Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Robots are coming! The Robots are coming!

This is a video making waves on YouTube - it was published earlier today and already has >400,000 views.

The video caught my attention for multiple reasons

  • It is a beautifully created mashup - I did a workshop on creating video mashups (with +Ali Reza Jalali+Anne Marie Cunningham and +Natalie Lafferty)  using publicly available resources but this is awesome in its quality.  Our slideshare of the workshop is available here.
  • I have been working on the IBM Watson - Cleveland Clinic collaborative project, helping Watson learn medicine.  The goal is to improve the quality of care we provide to our patients.  I wonder if some day we will look back and wonder about the future we might have helped create.  This very funny video interview with Stephen Hawking does leave one with a vaguee sense of unease.

    • But most of all, even if this future is somewhat far away, are we preparing our students for this?  What will be the role of humans and how can we create learning environments that will help our students adapt to this?  Where will the integration of artificial intelligence, natural language processing, robotics, the Internet of Things leave the humans?

    Friday, August 8, 2014

    Google Glass Experience: Part 1 - Connectivity

    Technology is headed in the direction of integrating

    • Wearable devices
    • Augmented reality
    • Artificial intelligence
    • Natural language processing and
    • Connected devices - Internet
    Google Glass is an example of how some of these technologies can come together.
    I recently got Google Glass and will be chronicling my experiences with it.  This series (hopefully) of posts will cover my specific situations and again hopefully the solutions for the problems I face.

    Connecting Glass to the Web at Work

    While Glass can take pictures or record videos without Internet connectivity, it becomes more useful when connected.  

    My Situation:

    1. Phone: iPhone 5 running iOS 7.1.2 (this is a work phone - does not reflect my choice)
    2. WiFi at work 
      1. Public Wifi with ToS (Requires to go to a website to accept terms of service to get access)
      2. Enterprise WiFi - WPA2 - enterprise

    Glass can get connected in 2 ways

    1. Via Bluetooth tethering with a smartphone or tablet which has Internet connectivity via
      1. Cellular data plan OR
      2. WiFi
    2. Direct connection from Glass to WiFi.  Glass cannot connect to WiFi that is
      1. Public but requires Terms of service acceptance on a website
      2. WPA2- enterprise

    So in my case option # 2 (Direct connection to WiFi at work) is out.

    For option # 1, let us consider the 2 most popular OS's

    1. Android - works seamlessly - just pair the device to Glass via Bluetooth and all your troubles are over!  It will use either the phone/tablet's cellular data plan or use data from the WiFi that the phone/tablet is connected to.
    2. iOS - while it is easy to pair Glass with the iPhone, it WILL NOT connect even to the WiFi signal unless the "Personal Hotspot" feature is turned on.  The problem is that this requires an additional monthly charge even though you might just be using the phone to connect to WiFi. which is either free or you have paid for.
    Need to set up Personal Hotspot on iOS
    So in short there is not way to use Google Glass at work without paying an additional monthly fee it seems.
    Ideally Apple needs to enable the Hotspot feature automatically when the phone is connected to WiFi and need us to pay or take additional steps (e.g. use shared data plans) only if we use cellular data.  

    My Solution (s):

    1. Use an old Android device 
      • Pair this device to Glass; Connect the Andorid device the Public WiFi at work and thus connect Glass to the Public WiFi.  The problem is the need to carry an additional device and keep it charged
    2. Use a MiFi - again same problems (additional device, charging).
    3. There is another potential solution that I have not tried yet.

    Another issue is setting up WiFi on Glass

    If you have an Android device, that you pair with Glass, the MyGlass App on the device will work seamlessly in setting up the WiFi on Glass.
    You can also use the MyGlass app on iPhone or visit to set up the WiFi.  This requires scanning a QR code using Glass.  When I tried to set up Glass to connect to a MiFi using this method it did not work (both with iPhone and browser) but it worked first time with an old Android tablet.

    MyGlass Dashboard 

    Example of QR code to set up WiFi

    Glass at least at this stage is difficult to connect to the Internet if you have the same WiFi situation as I do and do not have an Android device.  

    Monday, May 26, 2014

    Twitter for awareness, Google+ for discussion?

    This is a follow up post to the one I wrote in February, regarding the lack of in depth discussions on social media and the fact that people often share links to posts they have not even read.  The suggestion was that the academic world needs its own "Acamedia" rather than rely on social media alone.

    Since then both NPR and NY Times have echoed similar thoughts which leads me to suggesting a Twitter + Google+ model for academia.

    NPR played a terrific April Fool's joke:
    From ""
    NY Times had an opinion piece by Karl Taro Greenfeld which discusses how one can fake cultural literacy by picking up bits of information on social media streams instead of consuming the primary source.

    The author states,
    "It's never been so easy to pretend to know so much without actually knowing anything."
    An example from the piece,
    "What was Solange Knowles's elevator attack on Jay-Z about? I didn't watch the security-camera video on TMZ - it would have taken too long - but I scrolled through enough chatter to know that Solange had ...."
    Some may argue that spending any amount of time to learn more on that story is time wasted but if you have to know something so you don't feel left out at some cocktail conversation, IMHO this is a fair use of social media.

    One would just hope that people are upfront and state that they are expressing an opinion without having read or consumed the primary source.
    This gets back to the point about the role of social media for discussing academic literature.  Social media is great for sharing links to articles and thus increasing awareness about new evidence as it comes out.  Folks new to social media need to realize that sometimes folks that share may not have read the posts they are sharing.  They are essentially just sharing the fact that the headline is interesting.  In my February post I suggested that sites like Twitter should add a check box to indicate that the "sharer" had actually read the article.

    Another option is to put in a disclaimer that you have not e.g. TL;DR (Too long; Did not read).

    Maybe as the culture of popular social networks (e.g. Twitter) evolves, everyone will realize that this is the default.  Maybe once you identify the article or post to discuss with like-minded people, it is necessary to do it in a different setting which has a different cultural default - one where you don't post unless you have read the piece? Thus a physicist may use Twitter to keep up with trending health news stories like new lipid guidelines but use a different medium to discuss the latest article on Higgs Boson particle while the converse may be true for a physician.

    Google+ may be a perfect model for this.  It has several factors to support this model:
    • Ability to connect with other people with similar interests
    • No limits on length of posts
    • Communities
    • Authentic profiles 
    • Hangouts and Hangouts on Air 
    My previous post had an example of using Google Hangouts on Air for a CME panel discussion.  Once there is full integration between Gmail, Blogger, Google Drive and Google+  and Hangouts, it will create a perfect ecosystem for authentic synchronous and asynchronous discussions - an Acamedia?