Shifting the Boundaries of Human Computer Interaction with AI: The Video

AI need not be a zero sum game. Computers will not “win,” and neither do they need to know about winning. But neither will  humans. Computers, with AI, are tools that will continue to amplify our capabilities and even help us to better understand the world in which we live.

Human Computer Interaction (HCI) has always been an important topic, though occasionally ignored. Studies of HCI have led to everything from point and click interfaces to Natural Language Processing (NLP). As HCI has shaped our connection to the world of machines, AI components have been added to better anticipate and respond to requests.

Many new HCI possibilities revolve around language processing, but there is a new interest in understanding and incorporating human emotion in these interactions. Understanding and reacting to emotion will make interaction with machines more complex, and will open whole new avenues for exploration.

Following are a few videos on HCI and AI, provided with standard YouTube license, and the explanations from their landing pages.

Games and Human Computer Interaction (UC Santa Cruz)

Published on May 2, 2016

Professor of Computational Media, Katherine Currie Isbister and her students use games to explore how technology can influence human’s emotional experiences.


Stanford Seminar: Building Machines That Understand and Shape Human Emotion (stanfordonline)

Published on Feb 3, 2017

Seminar by Jonathan Gratch, Research Professor of Computer Science and Psychology at the University of Southern California (USC) and Director for Virtual Human Research at the USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies.

“Affective Computing is the field of research directed at creating technology that recognizes, interprets, simulates and stimulates human emotion. In this talk, I will broadly overview my fifteen years of effort in advancing this nascent field, and emphasize the rich interdisciplinary connections between computational and scientific approaches to emotion. I will touch on several broad questions: Can a machine understand human emotion? To what end? Can a machine “have” emotion, and how would this impact the humans that interact with them? I will address these questions in the context of several domains, including healthcare, economic decision-making and interpersonal-skills training. I will discuss the consequences of these findings for theories of intelligence (i.e., what function does emotion serve in human intelligence and could this benefit machines?) as well as their practical implications for human-computer, computer-mediated and human-robot interaction. Throughout, I will argue the need for an interdisciplinary partnership between the social and computational sciences around to topic of emotion.”

Barbara Grosz: Designing AI to Complement Humanity (The Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society)

Published on Jan 10, 2017

Barbara Grosz of the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University and the Stanford One Hundred Year Study on Artificial Intelligence (AI100) considers how AI is being developed to complement, rather than displace, humanity.

Reimagining Human Computer Interaction with Cloud Speech API (Google Cloud)

Published on Mar 9, 2017

Learn how Cloud Speech API enables developers to build a new genre of applications. Cloud Speech API enables users to interact with your mobile and IoT applications in a whole new way. In addition, it enables new opportunities for generating insights from existing audio sources (e.g., phone calls or videos).



IBM and ABB Collaborate to Boost Industry 4.0

Swiss-based engineering giant Asea Brown Boveri (ABB) and IBM have just announced a strategic collaboration that brings together ABB’s industry leading digital sensor and control offering, ABB Ability, with IBM Watson AI-based IoT system to provide a more comprehensive intelligent solution fir control and defect monitoring issues in utilities, industry and transport & infrastructure.

IBM Watson has been moving gradually into a range of new territories as applications for its cognitive capabilities are being explored. This move brings both companies closer to “Industry 4.0” where competition includes not only software companies, but also manufacturing firms such as GE.

The IBM/ABB solution is aimed at varying goals such as improving quality control, reducing downtime and increasing speed and yield of industrial processes by enabling current sensor and data gathering systems to become “cognitive” by using collected data to understand and take actions. ABB brings a deep domain knowledge and extensive portfolio of digital solutions to the mix, which is combined with IBM’s AI capabilities and vertical industry applications. The first two joint industry solutions will bring real-time cognitive insights to finding defects on the factory floor, and optimize maintenance of smart grids.

According to ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofe:

“This powerful combination marks truly the next level of industrial technology, moving beyond current connected systems that simply gather data, to industrial operations and machines that use data to sense, analyze, optimize and take actions that drive greater uptime, speed and yield for industrial customers. With an installed base of 70 million connected devices, 70,000 digital control systems and 6,000 enterprise software solutions, ABB is a trusted leader in the industrial space, and has a four decade long history of creating digital solutions for customers. IBM is a leader in artificial intelligence and cognitive computing. Together, IBM and ABB will create powerful solutions for customers to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Part of ABBs business strategy is collaboration with other vendors, which includes partnering with IBM, Microsoft, and Wipro, among others in delivery of its digital solutions. Prior to the IBM deal, ABB has been using predictive and prescriptive analytics, plus customized models based extensive industry expertise, to identify and prioritize emerging maintenance needs based on probability of failure and asset criticality.

For IBM, this the collaboration aids in bringing Watson deeper into the crucial Industry 4.0 space, a key area for technological progress in IoT and AI. According to IBM CEO, Ginni Rometty:

“This important collaboration with ABB will take Watson even deeper into industrial applications — from manufacturing, to utilities, to transportation and more. The data generated from industrial companies’ products, facilities and systems holds the promise of exponential advances in innovation, efficiency and safety. Only with Watson’s broad cognitive capabilities and our platform’s unique support for industries can this vast new resource be turned into value, with trust. We are eager to work in partnership with ABB on this new industrial era.”

We can expect an onslaught of collaborations, mergers and acquisitions, and talent wars across this valuable sector as major industrial and IT forces join in the fray.


Ease of Access vs Security: Oops the Intern Goes Driving

Improving access to technology and increasing usability inevitably has an impact upon security. So does increased complexity.  New modes of access create a ripple effect in infrastructure that can create unforeseen opportunities for intrusion. This is inevitable. It does not, however, mean that we should avoid making things easier. It means that basic design should start with security in mind.

We have already seen how hackers can gain access to devices from online webcams to cars. AI opens whole new realms for exploitation. It is critical to be mindful of this as we create the technologies of the future.

We created a cartoon on this a few years back. Alas, it remains a valid concern.

Oops the Intern Goes Driving


Nativism, Technology, Markets, and You

As we ponder the effects of global trends which brought us the recent US election and Brexit, the theme of nativism continues to play strongly. Nativism is the urge to reject external influences, such as immigration, and focus upon one’s own country in a zero-sum game. The world is viewed as a continuous competition, in which only one “side” can ever win. It can lead to isolationism and aggression, creating mirroring responses throughout the globe.

Nativism in the US is powerful and influential with the current administration, but it has an important context. The world is changing rapidly and we are in the throes of an extraordinary technological revolution. Many of the reasons for the growth of nativism are related to adaptation issues with technology.

The Internet has blown the human conversation into a million shards of conflicting opinions and information with varying degrees of truth. Simultaneously, education and affluence have grown in countries around the world, particularly in India and China. While technology makes it possible to conduct business across vast distances, it also enables companies to move swiftly between countries for tax benefit, or to create overseas research capabilities.

These changes will be felt most particularly in technology markets themselves, as companies struggle to meet the demands of changing geopolitical influence and new business clusters emerge around the world.

For the IT sector, we can see:

  • Increased movement to cloud computing and digitization, fueled by the need to provide mobility and instant access to information, processes, and resources in locations around the globe.
  • Accelerating repatriation of Indian and Chinese technologists to their native countries, in response to anti-immigration policies and regulatory constraints (Baidu Adds xPerception to its AI/VR Stockpile). This is aided by improving home country conditions.
  • A continued rise in development of virtual and remote enablement technologies such as collaboration tools. This will lead to greater interest in AI, mixed with VR to perform the mechanics underlying real time conferencing across national borders (On the Intersection of AI and Augmented Reality).
  • Development of new re-headquartering protocols as companies hedge their bets and realize that they can now move more easily to tax havens such as Ireland or toward closer proximity to markets in Asia which are growing at a faster rate than markets in the West.
  • An increasing geopolitical benefit to countries which avoid nativism and embrace immigration, particularly with the huge numbers of engineers that are coming of age in China, India, and the European Union.
  • Development of overseas resources and research hubs for all international firms to hedge against immigration policies, as we have already seen with Intel and its recent MobilEye acquisition (Car Wars: Intel Bags Mobileye), which takes AI research to Israel.
  • An increase in automation and further support of AI and robotics in the workplace as US companies attempt to retain operations in America, where the cost of a human workforce remains high.
  • A growing uncertainty over markets in the US, leading to a wide range of effects overseas. The locus of innovation could move, and the structure of international finance could change due to the combination of Brexit and Trump.

There are likely to be a wide range of additional repercussions. The progress of these issues will remain obscured since technology is evolving swiftly, and creating so many fault lines and subordinate processes that it will be impossible to gauge the mid-term result.

We can expect an acceleration of global change. Just as nativism is in itself a result of disruption brought about by technology, it also tends to increase these effects. Political repercussions will inevitably follow. As countries withdraw from international cooperation to seek independent advancement, reaction will include political and military adventures, with uncertain economic results.

Ultimately, this could force even greater globalization and move technical concentrations around the globe. This will create in a flowering of technological innovation in diverse locations, with particularly interesting possibilities in China–which already leads the world in patents. Forcing China to be more self-reliant plays into its traditional strengths and can create surprises as Chinese technological firms develop in stealth mode and come into confrontation with Western firms.

Nativism is likely to increase in ferocity in the coming years, though it is faced with a strong resistance which could prevail as people react to negative effects on security and jobs. There is a tectonic shift underway that will create major changes; uncertainty is likely to emerge as a dominant theme. As with the age of Gutenberg, technology has outpaced the capacity to predict the future.

For businesses, it will be increasingly important to act locally but plan globally. National trends must be respected, but the context needs to be understood. Global markets and technology trends will persist. During this readjustment, maintaining balance between local and global demands will be critical.


Blockchain Meets the IoT: the Video

Blockchain, the secure ledger system behind the Bitcoin cryptocurrency, is becoming increasingly important in key usage cases throughout business and industry. It provides a persistent, unalterable record system that is becoming increasingly important to security. And secure transactions are of critical importance in sensitive areas such as finance and health. But one of the most important areas that is now emerging is the connection with the Internet of Things (IoT). The surprising benefits of incorporating blockchain concepts in IoT development are creating intense interest as companies grapple with the needs of new infrastructure.

In these videos, we provide several discussions on the intersection of blockchain and the IoT. The videos are under standard YouTube license, and the description provided is from each video’s landing page (with minor edits).

Blockchain and the Internet of Things explained (IBM Internet of Things)

Published on Nov 2, 2016

A blockchain ledger can create a tamper-resistant record when information needs to be shared among business partners without setting up a costly centralized IT infrastructure. Let’s look at how supply chains benefit when data is shared through a private blockchain.

Next Generation IoT Technologies Using The Block Chain (Samsung Developer Connection)

Published on Dec 1, 2014

Talk by Gurvinder Ahluwalia

An overview of how Samsung and IBM are thinking about the next generation of IoT infrastructure, and why they are using Blockchain. This presents an approach to address the problems of cost, privacy and longevity of smart devices on the Internet Things.

Key Use Cases Intersecting Blockchain and IoT (IBM Internet of Things)

Published on Dec 9, 2016

Jerry Cuomo (Vice President Blockchain Technologies, IBM), Mika Lammi (Head of IoT Business Development, Kouvola Innovation), and James Murphy (Offering Manager, IBM Watson IoT Platform – Risk Management & Security) talk about the trends in business that are driving the pairing of Blockchain and IoT.

Blockchains for the Internet of Things – Solving the IoTs Most Critical Problems (

Published on Jul 7, 2016

Blockchains are poised to revolutionize the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) by providing security, peer-to-peer device communications and new functionality via smart properties. Andre De Castro CEO of Blockchain of Things, Inc. discusses why blockchains make sense for the IIoT



Baidu Adds xPerception to its AI/VR Stockpile

Leading Chinese Internet search provider Baidu is acquiring US startup xPerception, an AI-based visual perception software and hardware provider for robotics and virtual reality (VR). This provides important talent for the company’s moves into AI, with xPerception co-founders, Dr. Bao Yingze and Dr. Chen Mingyu, who were both key engineers at AR startup Magic Leap. The xPerception team will move to the US and Beijing offices of Baidu Research and continue developing xPerception’s Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) technology.

SLAM is critical to visual perception used in a variety of  AI and VR roles, including 3D vision, robotics, drones and autonomous driving. The base of xPerception technology is a 3D visual inertial camera on mobile platforms, with a sophisticated SDK that enables pose tracking, low-latency sensor fusion, and object recognition. This permits self-localization, 3D structure reconstruction, and path planning in new environments. These technologies linking AI and VR are opening new opportunities, as discussed in the recent blog On the Intersection of AI and Augmented Reality.

In addition to integration with Baidu AI and autonomous driving programs, the xPerception acquisition provides high-demand skills and helps to defray concerns over US regulations and immigration policies. There has recently been potential regulatory blockage of Chinese acquisitions, most notably claims that Alibaba Group’s $1.2 billion bid for U.S. firm MoneyGram International poses national security risks. U.S. lawmakers are requesting  review by the Committee on Foreign Investment. Meanwhile, Chinese internet firm LeEco has terminated of a $2 billion bid for U.S. electronics firm Vizio due to regulatory issues. Baidu’s splitting of its AI research between Beijing and California provides assurance that changing US immigration policies will not overly affect research agendas, while providing access to US-based talent and skills networks.

Baidu has been active in AI for some years now, but finding talent in this area is difficult. High-profile chief scientist, Andrew Ng, left the company  in March, making addition of experienced AI/VR staff a priority. Its commitment to this area is further demonstrated by the Chinese government’s  February selection of Baidu to set up a national AI lab. Baidu Research currently maintains four analytics and AI labs: a Silicon Valley AI Lab, the Institute of Deep Learning, the Big Data Lab and the Augmented Reality Lab. According to Ng, Baidu’s AI group now includes about 1,300 people.

The search for AI talent is global, fueled by visions of integrating this rapidly developing technology with an increasing range of business and technology processes. Autonomous vehicles continue to be a driving force. Meanwhile, globalization issues may drive companies to hedge their bets, particularly in China and India. The last large acquisition, Intel’s purchase of Mobileye, split research between Silicon Valley and Israel. (Car Wars: Intel Bags Mobileye).