Industry News: Week of September 23, 2019

In by Contextere

Every week we curate industry news and thought-provoking articles that reflect today’s trends so you can spend more time learning and less time searching. Here’s what we’ve been reading:

1. Virtual Agents Are The Future of Chatbots. 

Facebook is betting that the future of chatbots lies in “teaching virtual agents to converse like people.” And we agree. In other words, Facebook and other tech giants are focused on training machines to have real conversations with users, rather than narrowly scripted chatbots.

  • Why you should care: “If chatbots can understand and communicate with humans better, the thinking goes, they might eventually make better assistants that can help people accomplish practical tasks.” Read the article.

2. The First Guidelines for Government AI Procurement Are Out. 

Industry has collaborated to outline guiding principles as governments worldwide increase their use of AI. In their report, the World Economic Forum (WEF), Salesforce, Deloitte and others came up with a clear definition of AI and 10 recommendations for procurement.

  • Why you should care: These will help ensure responsible and ethical AI use by the public sector. The requirements will also help the public sector write more effective proposal requests that focus on the problem rather than the technology, ensuring your tax dollars are well spent. Read the article.


AI procurement in the public sector will only intensify. For more information on best practices for public sector procurement check out our two part blog post on things governments should consider before adopting AI: Part I and Part II.

3. Consider an ‘Unlearning’ Roadmap for Your Employees.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) outlines the importance of unlearning and relearning to thrive in Industry 4.0. As automation, robotics, and other disruptive technologies enter organizations, the workforce should maintain a continuous cycle of learning to keep pace. At the same time, it’s equally important to unlearn outdated modes of doing something as to not hinder the adoption of new, more efficient best practices. 

  • Why you should care: Industry 4.0 will see the elimination and creation of millions of jobs. Unlearning and relearning will help your skills evolve with technology and help you thrive in the future of work. Read the article.

4. Computer Vision Creates Business Value.

What’s computer vision? Put simply, it’s the ability of a computer to “understand” pictures and videos. This involves classifying, identifying, verifying, and detecting objects. Since its inception, the use of computer vision in business has gained tremendous traction and value. This is compounded when combined with other technologies, such as AR and VR.

  • Why you should care: An important impact of computer vision is its ability to augment humans in the workplace. By sorting and analyzing millions of images, it can highlight trends and uncover insights previously inaccessible to humans. This provides employees with better data to make decisions and frees up their time to engage in more strategic, complex, and problem-solving activities. Read the article.

5. Everyday Objects Become Computers.

“As computers and connectivity become cheaper, it makes sense to bake them into more and more things that are not, in themselves, computers—from nappies and coffee machines to cows and factory robots—creating an “internet of things”, or IoT.” This trend is, and will continue, to create value for businesses and more convenience for consumers. That being said, it will also result in privacy concerns and new business models that may be less convenient for the customer.

  • Why you should care: The proliferation of the IoT into products that weren’t previously connected will bring problems from the digital world to the real-world such as ambiguity around ownership, privacy, and security.  Read the article.