Preparing for our future with AI

Since I started leading IBM’s open source AI efforts, I am frequently asked how best to prepare for our future with AI.  While I have a long presentation here, I decided to try to distill it to one slide:


Recently, one member of the audience signed up for Github, during the talk!!!  Got to give him credit where credit is due – and taking a great first step in preparing for the future with AI.



I have *not yet* found a good way to explain GitHub to people…. especially the future of GitHub, when people do not need to know how to program to use it to access AI super-powers.  However, watching this Disney Fantasia clip with Mickey Mouse called Sorcerer’s Apprentice Fantasia is a good hint at what is coming.



Programmers are the conjurers today.  However, find a friend who knows about open source AI on GitHub, even if you are not a programmer.  Find a friend who knows about Tensor2Tensor (T2T), and learn to read and execute the iPython Notebook code.  Start exploring low code environments, like the one offered by Mendix as well.  In the coming years, non-programmers will be able to access AI super-powers on GitHub.  And follow the progress of AI via the leaderboards – see this presentation here.

Register for free AI community meeting in Helsinki Finland March 13-14

I will visit Finland in March, and wanted to give you a heads up about an upcoming Opentech AI Workshop related to industry-specific AI applications and therefore, smarter/wiser service systems.

We are asking a few close colleagues to register if they have an interest (we will have about 100 participants):

What: Free Opentech AI Workshop
When: March 13-14, 2018
Where: IBM Finland HQ, Laajalahdentie 23, 00330 Helsinki, Finland
Registration: (password “testai”)
Local FAQ & map:

Note on registration page, if you would like to present a poster: Please contact Susan Malaika <> by Feb 23, putting Helsinki poster in the subject line, if you would like to showcase your AI work in a poster on March 13 between 17:30-19:30.  Please include: Your name and the names & email address any other poster authors, The poster title, The poster abstract, Any relevant links

What is Opentech AI?

Opentech AI is open source communities doing great things with Artificial Intelligence.  Hundreds of communities are forming – For example, consider Mozilla’s Common Voice project for open AI voice technology, and has projects related to healthcare.  In addition, AI challenge/leaderboards are proliferating.   

Why Industry-Specific Opentech AI? Why Finland?

Finland’s national AI strategy is to be #1 in application of Artificial Intelligence to improve industry performance.

What is the Future of Opentech AI?

Some AI researchers are already envisioning one open source AI system that can perform reasonably well on all leaderboard challenges – see Video for vision to do this, and Measuring AI Progress Presentation for Roadmap, and related Article and Blog.

Summary of URLs:
Finland AI Strategy:
Example Mozilla Open Voice:
Example Opentech AI for Healthcare:
Video – One AI to Learn It All:
Article: I-Athlon: One AI to do Many Tasks:

Questions? Contact Jim Spohrer <>

Register for free AI community meeting in San Francisco Feb 20

Register for Free AI Open Community Gathering Featuring TensorFlow

On Feb 20, 9am-1pm, leaders from enterprise AI companies and open source code foundations will meet in San Francisco to deepen collaboration efforts around TensorFlow/Keras for building and sharing open code, data, models, and measuring progress on AI challenge leaderboards.

When: Feb 20, 9am-1pm (try to arrive 30-60 minutes early to pick up badge, etc – it will be crowded.)
Where: Moscone Center, San Francisco
What: Open Source AI, featuring TensorFlow session (Google, IBM, Linux Foundation, others)
Registration required:

Contact me Jim Spohrer <>
for Feb 20 FREE code and for Feb 21-22 DISCOUNT code
STUDENTS with valid IDs can register for FREE for conference, just go to website above

TensorFlow agenda here:


Anticipated agenda…. watch official website above.

Magnus Hyttsten 20 min TensorFlow, The Story So Far
Edd Wilder-James 5 min TensorFlow community update
Pete Warden 15 min TensorFlow support and PR process
Gunhan Gulsoy 15 min How we build and test TensorFlow
Lukasz Kaiser 15 min Tensor2Tensor
Andrie de Vries 15 min R/TensorFlow Integration
Jeremy Lewi 30 min Kubeflow 

Earlier draft…

Part 1 – TensorFlow 9-noon Pacific
9:00 Welcome – Ruchir Puri IBM Fellow and IBM Watson Chief Architect
9:05 TensorFlow Opening Session  (15m) – Google’s  Wolff Dobson
9:20 Community update: The TensorFlow Universe (10m) – Edd-Wilder James, Google
9:30 TensorFlow process and support (15m) – Pete Warden, Google
9:45 How we build and test TensorFlow (15m) – Gunhan Gulsoy, Google
10:00 Tensor2Tensor (15m) – Lukasz Kaiser, Google
10:15 TensorFlow/R integration, Andrie de Vries, RStudio
10:30 BREAK
11:00 Kubeflow (30m) – Jeremy Lewi, Google
11:30 TensorFlow & Kubeflow Town Hall / Q&A (30m) – Panelists: Jeremy Lewi, Martin Wicke, Pete Warden; chair Edd Wilder-James.

Part 2 – AI Communities noon-1pm Pacific
12:00 The Linux Foundation and AI (20m),  Sheryl ChamberlainPhilip DesAutels, Linux Foundation
AI framework project, IBM’s Waldermar Hummer or Scott Boag
And Apache Foundation Talk – stay tuned…
ISO/IEC JTC 1 SC 42 – subcommittee on AI, stay tuned, perhaps for IBM’s Steve Holbrook
Running TensorFlow  & Data Science software on mainframes and PowerAI/Mainframes/etc.
12:40pm Final Remarks (20m) – IBM Fellow and IBM Watson Chief Architect Ruchir Puri


Register for Free AI community day.   Contact me for FREE code <>

Intelligence Augmentation coming for Individual, Business, and Family

Just returning from HICSS conference, where one of the keynotes was on augmented intelligence….  got me thinking about augmented intelligence for individuals, businesses, and families – three important types of service system entities.

To see where I am coming from, this Politico article is a worthwhile careful read:

The Real Future of Work

…these perspectives surprised me:

“It was also clear from the Katz-Krueger data that the shift to contingent work wasn’t driven by the rise of the sharing economy. Just 0.5 percent of workers are in the sharing economy, accounting for at most 10 percent of the labor market shift over the past 10 years. In other words, for all the concerns about Uber and other sharing economy companies using independent contractors to skirt state and federal labor laws, the shift toward these workplace arrangements predates those companies. They’re followers, not leaders.

“Congress didn’t create similar workplace protections for independent contractors because they were considered to effectively be their own small business, setting their own hours and responsibilities, providing their own benefits and determining their own economic outcomes. More independence came with fewer social protections, a trade-off that many Americans support. According to a 2015 Government Accountability Office report, independent contractors are slightly more likely to be satisfied with their jobs than full-time employees, and fewer than 10 percent said they would prefer a different type of employment.”

“If the workplace is changing so much, would it be possible to invent a new kind of worker? One solution that has begun to arise among labor experts is to create a third, hybrid worker classification—something between an employee and a contractor, offering protections to people, like Uber drivers, who might not be “employees” but work chiefly for one company. But this argument has already started to break down along partisan lines. Republicans tend to support it as overdue acknowledgment that many workers in the modern workplace don’t fit neatly into the employee or contractor box. Democrats are wary of creating a category that might let employers shift even more employees into less-stable work arrangements.”

Like the above read, which shows which category of workers is growing fastest – I still think “why” is not clearly understood, my hunch is there is a wealth effect happening at the extended family-level due to costs dropping from technology deflation, but I could be wrong.  I think the most vulnerable in society could be those without large “extended families” living near to them.   Not sure what data would show this, since “extended family” does not have to be blood relatives – it is “a network of people who care about and support each other as they make smart/wise service exchanges,” but that is my hunch just looking around and thinking about the situation the most people in the world are in…  The individual is probably not the right unit of analysis for worker policy anymore, maybe it never has been.  Augmented intelligence for extended families is a good area for study I think.

Thanks to Bill Daul for sending the pointer to the Politico article.

At HICSS conference one of my favorite presentations was about simulating service systems entities following Service-Dominant logic principles.  Abstractly one can think about the actors as individuals, businesses, or families learning one of three skills for surviving (operant resources) – two skills involve gathering resources from nature (the environment) and one of the skills involves gathering resources through trade/exchange (the social network).  See paper by Fujita, Vaughan, and Vargo:


Augmented intelligence may work best for entities that use a service-dominant architect.

Thinking about a service-dominant architecture for businesses was another interesting HICSS paper:


We also need service-dominant architecture for individuals and families.


Service-dominant architecture for individuals and families will depend on cognitive assistants, evolving on our smartphones and home devices, which brings us to this HICSS paper:

We need better data collection and simulation tools to inform policy development.  The early stage simulation above is a good step towards tools that can help understand the evolving ecology of service system entities, with their capabilities and constraints, rights and responsibilities.   The three skills (operant resources) that it begins to model are all exploitation-oriented from the perspective of March’s exploitation-exploration capabilities of learning systems (all organizations are learning systems).   So to add a fourth skill (operant resoure) to the SD logic simulator, it would be interesting to think about a skill associated with exploration that can create new types of resources, either finding them in nature or finding them in social networks.   See this article to understand exploitation-exploration in organizational learning:

Wanted: AI Challenge Leaderboards in Education

…will be great if you can attend the AI Workshop in Helsinki March 14th:

Also, keep me posted if you see any AI Challenge Leaderboards related to education:

China Medical Entrance Exam AI Challenge:
Japan Tokyo U Entrance Exam AI Challenge:

Delighted if you can help me find more, better AI Challenge Leaderboard/League Table examples.

Leaderboards or League Tables are a type of standing/ranking mechanism for entities with capabilities:

Leaderboards are appearing for more and more AI capabilities – see Question Answering Leaderboard example here:

Daniel Pakkala (VTT) and my IBM team are building an AI Progress Benchmark Roadmap based on Leaderboards (download from here):

CFA – Frontiers in Service (Deadline Feb 1)

Frontiers in Service Conference 2018

NOTE!! Deadline for abstracts is February 1, 2018

2018 Frontiers in Service Conference 

Call for Abstracts

The Frontiers in Service Conference is the world’s leading annual conference on service research. It is co-sponsored annually by the AMA Service SIG and the INFORMS Service Science Section.

In 2018, the 27th Annual Frontiers in Service Conference will be hosted by Texas State University in Austin, Texas, September 6-9, 2018. The main conference sessions and events will occur within the Hilton Austin Hotel, which is just one block away from Austin’s famed 6th Street Entertainment District.

The 2018 Frontiers in Service Conference will explore a wide variety of service topics, including service marketing, service management, service operations, service design, service engineering, service science, and service IT.

You are invited, as a service academic or practitioner, to submit a 450-word abstract ( for possible presentation at the conference. The Frontiers in Service Conference routinely attracts submissions from over 40 countries.

Case studies by business practitioners are encouraged, and a “Best Practitioner Presentation” will be awarded at the conference.

The average number of attendees is around 300 scholars and practitioners. Fewer than half of the submitted abstracts are accepted for presentations.

Abstracts may focus on any service topic, including (but not limited to) the topics below:

Analytics and Service

Big Data and Service

Customer Relationship Management

Digital Service & Collaborative Economy

E-Service & E-Government

Healthcare Service

Internet of Everything and Service

IT as a Service

Public Sector Service

Service Design

Service Operations

Service Management

Service Marketing

Service Engineering

Service Productivity

Service Innovation


Service Science

Service at the “Bottom of the Pyramid”

Social Networks and Service

Smart Service Systems

Technology-based Service (Apps)

Theoretical Perspectives on Service

Transformative Service Research

For more information, please contact us at

Website –
Raymond P. Fisk
Professor and Chair
Department of Marketing
McCoy College of Business Administration
Texas State University
601 University Drive
San Marcos, Texas 78666
Work Phone: (512) 245-9614
Work Fax: (512) 245-7475
Cell Phone: (512) 618-0985
Private E-Mail:
Skype Name: rayfisk

Opentech AI Workshop – Helsinki, Finland March 14, 2018

Daniel Pakkala (VTT) and I are planning an Opentech AI Workshop at IBM Finland HQ on March 14th, 2018.

Start End Activity Details Coming Soon
8:00 8:30 Registration
8:30 9:00 Welcome
9:00 10:00 Keynote1
10:00 10:30 Break1
10:30 12:00 Panel1
12:00 13:00 Lunch
13:00 14:00 Panel2
14:00 15:00 Panel3
15:00 15:30 Break2
15:30 16:30 Keynote2
16:30 17:00 Next Steps


FYI: On the long-shot that you will be in Finland then, or have a colleague there we should invite, please let us know.  About 100 of us will be exploring the growing set of open source AI Challenge Leaderboards, unveiling some analysis of industry by industry leaderboards, healthcare, education, retail, energy, etc. – and exploring the architecture/roadmap for “solving AI” from narrow to broad, from tool, to assistant, to collaborator, to coach, to mediator in smarter/wiser service systems – see:

Finally, best wishes to you both for a creative and productive 2018!

More soon and see posting here as well…


Contact: Jim Spohrer <>, Pakkala Daniel <>

What is Opentech AI?  Read the blog here:

Good reads: Artificial Intelligence Augmentation and Partner Technologies

(1) Artificial Intelligence Augmentation

Carter, S., & Nielsen, M. (2017). Using Artificial Intelligence to Augment Human Intelligence: By creating user interfaces which let us work with the representations inside machine learning models, we can give people new tools for reasoning. Distill.

“In the 1950s a different vision of what computers are for began to develop. That vision was crystallized in 1962, when Douglas Engelbart proposed that computers could be used as a way of augmenting human intellect. In this view, computers weren’t primarily tools for solving number-crunching problems. Rather, they were real-time interactive systems, with rich inputs and outputs, that humans could work with to support and expand their own problem-solving process. This vision of intelligence augmentation (IA) deeply influenced many others, including researchers such as Alan Kay at Xerox PARC, entrepreneurs such as Steve Jobs at Apple, and led to many of the key ideas of modern computing systems. Its ideas have also deeply influenced digital art and music, and fields such as interaction design, data visualization, computational creativity, and human-computer interaction.”

“Research on IA has often been in competition with research on artificial intelligence (AI): competition for funding, competition for the interest of talented researchers. Although there has always been overlap between the fields, IA has typically focused on building systems which put humans and machines to work together, while AI has focused on complete outsourcing of intellectual tasks to machines. In particular, problems in AI are often framed in terms of matching or surpassing human performance: beating humans at chess or Go; learning to recognize speech and images or translating language as well as humans; and so on.”

“This essay describes a new field, emerging today out of a synthesis of AI and IA. For this field, we suggest the name artificial intelligence augmentation (AIA): the use of AI systems to help develop new methods for intelligence augmentation. This new field introduces important new fundamental questions, questions not associated to either parent field. We believe the principles and systems of AIA will be radically different to most existing systems.”

“Our essay begins with a survey of recent technical work hinting at artificial intelligence augmentation, including work on generative interfaces – that is, interfaces which can be used to explore and visualize generative machine learning models. Such interfaces develop a kind of cartography of generative models, ways for humans to explore and make meaning from those models, and to incorporate what those models “know” into their creative work.”

This paper demonstrates the almost “magical” ability of AI to generate images, and other context, that would require skilled people a great deal of time to draw/create.  Will be interesting when things progress from content generation to game generation – I suspect it will start as “really bad” versions of existing games – see: (this is a great and fun game – a creative “twist” on real chess, but in some ways perhaps more exciting than real chess)

(2) Partner Technologies

McGee, K., & Hedborg, J. (2004). Partner Technologies: an alternative to technology masters & servants. In Proc. COSIGN.:

“When it comes to the design of intelligent technologies intended to empower people, much of it is guided by two central metaphors: technologies as servants or as masters. Servant technologies can be empowering because they reduce or remove work that people find difficult, dirty, or dangerous; master technologies can be empowering because they instruct, inform, remind, cajole, nag, or otherwise force people to do things which are important – but which, for whatever reasons, people do not (or cannot) do without this assistance.”

“For many kinds of activities and contexts these guiding metaphors do indeed seem useful. But there are activities where a dynamic, creative partnership among equals seems like the more appropriate model of empowerment – as in the case of musical co-improvisation by jazz groups, where particular collections of individuals mutually inspire and support each other.  Not only do good partnerships seem to help people attain or sustain powerful engagement in their current activities, in some cases they seem to enable people to successfully enter new activities.”

(3) Intelligence Cognitive Assistants (ICA) Workshop

Requires registration but some great presentations on this topic here:

Thanks for pointers to these papers from:

(1) Don Norman,

(2) Mattias Arvola,