Sometimes I walk into a room and say, “Alexa, what’s the temperature outside?” She answers by speaking the current temperature followed by an abbreviated weather report. She’s so human-like, I have to resist the temptation to say “Thank you” when she finishes. Importantly, Alexa is not a she; it is a component of Amazon's Echo natural language processing system. Amazon has anthropomorphized Echo with a female voice and a feminine name, which makes it easy to call Alexa a “she.” Should we be polite when we speak to it, or is it OK to be abrupt or even abusive? The device won’t care. It doesn't have feelings; but how will we teach our children to differentiate between machines that sound and act like people, and other disembodied voices that actually are people?
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Because the velocity of data is increasing and will always increase, the need for data literacy is increasing and will always increase. This does not mean that to be successful executive you have to become a data scientist -- quite the contrary. It means that in order to be a successful executive, you need to understand how data is turned into action, be familiar with the methods of data science and data scientific research, and be able to think strategically about how to use data to create value for your business. All other things being equal, there is a significant difference between being literate and being fluent.
How soon will TV transform from wall-mounted 4K flat-screens to a 99-cent app in a VR/AR App Store? That's a question few will ponder this week as the National Association of Broadcasters gathers in Las Vegas for the NAB Show 2016. TV has both defined and enlarged mass communication for more than a half-century. No one in their right mind would suggest that big-screen TVs might go away – ever! Well, no one ever said I was in my right mind.
I don’t like to discuss religion or politics in polite company. It’s pointless. Both subjects provoke passionate lectures espousing personal worldviews, and minds are seldom, if ever, changed. But … after watching some of the speeches and debates, reading some tweets, and switching between the parade of pundits on CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, I've started to wonder what @tjeff (my hypothetical twitter handle for a reincarnated Thomas Jefferson) would have had to do to find the facts upon which to base his independent thinking.
Tay is a combination chatbot and AI system designed by Microsoft to "engage and entertain people where they connect with each other online through casual and playful conversation." It was specifically "targeted at 18 to 24 year olds in the U.S., the dominant users of mobile social chat services in the U.S." If the words "designed" and "targeted" are off-putting, then you're really not going to care for one of the system's recent, now infamous, tweets ... but, there is much, much more to learn from Microsoft's mistake.