Hasidics and Amazon – Digital Gains!

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/16/nyregion/hasidic-jews-amazon.html

Ray Myers

Investing in EdTech Around the World

EdTech is everywhere as we know but most of the investment in this field is not in the classroom, also something that most of us may know. But just for the record, here are some of the recent numbers. In 2017, EdTech investment reached a record high of over 9.52 billion. The majority of that investment, however, will never see a classroom.

“In 2017, global investments made to learning technology companies reached over $9.52 billion, up 30% from 2016, which set the previous record for EdTech funding at $7.33 billion; 913 EdTech companies were funded in 2017, the highest since the record of 728 set in 2015. Yet although this was a record year, only a small amount went towards Pre-K-20 Education. Pre-K-12 companies received 13% of the overall global investment, or 13% of the overall global investment, or $1.2 billion, and higher education companies got 8%, or $682 million (EdTechTimes, March 2018).”

Major EdTech investment in the U.S. and China is somewhat expected. Another major shift is a huge increase in Africa, particularly for startups in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria. This may be due to a growing market in the continent for EdTech that goes beyond the typical classroom, an environment that is inaccessible to many children in those regions.

Ray Myers

Copyright Infringement Posts on Facebook, Oh My!

Not to worry, Facebook has already removed these nearly 3 million posts – including videos, ads and other forms of content from its services during the first half of 2017 after complaints about copyright and trademark infringement. Now I am really curious about why it has been so difficult for Facebook to account for all those Russian-based posts during the last Presidential election that were basically falsehoods or propaganda intended to enhance Mr. Trump’s chances and defame candidate Clinton? I don’t think these were ever taken down en masse but were “reviewed” individually and removed or retained in a very sluggish (and arbitrary?) manner.

The global data on intellectual-property-related takedowns is a new disclosure for Facebook as part of its biannual “Transparency Report.” Aggregate data shows that Facebook received about 377,400 complaints from January through June, with many referencing multiple posts. About 60 percent of the reports related to suspected copyright violations on Facebook. Determination of copyright infringement, of course, can result in the awarding of monetary compensation for damages.

So we can all rest assure now that American (global?) commercial interests have been protected by our courts where even Facebook has to be judged for its transparency. But please still don’t believe everything you see or read there, comrade!

Ray Myers

P.S. Please have a look and listen at mypeacecorpsstory.com, podcast #018, where I discuss my “technology-free” Peace Corps years in India, 1966-68.

Facebook for Everyone Everywhere, We are the World

Remember that old Michael Jackson and company song, “We are the World.”  Well, it just might have been the inspiration for Mark Zuckerberg’s latest initiative he likes to call TIP, Telecom Infra Project.  Just mix in a lot of open source resources, including an urban wireless network that checks its performance at 125,000 times a second, and a long-range wireless system that can send a gigabit of data a second, about ten times the rate of today’s good-performing networks and enough for virtual reality.  Ultimately, Zuckerberg wants to triple the size of his social network over the next ten years  which now has 1.6 billion.  Let’s see, that would make 4.8 billion Facebook followers out of a current world population of 7.125 billion, and growing.  And cheaper open source technology might help make this all possible in the future.

I can hardly wait.  But how am I going to keep up with all my friends and followers?  I really don’t have that many right now, but I spend a lot of time reading newspapers, a few books, and put in some travel time to visit with friends and family in different parts of the country.  I guess I just have to get more with the Facebook program, and save myself all that time and costs of travel.

Yesterday I had lunch with an old friend at a nearby restaurant and really enjoyed catching up with him in person.  Neither one of us had a smartphone in his hand, but at some other tables, lunch-goers were multi-tasking, eating and presumably keeping up with their social networks.  Conversation with each other at their tables was non-existent.  They obviously enjoyed being more in touch virtually (with people or other activities?) than in reality with those at their table?

Ray Myers


Let’s Dance, Wherever You Are

Thanks, Skype.  Dancers at the Tisch School of Arts at New York University can now connect with dance studios in South America, Europe or Japan.  NOW is the name of this internet-based innovation that allows dancers to perform duets, as well as ensemble pieces, with partners from around the world.

In setting the “stage” for a duet, a student technician makes the Skype call – a bit of logistical suspense with every ring – before the dancers gave their names, locations and local time.  NYU choreographer Pat Catterson wants her dancers to take their material phrases that sometimes wander into whimsy – and make them their own, a process that Skype facilitates and subtly alters.  Occasionally, the physical virtual pairs moved in unison, their synchronization loosened by technological glitches as well as by idiosyncratic timing.

NOW “performances” (75-minute installations) have been described as one of those the-way-we-live-now kind of works, both homespun and high tech, with elements familiar and unsettlingly novel.  Whatever it may be or eventually become, NOW is certainly an innovative example of how technology can support artistic collaboration on a global scale.

Ray Myers