Syndicated from singularityhub.com (Raya Bidshahri) with permission, edited by Mann Made Media.
We’ve all heard the warnings: automation will disrupt entire industries and put millions of people out of jobs. Up to 45 per cent of existing jobs can already be automated using current technology. However, this may not apply to the education sector. After analysing more than 2 000 work activities for more than 800 occupations, McKinsey & Co. reported that of all the sectors examined, “the technical feasibility of automation is lowest in education.”
There’s no doubt that technology will continue to have a powerful impact on global education, both by improving the learning experience and by increasing global access to education. Massive open online courses (MOOCs), chatbot tutors, and AI-powered lesson plans are a few examples of the digital transformation in global education. But will robots and artificial intelligence ever fully replace teachers?
The first-ever Singularity University South Africa Summit (23-24 August 2017) on the African continent aims to equip attendees with exponential knowledge and understanding about how to tackle the country’s and continent’s grand challenges, such as the lack of quality education, high unemployment rates, food security, disaster relief, governance to name a few, through practical and applicable teachings. Thought leaders and industry specialists from various sectors, such as education, healthcare, finance, and energy will present at this thought-provoking summit.
Sizwe Nxasana is the founder of Sifiso Learning Group, which is involved in Edtech and academic publishing, and also founded Future Nation Schools – a chain of affordable private schools in South Africa. He holds education in very high esteem and has a BCom, BCompt (Hons), CA (SA) qualifications and has also been conferred with honorary doctorates by the University of Fort Hare, the Durban University of Technology, the University of Johannesburg and the Walter Sisulu University. Nxasana is the co-founder and chairman of the National Education Collaboration Trust and was appointed chairman of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme. He is also chairman of the Ministerial Task Team that’s developing a new funding model for students who come from poor and “missing middle” backgrounds. Nxasana understands the importance of education and its impact on individuals – especially women and children from disadvantaged backgrounds – the economy, and how it positively affects prosperity, future economic growth and social stability. All of which makes his more than qualified and experienced to speak about the future of education at the inaugural Singularity University South Africa Summit.
The Most Difficult Sector to Automate
While tasks revolving around education – like administration or facilities maintenance – are open to automation, teaching is not.
Effective education involves more than just the transfer of information from teacher to student. Good teaching requires complex social interactions and adaptation to each student’s learning needs and their cultural-social context. An effective teacher is not just responsive to each student’s strengths and weaknesses, but is also empathetic towards their state of mind. Teachers aim to maximise human potential. Vienne Ming, SU Faculty member of Cognitive Neuroscience, will be speaking on that very topic at the Summit in South Africa.
Students also rely on teachers for life guidance and career mentorship. Deep and meaningful human interaction is crucial, and very difficult, if not impossible, to automate. Automating teaching would require artificial general intelligence (as opposed to narrow or specific intelligence). It would require an AI that understands natural human language, can be empathetic towards emotions, plan, strategise and make impactful decisions under unpredictable circumstances. This would be the kind of machine that can do anything a human can do, and it doesn’t exist – yet.
Just because it’s difficult to fully automate teaching, doesn’t mean AI experts aren’t trying.
Jill Watson, a teaching assistant at Georgia Institute of Technology, is an IBM-powered artificial intelligence that’s being implemented in universities around the world. She is able to answer students’ questions with 97 per cent accuracy. Technologies like this also have applications in grading and providing feedback. Some AI algorithms are being refined to perform automatic essay scoring. One project has achieved a 0.945 correlation with human graders. This will have remarkable impacts on online education and will dramatically increase online student retention rates.
Any student with internet can access information and free courses (MOOCs) from universities around the world, but not all students can receive customised feedback due to the limit of manpower. Chatbots like Jill Watson allow the opportunity for students to have their work reviewed and all their questions answered at a minimal cost.
AI algorithms also have a significant role to play in the personalisation of education. Data analysis helps improves students’ results by assessing each student’s learning strengths and weaknesses and creating mass-customised programmes. Algorithms can analyse student data and create flexible programmes that adapt based on real-time feedback. According to the McKinsey Global Institute, all of this data could unlock up to $1.2 trillion in global economic value.
Beyond Automated Teaching
But technological automation alone won’t even begin to tackle the many issues in our global education system. Outdated curricula, standardised tests, and an emphasis on short-term knowledge, call for a transformation of how we teach. It’s not sufficient to automate the process. We must not only be innovative with our automation capabilities, but also with educational content, strategy and policies. And on the continent, there’s an even more pressing issue, the fact that many children don’t even have access or can’t afford quality teachers, school facilities and adequate learning materials in the first place. The lack of education is one of the most vital grand challenges that needs to be addressed in order to move Africa forward and to help realise the future of human potential.
To learn more about how disruptive and exponential technologies will transform your business, and revolutionise the education sector, book your tickets to the upcoming Singularity University South Africa Summit . SingularityU South Africa Summit in collaboration with Standard Bank, global partners Deloitte and strategic partners MTN and SAP, is produced by Mann Made Media and will take place on the 23-24 August 2017 at Kyalami Grand Prix and International Convention Centre.
There are limited tickets so be sure to purchase your ticket today to avoid missing out on the summit that is going to #futureproofAfrica.
If you have already secured your tickets to the summit, download the event app so that you will be up to date with all the event details, speaker forums, hot topics and the summit competition.
7 Disruptive Technologies Changing The World // Pricing the World’s 7 Biggest Disruptive Technologies
Syndicated from singularityhub.com (Jason Dorrier) with permission, edited by Mann Made Media.
South Africa is embracing disruptive technologies
Scientists, technologists, engineers, innovators and visionaries are using disruptive technologies to help solve the world’s grand challenges, such as unemployment, lack of education and food security. Disruptive technologies are helping to find alternative energy solutions, revolutionise medical technologies, re-engineer the way economies function and support human rights.
Singularity University empowers the global community with the mindset, skill set and network to create an abundant future. The inaugural Singularity University South Africa Summit (23-24 August 2017, Johannesburg) will explore how disruptive technologies drive change in a South African context, side-by-side with South African leaders, change makers, entrepreneurs and innovators.
“We believe innovation is key to growth,” said Catherine Wood founder of ARK Investment Management, a research and investment company focused on disruptive technologies, while speaking at Singularity University’s Exponential Finance in New York. In a recent research report titled Big Ideas 2017, ARK tried to value seven disruptive technologies. Here’s what they found.
1. Fleets of Autonomous Taxis to Overtake Automakers
Today’s automakers have a global market capitalisation of a trillion dollars. Mobility-as-a-service companies are valued at around $115 billion. ARK predicts that by the 2030s mobility-as-a-service companies will be valued at $2 trillion.
By co-founding Metro Africa Xpress (also known as MAX), Nigerian app developer Adetayo Bamiduro has created sustainable earning opportunities for millions of Africans. He will be speaking at the Singularity University South Africa Summit about how MAX connects millions of independent motorcycle taxi owners, many of whom are in the low-income bracket, to transport requests from businesses and consumers in real-time through a mobile app. Bamiduro will be speaking about how the sharing-economy and crowd sourcing should be leveraged for inclusive growth across Africa.
2. Deep Learning Could Be Worth 35 Amazons
Much of the hype surrounding Artificial Intelligence (AI) surrounds deep learning – a subcategory of machine learning. Big tech companies are pursuing deep learning to do practical things. And while the internet has transformed several industries – news, entertainment and advertising, to name a few – deep learning will transform even more by automating transportation, manufacturing, healthcare and finance. And, as is often the case with emerging technologies, it may form new businesses we have yet to imagine.
“Bill Gates has said a breakthrough in machine learning would be worth 10 Microsofts. Microsoft is worth $550 to $600 billion,” said Wood. “We think deep learning is going to be twice that. We think it could approach $17 trillion in market cap – which would be 35 Amazons.”
3. 3D Printing Goes Big
3D printing is becoming part of the industrial production process. Adidas recently partnered with Silicon Valley start-up Carbon to mass-produce 3D-printed shoe midsoles. 3D printing may grow into a $41 billion market by 2020, according to Wood, and McKinsey forecasts it as high as $490 billion by 2025.
4. Genetic engineering
The cost of genome editing – a kind of genetic engineering in which DNA is inserted, deleted or replaced in the genome of a living organism using engineered nucleases – has drastically decreased in the last four years. “There are roughly 10 000 monogenic or single-gene diseases. Only 5% are treatable today,” said Wood. She believes treating these diseases is worth an annual $70 billion globally.
Raymond McCauley, a scientist and engineer, who works at the forefront of biotechnology will be speaking at SingularityU South Africa Summit about how to hack the code of life with digital biology. While Dr Divya Chander, a neuroscientist, will be speaking about groundbreaking medical technologies, such as wearable neural devices and brain monitors.
5. Mobile Transactions Will Grow 15 times by 2020
By 2020, 75% of the world will own a smartphone. Amid smartphones’ many uses, mobile payments has been very impactful across the continent. Coupled with better biometrics security and wide spread acceptance at point-of-sale, ARK believes mobile transactions could grow 15 times, from $1 trillion to upwards of $15 trillion by 2020. Mobile payments make sharing economy transactions easier and are the key to financial inclusion in emerging markets, such as South Africa.
6. Robotics and Automation = $12 Trillion by 2035
Driven by declining costs more businesses are adopting robots. Amazon’s warehouse robot workforce has grown from 1 000 to nearly 50 000 since 2014. “And they have never laid off anyone, other than for performance reasons, in their distribution centres,” said Wood. It’s only natural that the digitalisation and mechanisation of the labour landscape leads many to fear job losses. The anxieties of job security in the future will be unpacked at the Singularity University South Africa Summit by Mxolisi Mgojo, CEO of Exxaro. The title of his talk is The Future of Work.
This is only the beginning of automation driven by cheaper, smarter, safer, and more flexible robots. By 2035, the US GDP is estimated to be $12 trillion more than it would have been without robotics and automation. Dr Vivienne Ming and Sarah Bergbreiter will be putting things into context during their talks on artificial intelligence and robotics, respectively, at the summit.
7. Blockchain and Cryptoassets
Blockchain-enabled cryptoassets, such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Steem, have caused a stir in recent years. Besides Bitcoin there are now 700-odd other cryptoassets. Bitcoin has a market value of nearly $40 billion, up from $3 billion two years ago, but it’s only half the sector’s value.
The SingularityU South Africa Summit will include four sessions and a panel discussion on how exponential technologies and thinking affect business and the finance sector. Mandy Simpson will share insights into how blockchain may secure the future. Funeka Montjane, CEO of personal and business banking at Standard Bank, will present on the future of banking, and Jaya Baloo will speak about how to create a safer cyberspace.
Wood believes there’s at least one big area blockchain and cryptoassets are poised to break into: the $500-billion, fee-based business of sending money across borders. Remittance is very popular across the continent, especially with so many economic migrants seeking employment in wealthier neighbouring countries.
SingularityU South Africa Summit, in collaboration with Standard Bank, global partners Deloitte and strategic partners MTN and SAP, is produced by Mann Made Media and will take place on the 23-24 August 2017 at Kyalami Grand Prix and International Convention Centre.
Predictions of when machines will make us obsolete seem to come either from AI evangelists or doom-mongers with little practical experience of the field. Now though, researchers have carried out the largest-ever survey of machine learning experts on the subject.
The advent of AI that can outperform humans at various tasks will have a dramatic impact on society, so forecasting when particular skills or jobs will be automated could be invaluable for policymakers.
But the field is so fiendishly complex and has so many specialized sub-disciplines that there are very few people in a position to forecast when these breakthroughs will come. So instead, researchers at the Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute decided to crowdsource the problem.
They contacted 1,634 researchers who published papers at the 2015 NIPS and ICML conferences—the two leading machine learning conferences—and asked them to complete a survey on the topic, with 352 researchers responding.
“The aggregate forecast was that there is a 50 percent chance that ‘unaided machines can accomplish every task better and more cheaply than human workers’ within 45 years.”
When all the researchers’ answers were combined, the aggregate forecast was that there is a 50 percent chance that “unaided machines can accomplish every task better and more cheaply than human workers” within 45 years, and a 10 percent chance of it occurring within nine years.
Interestingly, there was a large discrepancy between the predictions of Asian respondents, who expect this to occur in 30 years, and North Americans, who expect it to take 74 years.
And when the question was worded slightly differently to gauge when all human labor would be automated rather than just when it could be, the aggregate forecast was a 50 percent chance in 122 years from now and a 10 percent chance within 20 years.
The survey also asked for predictions for when a few specific activities would be taken over by machines such as: translating languages (by 2024), writing high-school essays (by 2026), driving a truck (by 2027), working in retail (by 2031), writing a bestselling book (by 2049), and working as a surgeon (by 2053).
However, the usefulness of specific predictions like this is exemplified by the fact that back in 2015 the researchers predicted it would take until 2027 for an AI to beat a human at the board game Go. Google DeepMind’s Alpha Go beat a top-ranked professional the following year and the world’s number one this year.
“Perhaps more interesting are some of the broader findings of the survey, such as a perception that progress in machine learning is accelerating.”
Perhaps more interesting are some of the broader findings of the survey, such as a perception that progress in machine learning is accelerating. More than two-thirds of respondents said progress was faster in the second half of their career and only 10 percent said progress was faster in the first half.
There was little support for one of the mainstays of AI evangelism, though. The “intelligence explosion” is the idea that once AI reaches human-level intelligence, including in developing AI, their ability to operate in parallel and at far greater speeds than humans will lead to rapid growth in their capabilities.
When asked how likely it was that AI would perform vastly better than humans in all tasks two years after machines overtook human capabilities the median probability was just 10 percent. When asked whether there would be explosive global technological improvement after two years the median probability was 20 percent.
“The vast majority of respondents thought machines outperforming humans would have a positive impact on humanity.”
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of respondents thought machines outperforming humans would have a positive impact on humanity. But 48 percent also said there should be more research aimed at minimizing the risks of AI.
While the results of the survey are informative, it’s important to remember that machine learning researchers are inherently enthusiastic about the technology. That means they’re liable to overestimate the speed of progress, while simultaneously underestimating the potential negative implications.
They are also probably not really qualified to judge how technological advances will interact with things like politics, economics, and human psychology. Just because a machine can do something doesn’t necessarily mean it will. There are many other factors involved in determining whether AI will be widely adopted than just technological readiness.
Nevertheless, the perspective of those on the bleeding edge of AI research is an important one. While they may have blind spots, they’re certainly better positioned to pass judgment than many of the commentators weighing in on the debate. Let’s just hope their optimism is well-founded.
by Edd Gent – Jul 25, 2017, from www.singularityhub.com
First-ever Singularity University Summit to be held in Africa
23-24 August 2017 to foster Innovation For Good
Two-day international summit to highlight the impact of AI, robotics, blockchain and other exponential technologies in healthcare, security, design and finance
Kyalami, Johannesburg, South Africa (23-24Aug) — Singularity University (SU), a global community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s greatest challenges, has announced its first international summit on the African Continent.
The two-day SingularityU South Africa Summit (#futureproofAfrica) is being hosted in collaboration with Standard Bank, and with key strategic partners, including Deloitte, MTN, and SAP and is being produced by Mann Made Media. SingularityU South Africa Summit will convene exponential thought leaders, SU faculty, and organizations from around the world to provide participants with insights into emerging exponential technologies and how they can be used to create positive change and economic growth in the region.
Corporate South Africa realises the importance of change and the influence of innovation and technology across all sectors. In response, this unique summit in Johannesburg will present a display of advanced technologies, extensive debate, and collaborative discussions, offering an exchange of ideas and existing best practices in the fields of healthcare, cyberspace, AI, robotics, big data, finance, and design. In addition to expert presentations, participants will explore questions ranging from trending technological changes across the globe, to their impact on industry growth and region-specific challenges. The Summit will also showcase African entrepreneurs and innovations in the interactive exhibitor halls.
“Singularity University is proud to be working with Standard Bank and Mann Made Media to host this first-ever SingularityU South Africa Summit, and to connect with Africa’s leaders and organizations shaping the future,” remarked Rob Nail, Associate Founder and CEO of Singularity University. “South Africa represents a microcosm of the challenges facing humanity worldwide and is fast gaining a solid reputation as a global centre. Through this Summit, we hope to connect and inspire leaders in the region to effect global impact.”
Summit speakers to date include:
Ramez Naam, SU faculty, computer scientist, futurist, and award-winning author. Naam spent 13 years at Microsoft, developing early versions of Microsoft Outlook, Internet Explorer, and Bing, and later served as Partner and Director of Program Management. Naam holds 19 patents related to search engines, information retrieval, web browsing, artificial intelligence, and machine learning and founded Apex NanoTechnologies, the world first company devoted entirely to software tools to accelerate molecular design. Naam lectures on energy, environment, and innovation at Singularity University.
David Roberts, SU faculty and award-winning CEO. A serial entrepreneur, Roberts has started ventures backed with more than $100 million of investment from Kleiner Perkins, Vinod Khosla, Cisco, Oracle, Accenture, In-Q-Tel, and others. He serves as Chairman of HaloDrop, a global drone services company; Chairman at 1QBit, the world’s first software company for quantum computers, and is an adviser to Made-In Space, which manufactured the first object in space with a 3D printer on the International Space Station.
Raymond McCauley, SU faculty, scientist, engineer, and entrepreneur. McCauley works at the forefront of biotechnology, exploring the effects of advanced technology on biology, genetics, medicine, and agriculture. He is the Co-founder and Chief Architect for BioCurious, a biotech hackerspace. McCauley was also part of the team developing DNA sequencing at Illumina, where he worked in bioinformatics, cancer sequencing, and personal genomics.
Mandy Simpson, CEO of New Zealand-based Cyber Toa. Simpson helps companies secure their digital footprint in today’s ever-changing digital landscape. She has extensive experience in capital markets, including four years as COO at NZX, developing blockchain technology for financial markets. Previously, she served as CFO of the technology company, Fronde. Simpson worked for Deloitte Consulting (UK) and the London Stock Exchange in the areas of financial investigation and surveillance. She is a member of the board of directors of Punakaiki Fund and NZTech, and is an active investor in early stage companies as well as an advisory board member at BraveNewCoin, which delivers blockchain and digital-asset market news, data, analysis, and industry resources.
A complete list of speakers for SingularityU South Africa can be viewed here.
“South Africa has a unique opportunity to play a vital role in shaping an abundant future for all Africans,” said Mic Mann, Organizer of the SingularityU South Africa Summit. “Our ability to leverage and develop accelerating technologies in the coming years, will allow us to leapfrog legacy systems and compete in the global economy and have a massive impact on our growth and economic health. It is of the utmost importance for us to bring Singularity University to South Africa to educate, empower and inspire leaders and future leaders in Africa.”
About SingularityU Summits
SingularityU Summits are two-day conferences held around the globe to help local leaders understand how exponential technologies can be used to create positive change and economic growth in their region. Summits become an annual point of contact and inspiration for the local community, a catalyst to accelerate a local culture of innovation, and an opportunity to highlight breakthrough technologies, startups, and ideas. SingularityU Summits are attended by the general public, government officials, entrepreneurs, investors, NGOs, impact partners, and educators, and may include educational tracks for government and youth.
More at: singularityuglobal.org
About Singularity University
Singularity University (“SU”) is a global learning and innovation community using exponential technologies to tackle the world’s biggest challenges and build an abundant future for all. SU’s collaborative platform empowers individuals and organizations across the globe to learn, connect, and innovate breakthrough solutions using accelerating technologies like artificial intelligence, robotics, and digital biology. A certified benefit corporation, SU was founded in 2008 by renowned innovators Ray Kurzweil and Peter H. Diamandis and is partnered with leading organizations, including Google, Deloitte, and UNICEF.
To learn more, visit SU.org, join us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @SingularityU.
In collaboration with
For press enquiries, please contact:
Samantha Wilkins email@example.com
Chantelle Virgillito firstname.lastname@example.org
For Summit queries, please contact:
Mann Made Media
Mic Mann email@example.com
Brandon Lunn firstname.lastname@example.org