If only we could turn back the clock to thank a teacher who put us in place, or taught us a theorem that changed our life. Here’s one of those moments.
To kick it off, they brainstormed themes for their book. Followed by a unit on creative book titles, I was fascinated to see them come up with titles such as these:
- Is Amelia Earhart Dead?
- Oh, the Creatures You’ll Find! – Mythical creatures
- A Helping Paw – On dogs that risked their lives for humans
- The Ultimate European Bucket List – no explanation needed
- A Pigeon’s Eye View of Europe
- Johnny B. Goode Tonight – Classic rock songs
- Tragic Waters – The most disastrous storms
- Geek out with Dragons – For readers with a serious Harry Potter obsession
Have you seen this concept video? Robots that perform farming. It’s disturbing to say the least, to think that the field of robotics is being applied to areas we never used to anticipate. No longer ‘programmed’ robots, these are machines that learn and apply what we now call machine learning, to the environment they are placed in. For instance could a robot learn about —and work in consort with — other devices on the so-called farm. (It’s actually a greenhouse.).
To put it in context, if robots could shuttle between products on a shelves in an Amazon warehouse, this is just an extension of that – an industrial application. We are at the starting blocks of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, so these upheavals – technological, economic, environmental, social etc— are just beginning to show up. I’ve been critical of the rush to apply AI into everything, holding out some optimism that these players and industries might still need some humans, while replacing others.
Also there’s another video worth watching.
Just in time, as the field of AI ramps up. (Also by some coincidence, a week after the cover story in LMD.)
MIT has just announced it will add a new college, the Stephen A. Schwarzman College of Computing, dedicated to world-changing breakthroughs in AI, and their ethical application. The college will “reorient MIT” to add 50 new faculty positions, and give students in every discipline an opportunity to develop and apply AI and computing technologies.
The term ‘ethical’ keeps popping up these days in relation to Artificial Intelligence. MIT expands on this, saying it will “examine the anticipated outcomes of advances in AI and machine learning, and to shape policies around the ethics of AI.” As I have mentioned elsewhere, most experts (from Elon Musk, to Bill Gates to Berners-Lee aside) agree that we are just at the tadpole stage of the life-cycle of AI.
However, some, such as sci-fi writer, Isaac Asimov and even Stephen Hawking have had concerns. Hawking, for instance remarked that “we all have a role to play in ensuring that we and the next generation have the determination to engage with science … and create a better world for the whole human race.” MIT seems to be the first large institution to take up this mantle, and in the process, redefine and re-invent its role in education.
A few weeks back I featured an ominous exercise, conducted seven years ago by the Navy Research Lab.Today Artificial Intelligence is taking us into a new machine age, with devices, and not just robots, being able to grow ‘intelligent’ with data they glean from other machines we use.
Big players are developing capabilities in AI –from PwC and IBM, to Tesla and Alibaba!
For the October issue of LMD I was commissioned to write the cover story on AI. You can access it here.