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Humans are listening to your Alexa, eSports enters Varsity leagues and Drones are planting trees

Amazon confirms they employee humans to listen to Alexa recordings

Amazon has opened up to the public this week about its use of a human workforce in understanding what consumers are saying to Alexa. Effectively - all voice data is anonymized and Amazon's "listeners" use the data to better help Alexa make decisions to help its users.


Key Takeaway

The AI we use everyday is still in the early stages of what we think AI actually is. We still need humans to help the robots understand the world around them. If you're thinking about making better use of AI - remember that in today's version of AI, it's a great tool for simplifying mundane tasks and taking stabs at contextualizing massive amounts of data, but it's nowhere near full automation. We still need people to help point machines in the right direction.

Eight states in the US have made varsity eSports teams in their high schools

This season marks the first time in the US that eight different state high schools will compete in eSports. A handful started last year, with enough to form serious tournaments in 2019. The trend follows many adult leagues that have generated the same kind of sponsorship deals usually reserved for pro sports like Hockey and Basketball. https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/18/tech/esports-varsity-arena/index.html

Key Takeaway

The reputation of eSports has moved from the idea of a new fringe event, to a mainstream activity with state funding. If you watch the video in the article, you'll see kids talking about careers in eSports the same way that we see kids talking about a future in football or hockey.

Hopefully we'll start to see academic evidence that video games are good for mental health like this: http://mentalfloss.com/article/65008/15-surprising-benefits-playing-video-games

Myanmar is using drones to replant forests

Myanmar is equipping drones with seed rockets that will literally shoot seeds into the ground to create new forests. The work is all thanks to a robotics startup - Biocarbon Engineering who will be training people in Myanmar on drone piloting. According to their data - two pilots can man ten drones which can theoretically plant 400,000 seeds in one day.

For comparison's sake - in British Columbia - an average planter will plant 1,600 seeds per day.


Key Takeaway

We talk a lot about our fears of drones being used for war rather than saving the world. Not only is this a great story about the latter, but it's a perfect example of how this new tech helps us solve big problems at scale.

Humans are listening to your Alexa, eSports enters Varsity leagues and Drones are planting trees
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