications of this. Data mining and labelling is critical to optimally functioning AI and so we do have vast quantities of data being kept and sorted through. TechRepublic looks at the top 10 things IBM is doing in AI because machine learning is becoming increasingly important so we can manage the huge amounts of data we have. It has to be sorted , labelled and categorised so we can create the information architecture of tomorrow. If you are interested in AI you can keep up to date with developments with Science Daily. Wired also runs articles on AI developments.

The demise of Open Wonderland

Open Wonderland , formerly known as Project Wonderland is open source software for designing virtual worlds where you can collaborate with others. The video I have shown here is linked to other videos which explain how it works and what its capabilities are. You can also watch the 30 minute video by Nick Moore who explains it from a real world perspective and is someone who knows what he is talking about because he understands its uses, implications and application from experience. His Agile in Wonderland: Open Source in the Enterprise World was an osdc (open source development conference) presentation and so subject to peer review. Wikipedia describes Open Wonderland as :

The vision for Open Wonderland is to provide an environment that is robust enough in terms of security, scalability, reliability, and functionality that organizations can rely on it as a place to conduct real business. Organizations should be able to use Open Wonderland to create a virtual presence to better communicate with customers, partners, and employees. Individuals should be able to do their real work within a virtual world, eliminating the need for a separate collaboration tool when they wish to work together with others. Individuals should also be able to tailor portions of the world to adapt to their work needs and to express their personal style. The types of collaborations that can happen within the space include audio communication, live desktop applications of all kinds, and eventually collaborative creation of world content (both graphical and procedural).

There are problems with the entry as is explained at the top but it does help orientate your brain as to how Open Wonderland might be of use to you. Nicole Yankelovich has a slideshare presentation which explains its educational uses . There is also a very detailed academic review of it Virtual World Learning with Open Wonderland by David Parsons and there is another comprehensive analysis of its educational use here by Michael Gardner et al It is a serious and well established platform for health.

Can you download it? Apparently not. The project has appeared to have been killed and there are no obvious links to any sites where the development may be continuing. The Google group has had no posts since 2015. doesn’t exist any longer nor its blog. Why has the world made such an important and useful project vanish? All that knowledge. All that potential and no indication of where it has transferred. Just lost in the ether.

Technology reads your mood

Scientist Rana el Kaliouby has been working on technology which can read your facial expressions and then know how you feel. The TED talk here explains her rationale behind it and then how it has been developed. Towards the end you can see for yourself how detailed and accurate it is. They have been researching and refining it for quite some time and soon it will be in place in the real world. They have been working on cognitive intelligence for technology. They are adding another layer to that by investigating and exploring emotional intelligence with regard to technology. Rana el Kaliouby was driven to work on this because she was separated from her family for some time and she really was only interacting with devices. She also wanted her family to better understand how she felt as she was only communicating with them through technology. I can see ,like her, that emotionally smart software might have a place in a classroom so that it could make better recommendations for students who are not engaging with what you have offered as a teacher. I can hear it now. “See? FooGoo is telling me I am bored with it. You need to show me something else. “ I can also see that the software might bypass the teacher and recommend something of its own which will engage the student. Fun and games to come. The gender differences with interaction were interesting and worth pursuing for what that really means.Do I need a device which reads my mood? I don’t think so, but I’ll have to wait and see what transpires by way of development. Technology is plastic and circuit boards. I don’t have a need to engage emotionally with it nor for it to know how I feel. I don’t talk to my pot plants either. Rana el Kaliouby says she expects this to be real in 5 years. It means we need some idea of what it will do, what it is capable of and , inevitably, how it can be misused, so that we, as teachers, are ready for it.

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