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Earnings roundup

Microsoft succeeds... and stagnates. The tech company beat fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue but issued lower quarterly revenue guidance, resulting in minimal stock movement, CNBC reports.

Microsoft beats on revenue and earnings; stock is little changed

Microsoft continues to roll on, but investors will likely start to worry if the growth in Azure, a large part of its cloud business, continues to contract. Other interesting facts: LinkedIn is apparently growing, as are Windows licenses for other computer makers. Revenue for Microsoft's own Surface products

Microsoft continues to roll on, but investors will likely start to worry if the growth in Azure, a large part of its cloud business, continues to contract. Other interesting facts: LinkedIn is apparently growing, as are Windows licenses for other computer makers. Revenue for Microsoft's own Surface products, however, contracted in the quarter. Perhaps everyone knew new products were on the way.

Zuckerberg's battle with trust

Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t understand the unbanked. Not everyone is the eighth-richest person in the world. How are you supposed to use Libra if you can't afford a phone?

Billionaire Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t realize other people don’t have money

What US lawmakers continually fail to see is that Facebook is a global company, just based in the US. I actually completely disagree with this article’s author and the senators quoted from the hearing. While it does seems that Zuckerberg is out of touch with the plight of the American poor, I would argue

What US lawmakers continually fail to see is that Facebook is a global company, just based in the US. I actually completely disagree with this article’s author and the senators quoted from the hearing. While it does seems that Zuckerberg is out of touch with the plight of the American poor, I would argue that his Libra solution is very well suited for poor people in developing countries across the world. “Can’t afford a mobile phone” is the lamest argument I’ve ever heard. In the US there are programs at the state and federal level to provide assistance to people who can’t afford a mobile phone. And across the world, where mobile phones leapfrogged landlines and traditional banking, people own mobiles (some “smart” some traditional) and use them to pay for everything in their daily life, completely digitally. Some people in parts of Asia and Africa have consistent access to cell phones and cell service before having access to air conditioning or clean water. The blank stares in that room are because Libra is a tool for the larger world and the common problems out there, not just what goes on in the confines of the USA

"There's underbanking because people are broke," said Rep. Pressley, a Massachusetts Democrat. "I fail to see how [Libra] helps people with virtually no money. You are attempting to use technology to solve what is inherently an issue of wealth."

The fact that Zuckerberg used people’s trust in sharing their content with Facebook as a foundational reason to trust its currency is lunacy. I guess he’s been too busy isolating himself on his private island to remember the last three years of public conversation. It’s almost hilarious.

Google’s quantum leap

Google achieves "quantum supremacy." After publishing—and swiftly deleting—a paper claiming to have built a machine that could do 10,000 years of supercomputations in mere seconds, CEO Sundar Pichai finally talked to MIT Technology Review about his company's latest breakthrough.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai on achieving quantum supremacy

While this is indeed a milestone (even with a little help by means of sticking to a very narrow task), it's not really relevant for the average person. It just proves in practice something computer scientists expected in theory. That we can prove it now (like what happened with many of Einstein's hypothesis

While this is indeed a milestone (even with a little help by means of sticking to a very narrow task), it's not really relevant for the average person. It just proves in practice something computer scientists expected in theory. That we can prove it now (like what happened with many of Einstein's hypothesis) is a great milestone but not very functional.

On the bright side, the milestone puts pressure on the competition, which will have to accelerate their investments.

Whether or not quantum computing will ever be something that mere humans would need on a daily basis the idea of data analysis on the scale of populations by companies would seem a valuable skill. What will Google ir any social media do if the public decides to protect their data and switch to free access

Whether or not quantum computing will ever be something that mere humans would need on a daily basis the idea of data analysis on the scale of populations by companies would seem a valuable skill. What will Google ir any social media do if the public decides to protect their data and switch to free access systems paid for by advertising.

Putting real women on pedestals

Exceptional humans

Hearing aids are due for an upgrade. New research into the brain's sound mixing capabilities could radically improve how hearing aids work.

A new look at how the brain processes sound could radically improve hearing aids

Different from hearing aids but related: We actually have the technology to address these hearing issues in cochlear implants.

I'm a cochlear implant user (Cochlear, if you're familiar with implant processor companies) and we have features to help us better hear in loud or busy situations mentioned

Different from hearing aids but related: We actually have the technology to address these hearing issues in cochlear implants.

I'm a cochlear implant user (Cochlear, if you're familiar with implant processor companies) and we have features to help us better hear in loud or busy situations mentioned in the article, like the "cocktail party."

We have "Beam," for my implant microphone to specifically focus on one speaker and where my processor lowers the sound of distracting background noise, best for a one-on-one conversation at a crowded restaurant. And we have "Scan," where I can open my implant microphone's focus to hone into about 1-3 people I'm facing, for casual conversations with friends in a loud setting and where multiple people are talking (sort of an "expansion" of the "Beam" setting).

There are other features I haven't mentioned——My audiologist and I can place these settings on certain "programs" (I have four of them on my current processor) and I can toggle between them anytime I'd like. I use the features here and there when they may come in handy.

I had no idea loss of hearing can increase incidence of cognitive decline, like dementia. I also never realized that scientists still do not understand quite how the brain chooses which voice to concentrate on and listen to in chaotic or layered auditory environments (bar, sporting event or cocktail

I had no idea loss of hearing can increase incidence of cognitive decline, like dementia. I also never realized that scientists still do not understand quite how the brain chooses which voice to concentrate on and listen to in chaotic or layered auditory environments (bar, sporting event or cocktail party). I take a lot of my day for granted.

Marking 30 years of the web

The Steve Jobs speech that made Silicon Valley obsessed with pirates. In the early 1980s, Steve Jobs delivered a speech to Apple employees that included a metaphor about pirates. Since then, startups and tech companies have embraced the tale, while simultaneously misinterpreting it.

The Steve Jobs speech that made Silicon Valley obsessed with pirates

It's a tale as old as time: scrappy, innovative outsider becomes the establishment, and the ethos that helped make them that way becomes warped by copycats. The phrase is a perfect microcosm for the tech industry as a whole.

Great article. There is an investor-fueled myth that being a “pirate” is required. Surely, no one gets to define new categories without challenging the status quo. But pirates will be more effective if they can scale like the navy... that’s where the big returns come from.

I’ve had the opportunity

Great article. There is an investor-fueled myth that being a “pirate” is required. Surely, no one gets to define new categories without challenging the status quo. But pirates will be more effective if they can scale like the navy... that’s where the big returns come from.

I’ve had the opportunity to advise some startups and have seen the gamut of overly ambitious with no execution to the opposite end of purely tactical with no bigger ambition. Neither extreme is the place to be over the long term.

But from a cultural perspective, I agree, perhaps new symbols are needed to enable a culture that challenges rules while respectful of individuals...

Jobs was being literal about pirates. According to Wikipedia Jobs misled Atari, lied to Wozniak so he could rip him off and broke laws selling blue boxes to phone phreaks.

Lying stealing greed and a willingness to break the law sounds like a pirate.

Don't understand the confusion.

Technology has opened different doors that make this happen. Remember Napster? It opened the door to music subscriptions and looking at music distribution in a different way, while breaking nearly all the rules in the industry.

To me, Jobs understood the Sillicon Valley ethos long before it became

Technology has opened different doors that make this happen. Remember Napster? It opened the door to music subscriptions and looking at music distribution in a different way, while breaking nearly all the rules in the industry.

To me, Jobs understood the Sillicon Valley ethos long before it became mainstream. He was one of the original pirates, before it became cool to want to break the way things have worked. I suppose there’s an allure to the notion of being iconoclastic, and Jobs inspired that within Apple’s walls.

White House under pressure

US tech grows globally

Snapchat is finding new life outside the US. Parent company Snap posted its third-quarter earnings report this week, which revealed that it added 7 million new daily active users. The bulk of the new users, 5 million of them, are from new, burgeoning markets.

Snapchat is finding new life outside the US

Netflix’s quarterly report showed that the bulk of their growth Q3 was also outside of the US. Aside from the day-to-day business struggles of a giant silicon-valley funded company, US consumers need to take note that they may be playing second fiddle before long when it comes to their favorite brands and Apps

Positive signs for Snap, but I still think it’s going to be a massive test for them to compete for ad revenue against Instagram and now TikTok. It’s great that they’re experimenting and finding new users outside of the US, but without new revenue streams, I can’t see how they get to profitability anytime

Positive signs for Snap, but I still think it’s going to be a massive test for them to compete for ad revenue against Instagram and now TikTok. It’s great that they’re experimenting and finding new users outside of the US, but without new revenue streams, I can’t see how they get to profitability anytime soon. Hope I’m proven wrong though, as they’re one of the few social sites constantly taking risks and trying new things.

India's coal addiction

What makes coal so dirty? It’s a crucial question, given that without cutting its use drastically, the world won’t hit its greenhouse gas emissions targets. Quartz reporter Akshat explains the trouble with the sedimentary rock, which India uses for 55% of its energy. ✦

The science of what makes coal so dirty

Coal's many sins shouldn't be used to forget the value it has offered to humanity. Coal powered the industrial revolution and it continues to pull people out of poverty in much of the world. During the 17th and 18th centuries, coal helped create the carbon-based branch of chemistry we call "organic chemistry,

Coal's many sins shouldn't be used to forget the value it has offered to humanity. Coal powered the industrial revolution and it continues to pull people out of poverty in much of the world. During the 17th and 18th centuries, coal helped create the carbon-based branch of chemistry we call "organic chemistry," which I studied to gain my PhD from the University of Oxford. Organic chemists have won one in five of all Nobel Prizes in chemistry awarded over the last 120 years.

Coal is typically just carbon when taught in chemistry class. I had no idea that in reality, it contains so many other elements (mercury, cadmium, etc). The coal scientist Akshat quotes sums it up nicely: “coal is the most complex solid we’ve ever found and analyzed”.

Quartz at Work

Butter come back soon 🦋

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The Messy Reality of Personalized Learning

The Messy Reality of Personalized Learning

Read more on The New Yorker

From Our Members

  • From what I’ve obvserved in the EdTech ecosystem over the last 10 years, personalized learning is the ultimate fantasy/white whale. Sucks up mountains of capital, and yet never comes close to living up to the hype. My controversial opinion: the goal of our edu isn’t actually unique individual learning

    From what I’ve obvserved in the EdTech ecosystem over the last 10 years, personalized learning is the ultimate fantasy/white whale. Sucks up mountains of capital, and yet never comes close to living up to the hype. My controversial opinion: the goal of our edu isn’t actually unique individual learning paths - it’s uniformity and standard outputs.

  • The stunning part on this story is that the specific failures are all the same. Refusal to fund diverse teams to solve something that is actually a quite simple problem. Millions invested in people trying to solve problems they never had.

  • In the United States we already have a massive problem with groupthink because of education. when 90% of all of Senior Management in financial institutions comes from the same MBA background and most engineering in tech companies comes from the same background, the impact on innovation and creativity

    In the United States we already have a massive problem with groupthink because of education. when 90% of all of Senior Management in financial institutions comes from the same MBA background and most engineering in tech companies comes from the same background, the impact on innovation and creativity is already hampered badly to the point where we as a nation are in a dire need of diversity and inclusion. Education programs that structure homogeneity defeat everything that we need and we'll send the entire nation into a deeper and deeper inside the box thinking.

  • As a matter of fact, the goal of education is not to produce and grow children into a successful uniform output, whats ideal is to find and grow the irregularities of each individual.

  • The etymology of "Education" is "Lead Out" or "Out of the Path".

    The word says it all or we should use an other word for a different purpose.

    Education is meant to enable an individual to think by itself and lay down new paths for its life and the others.

    De Montaigne was writing 500 years ago that

    The etymology of "Education" is "Lead Out" or "Out of the Path".

    The word says it all or we should use an other word for a different purpose.

    Education is meant to enable an individual to think by itself and lay down new paths for its life and the others.

    De Montaigne was writing 500 years ago that he prefers 'a well developed mind rather than a head full of facts".

    Education is freedom and makes you an individual shaping the future. Once you know how to decide by yourself you can gather all the knowledge of the world.

    Capability and Knowledge are different and personalized learning should probably focus on both in its natural order.

  • A concept worthy of further exploration. Our modern public schools are in need of an evolution to new methods and approaches.

  • Truly personalized learning will never happen as long as white men of mediocre intelligence dominate state legislatures.

  • The question is: does “But, at elementary schools like Isaac Paine and Orlo Avenue, in the East Providence School District, the basics of the method seemed well adapted to short attention spans”, or is it the other way round? Are shorter attention spans created, or enhanced, by these methods?

  • Personalized learning that is currently being built is the same old crappy online learning. There is no feedback from the stakeholders or really the customers in the Design and Development. Edtech is the only industry where the "customer is considered the problem", and should not be listened to by all

    Personalized learning that is currently being built is the same old crappy online learning. There is no feedback from the stakeholders or really the customers in the Design and Development. Edtech is the only industry where the "customer is considered the problem", and should not be listened to by all cost.

    I have seen Summit in action, it's missing the basic elements of good instructional design principles. Feeding students information then testing them, is not learning. Learning takes place when the student is informed, involved, and engaged with the content. Students need to use the content within different context to get the engagement piece. Learning is social, and Summit is all about the machine, and UI design is a step above Craigslist and is not at all engaging. I watched as students don't even do the lessons, they just click on it take the test and guess. If they don't pass, they just retake it until they guess the right answers. Learning is social, but the only social interactions take place during lunch.

    At VentureBeat's Transform 2019, Google Cloud AI head Andrew Moore emphasis on the need to connect the people who are able to do the deeply complex work to develop algorithms with people from other disciplines to drive practical, high-impact uses of AI. He stated "some of the most impressive uses of AI, he says, have come when outsiders get involved with the design and development process."

    When Silicon Valley Edtech starts understanding this basic concept along with sound business practices, we will see personalized learning emerging. Until then it will just keep on sucking. Very sad for people that care and believe in the power it holds.

  • “The most important thing is a person. A person who incites your curiosity and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.” Steve Jobs.

    He was responding to a question about putting computers in classrooms waaaayy back in the day. Regardless of how you feel about

    “The most important thing is a person. A person who incites your curiosity and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.” Steve Jobs.

    He was responding to a question about putting computers in classrooms waaaayy back in the day. Regardless of how you feel about Jobs, he had it right. As an educator of elementary students in a Montessori Charter I felt grateful that at least he recognized my importance.

    The 25 little souls entrusted to me (4th, 5th and 6th graders) are still curious. I am the guide on the side, not the sage on the stage. I answer most questions with questions. (Socratic) I never do for a child what a child can do for themself (Montessori). My classroom in 1:1 with chromebooks, equipped with a Smartboard and I have a laptop. So yeah, technology is very present in my classroom. But so is eye contact, a whispered encouragement in an ear, a smile, a hug through tears, a touch on the shoulder, laughter and sleepless nights worrying about students. Machines just can’t do that.

  • While I wasn't interested enough in the article to create an account and blah, I thought the comments were interesting. Teacher guided but computer delivered educational content that's personalized is not unattainable, but it would take someone outside of public education to create and prove the tech

    While I wasn't interested enough in the article to create an account and blah, I thought the comments were interesting. Teacher guided but computer delivered educational content that's personalized is not unattainable, but it would take someone outside of public education to create and prove the tech. Once it's proven, adoption would be the next hurdle. But it is possible.

  • The question I’m left considering is how important will the soft skills independent learning be as we move into the future, keeping in mind how much I, a high school student, am told that employers value soft skills highly.

  • Much like the study the author cites, this article also reads like a shrug.

    There's plenty of hand wringing and lazy accusations, but little actual substance here. Surely the New Yorker can do better than "stuff is happening, and we're not sure what to do about it or how to interpret it, but it's probably bad."

  • Just another rant by a technophobe.

    “The old ways, everyone in a class learning with paper, books and pencils, learning the same things at the same time at the same rate and being punished if they can’t keep up, that’s the RIGHT way!” RUBBISH!

    If personalized, tech-based learning had been standard

    Just another rant by a technophobe.

    “The old ways, everyone in a class learning with paper, books and pencils, learning the same things at the same time at the same rate and being punished if they can’t keep up, that’s the RIGHT way!” RUBBISH!

    If personalized, tech-based learning had been standard when I was in school (I’m autistic and have GAD) I would have had a much more positive educational experience. I could have focused on what I was GOOD at (Life Skills Math, History, Geography, Art, Home Economics and Computer Science) and prepared myself better for the life *I* wanted.

    I’m a high school graduate, a happily married homemaker and I am NOT ashamed. I am HAPPY living a life that is MINE, not one dictated to me by schools and society.