Bots Remove Fear, Big Data in Your Beer, Your Future home is Here: Your Friday Briefing


Happy Pink Black Friday, posse! If you’re reading this while wading through doubious bargains in an overcrowded department store, perhaps we can provide some non-retail orientated distraction. And next year, remember you can shop on the internet now. They deliver and everything. But hey, it’s nice to get out.

slackHow Learning Works at Slack

What do great organisations differently in learning? We’ve written elsewhere about the Towards Maturity Report, which analyses the top 10% of performers and picks out key trends. Let’s just pick one that we bet a few of you would benchmark against: Slack. They opened up recently about how learning works there. Not a lot of formal training, it turns out. Their approach is a good example of collaboration, pull not push, and informal learning in action (and, um, using Slack a little more than the LMS).

Find out more about Slack’s approach to learning here

cityNew Hoods: How we’ll live in the future

Someone once said it takes a village. Can’t remember who. But villages and neighbourhoods are changing. Fastcoexist this week took a look at some models for future communities that are more efficient, connected, and modest than most of ours. When your kids take a walk around the neighbourhood in the future, how people live will be very different. If you’re in New York – you’re going down (underground that is, not frontin’).

See the future of neighbourhoods here

botBot of the week: Google’s Bot gives it some lip

Learning to lip read is not easy. Unless you’re a bot. Google fed 5000 hours of TV to its AI program to get it started. Within a short period, it was lip reading at over four times the accuracy of a human. We know you can join your own dots –  but If your job is to write closed captions, might we humbly suggest you stop typing furiously, and start thinking about the next chapter of your life.

How Google’s AI learned to lip read

brainGot the Fear? Let’s Block it, with AI

If news of changing neighbourhoods and bots reading faster than you is giving you the fear, you could go to a therapist and talk it out. But how inefficient, when you can just rip it out with science. Scientists at Cambridge have pioneered a technique called “Decoded Neurofeedback” (coincidentally also a great death metal band in their day). Using AI to isolate your fear locators in the brain, and giving electric shocks and subsequent reward to the parts that show fear of spiders (or your phobia of choice), they can remove the scary stuff. So fear no more. Unless you have an irrational fear of scientists administering shocks and messing with your brain. In which case –  be even more afraid, weirdo.

See how AI can remove fear from your brain



Big Data in Your Beer

One non-scientific way of dealing with fear, we’ve heard, is to throw back a few beers. (Disclaimer: This is not medical or professional guidance from Dr Pink. Feel free not to drink to overcome your fears, let us know if that works too). But look in the bottom of your glass next time – somehow science got in there too. Startup Glassify (let’s take a moment, all of us, to see what they did there) is adding big data to your drinking so you can find the next great beer for you. How long before your glass is telling you to go home and calling your driverless car for you? Don’t worry. That’s at least three weeks away. Drink up while you can.

Here’s how big data got into your drink

Where do we get this stuff? From these briefings:

Future Tech
Big Data News
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