Thursday, September 15, 2016

Friday Thinking 16 Sept. 2016

Hello all – Friday Thinking is a humble curation of my foraging in the digital environment. My purpose is to pick interesting pieces, based on my own curiosity (and the curiosity of the many interesting people I follow), about developments in some key domains (work, organization, social-economy, intelligence, domestication of DNA, energy, etc.)  that suggest we are in the midst of a change in the conditions of change - a phase-transition. That tomorrow will be radically unlike yesterday.

Many thanks to those who enjoy this.
In the 21st Century curiosity will SKILL the cat.
Jobs are dying - work is just beginning.

“Be careful what you ‘insta-google-tweet-face’”
Woody Harrelson - Triple 9


Chinese lecturer to use facial-recognition technology to check boredom levels among his students

Our understanding of technology may be advancing at an ever-accelerating rate, but our knowledge of these more vague concepts -- intelligence, consciousness, what the human mind even is -- remains in a ridiculously infantile stage. Technology may be poised to usher in an era of computer-based humanity, but neuroscience, psychology and philosophy are not. They're universes away from even landing on technology's planet, and these gaps in knowledge will surely drag down the projected AI timeline.

Most experts who study the brain and mind generally agree on at least two things: We do not know, concretely and unanimously, what intelligence is. And we do not know what consciousness is.

"To achieve the singularity, it isn't enough to just run today's software faster," Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen wrote in 2011. "We would also need to build smarter and more capable software programs. Creating this kind of advanced software requires a prior scientific understanding of the foundations of human cognition, and we are just scraping the surface of this."

Defining human intelligence and consciousness is still more philosophy than neuroscience.

We don't understand AI because we don't understand intelligence

GOOGLE CALLS IT Project Sand Hill.
Since 2012, Suman Prasad and his team have worked with various Silicon Valley venture capital firms to identify “rocketship” startups before they really take off, and they help plug them into the Google machine. They help them build apps for Android phones, hook into Android Pay, and make use of countless other Google services, from Google Maps to Google ads. Prasad started the project in his Google “20 Percent Time,” but it has since grown into something much bigger. He’s now director of startups and VC partnerships, and at any given time, Project Sand Hill now serves a good 100 US startups, plus about 30 abroad, including places like Israel, India, and China.

Current members of the program include ticketing platform Eventbrite, fitness-focused My Fitness Pal, and the last-minute hotel booking company Hotel Tonight. And according to Google, eleven Project Sand Hill companies have become “unicorns”—-startups valued at over a billion dollars—since joining the program, including Eventbrite, Houzz and Lyft. About half of the participating companies have gone on to raise an additional $7.5 billion in funding.

Project Sand Hill: Google’s Unknown Campaign to Track World’s Hottest Startups

This is only a web site right now - but for anyone interested in new social media platforms and the blockchain - you can sign up for the alpha release of a social media platform based on the blockchain. This is likely to be at least a worthy experiment - especially for anyone who has been awakened to the huge value and use of a social media platform but are now tired of being Facebook’s product for advertisers.
You can publish, share and vote for entries, similar to Medium and other modern publishing platforms, with the difference that your content is actually published over a decentralized network rather than on our servers. Moreover, the votes are bundled with ETH micro transactions so if your content is good you’ll make ETH from it – in a way, mining with your mind.
Similar to how you don’t need to understand the concepts behind electricity in order to flip a switch and turn on the lights, we created an uncluttered user experience focused on creating and publishing content easily. All the complicated stuff happens in the background.

AKASHA - A Next-Generation Social Media Network

Powered by the Ethereum world computer
Embedded into the Inter-Planetary File System
AKASHA ( [aːkaːʃə], आकाश) is the Sanskrit word meaning “ether” in both its elemental and metaphysical senses.
The ancient Sanskrit-speaking civilization envisioned akasha as a metaphysical information network connecting humanity with itself and infinite knowledge. In this paradigm, thoughts, ideas, feelings, and experiences are stored forever and shared through the ether, which acts as an universal field connecting multiple planes of existence.

Thousands of years later the Internet was created, inventing in the process a new way to transmit and store thoughts, feelings, ideas, and experiences – this time as bits accessible to large numbers of people that are part of the same invisible network connecting billions of minds.

As a decentralized application AKASHA deploys a next-generation information architecture born from the fusion of ancient wisdom with new technologies such as Ethereum and the Inter-Planetary File System. With AKASHA your thoughts and ideas will echo throughout humanity’s existence, thanks to a planetary-scale information network immune to censorship by design.

This is a MUST VIEW 18 min video for anyone concerned with the future of education, with the power of video games, with the future of Virtual Environments to augment our learning and mastery in real world system. How can we combine the ever increasing power to create models of the world with engaging and accessible interfaces to accelerate and scale learning.

"Videos games in teaching and learning systems" - James Paul Gee

Play performs an important role in children's intellectual, affective and social development and as such is regarded by some as the most “serious” activity undertaken by children. Play, at all ages, is an engaging way of fostering essential skills such as focus, creativity, collaboration and persistence. So why is play not exploited more widely in education beyond kindergarten? Can experiences that use play for learning and creativity inspire us to rethink the role of play in education?

James Paul Gee is the Mary Lou Fulton Presidential Professor of Literacy Studies and Regents’ Professor at Arizona State University. He is a member of the National Academy of Education.

He is the author of several books such as "Sociolinguistics and Literacies" and "An Introduction to Discourse Analysis". His most recent books have dealt with video games, language, and learning.

This is a must view video about the present, the future and foresight methods.

Jerome C. Glenn on Singularity 1 on 1: Science is an epistemology in the house of philosophy

Jerome C. Glenn is co-founder and Director of The Millennium Project and I had great fun talking to him during our first interview. But it has been over two years since our previous conversation and so, when Jason Ganz reminded me that the latest State of the Future report has been out for several months now, I jumped at the opportunity to have Jerome back on Singularity 1 on 1.

This is a short summary of the current situation and trends in the transformation of energy geo-politics. The graphics speak for themselves.
… if solar electricity continues on its current demonetization trajectory, by the time solar capacity triples to 600GW (by 2020 or 2021, as a rough estimate), we could see global unsubsidized solar prices that are roughly half the cost of coal and natural gas.
By roughly 2030, EVs with a 200+ mile range are going to be cheaper than the cheapest car sold in the U.S. in 2015.

Disrupting Energy

We are at the cusp of an energy revolution.
This blog is a look at how three technologies — solar, batteries and electric vehicles (EVs) — are poised to disrupt a $6 trillion energy industry over the next two decades.

I had the chance to sit down with Ramez Naam, the Chair of Energy & Environmental Systems at Singularity University and acclaimed author of the Nexus series, to discuss these major forces and their implications.

In 88 minutes, 470 exajoules of energy from the sun hits the Earth’s surface, as much energy as humanity consumes in a year.
In 112 hours — less than five days — it provides 36 zettajoules of energy. That’s as much energy as is contained in all proven reserves of oil, coal and natural gas on the planet.
If humanity could capture 1 part in 1,000 (one-tenth of one percent) of the solar energy striking the Earth — just one part in one thousand — we could have access to six times as much energy as we consume in all forms today.

Over the last 30 years, solar module prices have dropped by a factor of 100.
Critically — a new solar price record was set in Chile just a few weeks ago at $0.0291 per kWh — 58 percent less than the price of natural gas from a new plant!
And this is just the beginning. How cheap can it get?

This is an important consideration when trying to assess the very difficult plight of incumbents on whether to fall prey to ‘sunk costs’ or to cut their losses and shift to other investments. We may have to be vigilant about not bailing out banks again. :)

Creditors lose historic sums in oil bankruptcies, Moody’s says

For the lenders that bankrolled the shale boom, the oil-market crash may leave as much financial wreckage behind as the devastating telecom bust in the early 2000s, Moody’s Investors Service said.

On average, banks and bond investors have recovered only about $1 of every $5 they poured into the U.S. oil companies that eventually went bankrupt in 2015, according to the credit rating agency.

That amount is about a third of the money creditors historically have pulled out of drillers who default on their debt. It’s slightly less than investors recovered from bankrupt telecom firms in 2002, and “can only be described as catastrophic,” the credit ratings agency said in a new report released Monday.

Creditors aren’t getting much of their money back because the oil companies that went bankrupt last year were mostly small firms that ran up high debts in the heady days of the U.S. shale drilling bonanza and don’t have the assets or access to capital that larger firms do.

WE are not only finding new elements but new ways to make those elements quickly and efficiently.
The pace of innovation is such that even the experts are struggling to keep up, says Scott, who leads the US Department of Energy's efforts to develop benchmarks for the new catalysts' performance1. “We need to make sure we are advancing the science that's most efficient,” she says.
And the scope of catalysis is increasing rapidly. “Twenty years ago,” says John Hartwig, a chemist at the University of California, Berkeley, “catalysis to make molecules that were complex did not exist.” Anyone who wanted to modify a large complicated structure would have to tear it down and build it back up, says Sanford. But now, chemists can often edit parts of a molecule precisely. “It's incredibly enabling,” she says.

The new breed of cutting-edge catalysts

Advances in catalyst research could create a superhighway to clean energy sources and a more-sustainable chemical industry
Catalysts are used in some 90% of processes in the chemical industry, and are essential for the production of fuels, plastics, drugs and fertilizers. At least 15 Nobel prizes have been awarded for work on catalysis. And thousands of chemists around the world are continually improving the catalysts they have and striving to invent new ones.

That work is partly driven by an interest in sustainability. The aim of catalysis is to direct reactions along precisely defined pathways so that chemists can skip reaction steps, reduce waste, minimize energy use and do more with less. And with growing concerns about climate change and the environment, sustainability has become increasingly important. Catalysis is a key principle of 'green chemistry': an industry-wide effort to prevent pollution before it happens.

Catalysts are also seen as the key to unlocking energy sources that are much more inert and difficult to use than coal, oil or gas, but much cleaner. Catalysis can make it more economically feasible to split water into oxygen and hydrogen fuel, or can open up new ways to use raw materials such as biomass or carbon dioxide. “These are feedstocks that are ripe for advances in catalysis,” says Melanie Sanford, a chemist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Our understanding of the microbial world is at a new threshold and who know what we will find?
Already, the detection of these newfound organisms is challenging what scientists thought they knew about the chemical processes of biology, the tree of life and the manner in which microbes live and grow. The secrets of microbial dark matter may redefine how life evolved and exists, and even improve the understanding of, and treatments, for many diseases.
“Everything is changing,” says Kelly Wrighton, a microbiologist at Ohio State University in Columbus. “The whole field is full of enthusiasm and discovery.”
new technology came online that gave genetic analysis a turbo boost. Sequencing a genome — the entirety of an organism’s DNA — became faster and cheaper than most scientists ever predicted. With next-generation sequencing, Woyke can analyze more than 100 billion bases in the time it takes to turn around an Amazon order, she says, and for just a few thousand dollars.
“The genetic code is not as rigid as we thought.”

Microbial matter comes out of the dark

Scientists identify bacteria that defy rules of biochemistry
Few people today could recite the scientific accomplishments of 19th century physician Julius Petri. But almost everybody has heard of his dish.

For more than a century, microbiologists have studied bacteria by isolating, growing and observing them in a petri dish. That palm-sized plate has revealed the microbial universe — but only a fraction, the easy stuff, the scientific equivalent of looking for keys under the lamppost.

But in the light — that is, the greenhouse-like conditions of a laboratory — most bacteria won’t grow. By one estimate, a staggering 99 percent of all microbial species on Earth have yet to be discovered, remaining in the shadows. They’re known as “microbial dark matter,” a reference to astronomers’ description of the vast invisible matter in space that makes up most of the mass in the cosmos.

This year in the ISME Journal, Ohio State’s Wrighton reported a study of the enzyme RubisCO taken from a new microbial species that had never been grown in a laboratory. RubisCO, considered the most abundant protein on Earth, is key to photosynthesis; it helps convert carbon from the atmosphere into a form useful to living things. Because the majority of life on the planet would not exist without it, RubisCO is a familiar molecule — so familiar that most scientists thought they had found all the forms it could take. Yet, Wrighton says, “we found so many new versions of this protein that were entirely different from anything we had seen before.”

This is a short article with some potentially good news about water.

How a Sponge, Bubble Wrap and Sunlight Can Lead to Clean Water

With simple materials, MIT researchers have developed a cheap, easy-to-build device to desalinate water and treat wastewater
Researchers at MIT were looking for a way to clean and desalinate water without using expensive specialty materials or devices. What they came up with is, in layman’s terms, a sponge encased in bubble wrap. This “solar vapor generator” can heat water up enough to make it boil, evaporating the water and leaving behind unwanted products like salt.

The most common way to concentrate sunlight and generate heat is with mirrors, says George Ni, a PhD candidate who led the research. But the problem is that mirrors and other optical heat concentrators are often pricey.

“If you’re going to use this for desalinating water in a developing country, it’s really too expensive for most people to afford,” he says.

The solar vapor generator that Ni and his team developed involves a metallic film that can absorb radiation and trap heat. This spectrally selective absorber is mounted on a piece of special sponge made of graphite and carbon foam, which can boil water to 100 degrees Celsius using ambient sunlight. The whole thing is then wrapped in bubble wrap. The bubble wrap allows the sunlight in, but keeps the heat from escaping when the wind blows across the device, making it much more efficient.

From simple mass-produced material to intricately printed objects - this article explains an advance made in 4D printing - using 3D printing with materials that remember.
“Our method not only enables 4-D printing at the micron-scale, but also suggests recipes to print shape-memory polymers that can be stretched 10 times larger than those printed by commercial 3-D printers,” Ge says. “This will advance 4-D printing into a wide variety of practical applications, including biomedical devices, deployable aerospace structures, and shape-changing photovoltaic solar cells.”

3-D printed structures “remember” their shapes

Heat-responsive materials may aid in controlled drug delivery and solar panel tracking.
Engineers from MIT and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) are using light to print three-dimensional structures that “remember” their original shapes. Even after being stretched, twisted, and bent at extreme angles, the structures — from small coils and multimaterial flowers, to an inch-tall replica of the Eiffel tower — sprang back to their original forms within seconds of being heated to a certain temperature “sweet spot.”

For some structures, the researchers were able to print micron-scale features as small as the diameter of a human hair — dimensions that are at least one-tenth as big as what others have been able to achieve with printable shape-memory materials. The team’s results were published earlier this month in the online journal Scientific Reports.

Nicholas X. Fang, associate professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, says shape-memory polymers that can predictably morph in response to temperature can be useful for a number of applications, from soft actuators that turn solar panels toward the sun, to tiny drug capsules that open upon early signs of infection.

Here’s a great premonition of the emerging world of autonomous drone sensors that will give us real-time data of the state of the planet.
Last summer, working with scientists and engineers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the boats skimmed along the edge of the retreating Arctic ice cap, giving scientists a detailed account of temperature, salinity and ecosystem information that would have been difficult and expensive to obtain in person.
Mr. Jenkins has a much grander vision. He believes the missing piece of the puzzle to definitively comprehend the consequences of global warming is scientific data. He envisions a fleet of thousands or even tens of thousands of his 23-foot sailboats creating a web of sensors across the world’s oceans.

No Sailors Needed: Robot Sailboats Scour the Oceans for Data

Two robotic sailboats trace lawn-mower-style paths across the violent surface of the Bering Sea, off the coast of Alaska. The boats are counting fish — haddock, to be specific — with a fancy version of the fish finder sonar you’d find on a bass fishing boat.

About 2,500 miles away, Richard Jenkins, a mechanical engineer and part-time daredevil, is tracking the robot sailboats on a large projection screen in an old hangar that used to be part of the Alameda Naval Air Station. Now the hangar is the command center of a little company called Saildrone.

At least 20 companies are chasing the possibly quixotic dream of a self-driving car in Silicon Valley. But self-sailing boats are already a real business.

This is an excellent brief article providing an update analysis of the state of the MOOC - as it develops new business models.
Fundamentally MOOCs as a format haven’t changed much over the last five years. What’s really changed is the how they are packaged and promoted.

MOOCs no longer massive, still attract millions

The first ever MOOC I took had 160,000 people signed up for it.
The forums were buzzing with activity. New posts were being added every few minutes. If I had any question at all, it had already been asked and answered by someone else.

But recently I have noticed forum activity and interactions in MOOCs have declined drastically.

This is despite the MOOC user base doubling in 2015. The total number of students who signed up for at least one course had crossed 35 million — up from an estimated 16–18 million in 2014 — according to data collected Class Central, where I work.

This is a significant milestone in the development of an application of AI and machine learning with neural networks. Listening to the brief samples is worth the time - and provides all you need to see that soon our systems will talk to us will very human sounding voices - and even music. The world of computer generated experiences - may no longer need human voices or musicians.

Google’s WaveNet uses neural nets to generate eerily convincing speech and music

Generating speech from a piece of text is a common and important task undertaken by computers, but it’s pretty rare that the result could be mistaken for ordinary speech. A new technique from researchers at Alphabet’s DeepMind takes a completely different approach, producing speech and even music that sounds eerily like the real thing.

Early systems used a large library of the parts of speech (phonemes and morphemes) and a large ruleset that described all the ways letters combined to produce those sounds. The pieces were joined, or concatenated, creating functional speech synthesis that can handle most words, albeit with unconvincing cadence and tone. Later systems parameterized the generation of sound, making a library of speech fragments unnecessary. More compact — but often less effective.

WaveNet, as the system is called, takes things deeper. It simulates the sound of speech at as low a level as possible: one sample at a time. That means building the waveform from scratch — 16,000 samples per second.

AI may be progressing at super-exponential speed - due to both ‘Moore’s Law’ of computation - but even more because of the growth and power of cloud computing and the near zero marginal cost of spreading software advances arising from machine learning. This is an excellent and brief article with a link to the 53 page report and a 15min podcast discussing the report. Well worth the visit for anyone who’s interested in a realistic assessment of the future of AI.

What artificial intelligence will look like in 2030

New report examines how AI might affect urban life
Artificial intelligence (AI) has already transformed our lives — from the autonomous cars on the roads to the robotic vacuums and smart thermostats in our homes. Over the next 15 years, AI technologies will continue to make inroads in nearly every area of our lives, from education to entertainment, health care to security.

The question is, are we ready? Do we have the answers to the legal and ethical quandaries that will certainly arise from the increasing integration of AI into our daily lives? Are we even asking the right questions?

Now, a panel of academics and industry thinkers has looked ahead to 2030 to forecast how advances in AI might affect life in a typical North American city and spark discussion about how to ensure the safe, fair, and beneficial development of these rapidly developing technologies.

“Artificial Intelligence and Life in 2030” is the first product of the One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100), an ongoing project hosted by Stanford University to inform debate and provide guidance on the ethical development of smart software, sensors, and machines. Every five years for the next 100 years, the AI100 project will release a report that evaluates the status of AI technologies and their potential impact on the world.

This is a great article - a wonderful accessible review of our progress in trying to understand the brain and consciousness - but it’s written by an excellent Canadian science fiction writer - so he’s able to add some very interesting questions and speculations. Well worth the read - because the science and technology involved is progress at exponential speeds - the questions posed are questions we should be pondering - for they signal a deep change in the conditions of change.
Consciousness remains mysterious. But there’s no reason to regard it as magical, no evidence of spectral bonds that hold a soul in one head and keep it from leaking into another. And one of the things we do know is that consciousness spreads to fill the space available. Smaller selves disappear into larger; two hemispheres integrate into one. The architectural specifics aren’t even all that important if Tononi is right, if the Cambridge Declaration is anything to go on. You don’t need a neocortex or a hypothalamus. All you need is complexity and a sufficiently fat pipe.

Hive consciousness

New research puts us on the cusp of brain-to-brain communication. Could the next step spell the end of individual minds?
You already know that we can run machines with our brainwaves. That’s been old news for almost a decade, ever since the first monkey fed himself using a robot arm and the power of positive thinking. Nowadays, even reports of human neuroprostheses barely raise an eyebrow. Brain-computer interfaces have become commonplace in everything from prosthetic vision to video games (a lot of video games; Emotiv and NeuroSky are perhaps the best-known purveyors of Mind Control to the gaming crowd) to novelty cat ears that perk up on your head when you get horny.

But we’ve moved beyond merely thinking orders at machinery. Now we’re using that machinery to wire living brains together. Last year, a team of European neuroscientists headed by Carles Grau of the University of Barcelona reported a kind of – let’s call it mail-order telepathy – in which the recorded brainwaves of someone thinking a salutation in India were emailed, decoded and implanted into the brains of recipients in Spain and France (where they were perceived as flashes of light).

Thinking about the consciousness, sensoriums and technology ultimately sparks questions about where the borders of a being really are - that mind extends beyond the container of the brain. It seems that even spiders use the technology of their webs to extend their senses in very rich ways.
Web-dwelling spiders have poor vision and rely almost exclusively on web vibrations for their 'view' of the world. The musical patterns coming from their tuned webs provide them with crucial information on the type of prey caught in the web and of predators approaching, as well as the quality of prospective mates. Spiders carefully engineer their webs out of a range of silks to control web architecture, tension and stiffness, analogous to constructing and tuning a musical instrument.

Tuning the instrument: Spider webs as vibration transmission structures

Two years ago, scientists revealed that, when plucked like a guitar string, spider silk transmits vibrations across a wide range of frequencies, carrying information about prey, mates and even the structural integrity of a web. Now, a new collaboration has confirmed that spider webs are superbly tuned instruments for vibration transmission -- and that the type of information being sent can be controlled by adjusting factors such as web tension and stiffness.

The world of sensors and sensing is also accelerating - here’s a very interesting development - and who knows what new affordances it will enable? There’s a 5 min video as well.

Judging a book through its cover

New computational imaging method identifies letters printed on first nine pages of a stack of paper.
MIT researchers and their colleagues are designing an imaging system that can read closed books.

In the latest issue of Nature Communications, the researchers describe a prototype of the system, which they tested on a stack of papers, each with one letter printed on it. The system was able to correctly identify the letters on the top nine sheets.

“The Metropolitan Museum in New York showed a lot of interest in this, because they want to, for example, look into some antique books that they don’t even want to touch,” says Barmak Heshmat, a research scientist at the MIT Media Lab and corresponding author on the new paper. He adds that the system could be used to analyze any materials organized in thin layers, such as coatings on machine parts or pharmaceuticals.

When art imitates life and then life imitates art - AI and deep learning.
“Video game graphics have actually gotten good enough that you can train on raw data and have it be almost as good as real-world data,” Schmidt continued. Of course, video games aren’t advanced enough to be indistinguishable from reality, and so real images are still preferred. But you can cull so many labelled images from games that their sheer number makes up for the lack of detail in individual images.

Video Games Are So Realistic That They Can Teach AI What the World Looks Like

Thanks to the modern gaming industry, we can now spend our evenings wandering around photorealistic game worlds, like the post-apocalyptic Boston of Fallout 4 or Grand Theft Auto V’s Los Santos, instead of doing things like “seeing people” and “engaging in human interaction of any kind.”

Games these days are so realistic, in fact, that artificial intelligence researchers are using them to teach computers how to recognize objects in real life. Not only that, but commercial video games could kick artificial intelligence research into high gear by dramatically lessening the time and money required to train AI.

Schmidt works with machine learning, a technique that allows computers to “train” on a large set of labelled data—photographs of streets, for example—so that when let loose in the real world, they can recognize, or “predict,” what they’re looking at. Schmidt and Alireza Shafaei, a PhD student at UBC, recently studied Grand Theft Auto V and found that self-learning software trained on images from the game performed just as well, and in some cases even better, than software trained on real photos from publicly available datasets.

There could be two very important demographic groups that will surge toward the use of the self-driving car and more importantly to new models mass transit based on this technology - The Boomers and the Millennials.
Today however, older teens and young adults don't need cars to achieve a sense of self and freedom. This generation’s coming of age consisted of graduating from the Internet and CD-ROM computer games to hand-held mobile devices where they’re establishing identities, relationships, and individualism online all day long—as much as, if not more than, in the real world.

Millennials Don't Care About Owning Cars, And Car Makers Can't Figure Out Why

Driving numbers are down for younger people and the auto industry hasn't found a way to respond. It's because they don't understand why millennials could possibly not want to drive.
Auto manufacturers today are scratching their heads, trying to figure out why the millennial generation has little-to-no interest in owning a car. What car makers are failing to see is that this generation’s interests and priorities have been redefined in the last two decades, pushing cars to the side while must-have personal technology products take up the fast lane.

It’s no secret the percentage of new vehicles sold to 18- to 34-year-olds has significantly dropped over the past few years. Many argue this is the result of a weak economy, that the idea of making a large car investment and getting into more debt on top of college loans is too daunting for them. But that’s not the "driving" factor, especially considering that owning a smartphone or other mobile device, with its monthly fees of network access, data plan, insurance, and app services, is almost comparable to the monthly payments required when leasing a Honda Civic.

What auto manufacturers, along with much of corporate America are missing here is that the vehicles to freedom and personal identity have changed for this generation. The sooner brands get a grip on this reality the sooner they can make adjustments in how they market to and communicate with this core group, which is essential to their long-term success.

I’m not sure if this should be ‘FOR FUN’ or ‘CREEPY’ or both. Depending on the instructor - it may be easier to find faces that are not bored. In another way this is yet another signal that the ‘survey’ is dead and the future will be real-time day via sociometric badges and other technologies.

Chinese lecturer to use facial-recognition technology to check boredom levels among his students

A Chinese university lecturer is using facial-recognition technology on his students to help determine the level of interest in his classes, a tool he said could be used in wider education.

Science professor Wei Xiaoyong developed the new “face reader” to identify emotions which suggest if students are bored or stimulated.

His technique produces a “curve” for each student showing how much they are either “happy” or “neutral”, and that data can indicate whether they are bored, he said.
“When we correlate that kind of information to the way we teach, and we use a timeline, then you will know where you are actually attracting the students’ attention,” Professor Wei told The Telegraph.

“Then you can ask whether this is a good way to teach that content? Or if this content is OK for the students in that class?”

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