The Next Step for (Artificial) Intelligent Virtual Assistants


Gigaom

When we talk about the future of artificial intelligence (AI), the discussion often focuses on the advancements and capabilities of the technology, or even the risks and opportunities inherent in the potential cultural implications. What we frequently overlook, however, is the future of AI as a business.

[company]IBM[/company] Watson’s recent acquisition and deployment of [company]Cognea[/company] signals an important shift in the AI and intelligent virtual assistant (IVA) market, and offers an indication of both of the potentials of AI as a business and the areas where the market still needs development.

The AI business is about to be transformed by consolidation. Consolidation carries real risks, but it is generally a sign of technological maturation. And it’s about time, as AI is no longer simply a side project, or an R&D euphemism. AI is finally center stage.

IBM, for all its investment in the Watson platform, was still missing, among other…

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Allergies and Green Spaces


Sociology of Space

allergens

This week i caught an interesting documentry on BBC 2 called ‘Allergies: Modern Life and Me’; the main premise of this show was in explaining the rise in allergy sufferers in modern western society, with a third of the population being affected in some way or another.

While in the past there have been various conflicting views over the cause of allergy suffering in children, there is now a greater consensus with new evidence, suggesting it is to do with the levels of healthy bacteria we are exposed to in early life, from both what we take in from our mothers and the direct environment we are born into.

This bacteria is similar to the cultures found in healthy yogurt drinks that are sold to benefit our health; but these same ones have always existed in nature, and as humans have evolved we have been exposed and built up a dependent relationship…

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What Can Our Education Systems Learn from Classrooms in the Developing World?


TED Blog

A group of students in Karakati, India, research the answer to a big question at one location of Sugata Mitra's School in the Cloud. According to Mitra and Adam Braun, there's a lot that Western schools can learn about education from students in India. Students in Karakati, India, research the answer to a big question at a location of Sugata Mitra’s School in the Cloud. According to Mitra and his Microsoft Work Wonders Project partner, Adam Braun, there’s quite a bit that Western schools can learn from classrooms in the developing world.

Adam Braun went to school in the US and now runs a nonprofit that builds schools in Ghana, Laos, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In contrast, Sugata Mitra—the winner of the 2013 TED Prize—went to school in India and now is a professor in the UK, where his research on self-directed learning routinely brings him into elementary schools. Both of these education activists have seen how typical classrooms function in the Western world, and both have seen how typical classrooms function in the developing world. And both say, the West isn’t always better.

Braun and Mitra have teamed up through Microsoft’s Work Wonders Project to…

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