Monday, March 9, 2015

Last COSI 'Open' Education & Training Blog

After 5 years, this is the last COSI 'Open' Education & Training blog. We will, however, continue to maintain the associated COSI 'Open' Education & Training Technology web site. We thank the thousands of visitors that took the time to visit the site and read our blogs over the years. 

For well over 10-15 years, the battles between 'open' vs. 'closed' solutions have raged. It started with free and 'open source' software (FOSS) solutions, then moved on to 'open standards', 'open access', 'open data', 'open architecture', ...  It started in the technology sector, then spread into education, healthcare, manufacturing, government and just about every other component of the public and private sector. It became more than just about technology, it became a broad, global movement that supports the adoption of 'open culture' and 'open societies' around the world. Many individuals, corporations, and countries will continue to battle and fight against the 'open movement' for years to come, not recognizing that the war is over - all 'closed' systems will succumb to 'open solutions' as we move into the future.     -  Peter Groen

Friday, December 12, 2014

Machine Learning: Who's Teaching Whom?

Ever heard of Robo Brain, a system that scours the Internet and teaches other robots how to think. It exists!

Back in 1959, Arthur Samuel defined machine learning as a "field of study that gives computers the ability to learn without being explicitly programmed". Today, machine learning has become a reality. In fact, machines are now teaching machines. It's no longer science fiction. In fact, machines are now teaching humans.

Machine learning is currently considered a subfield of computer science and has strong ties to Artificial Intelligence (AI). Hopefully you read the recent article we posted in which the world renowned theoretical physicist Professor Stephen Hawking warning that artificial intelligence could end mankind as we know it. Pay attention!

Machine Learning

Machine learning tasks are typically classified into three broad categories - Supervised learning, Unsupervised learning, and Reinforcement learning. In reinforcement learning, a computerized machine interacts with a dynamic environment without a human teacher explicitly telling it what to do, e.g. driving a car or playing a game.

In the early days of AI as an academic discipline, some researchers were interested in having machines learn from data and their focus shifted from AI to building neural networks. In the 1990s, as the field of machine learning started to flourish, the field began narrowing in on solving problems of a more practical nature - especially with the rapid evolution of robotics and their use in a growing number of industries.

Machines Teaching Machines

Twenty years ago humans were teaching machines how to 'think'. Today, machine learning has advanced to the stage where robots are now capable of teaching themselves how to think - without human input. Ever heard of Robo Brain, a system that scours the Internet and teaches other robots how to think. It already exists!

Machines Now Teaching Humans

If you look around today, you can see machines starting to teach humans how to think and act. Is this good or bad? Should we be concerned? Maybe we should be taking Stephen Hawking's warning to heart and not let scientists and corporations run amuck in this arena.

If you are concerned, maybe you should start to check out some of the latest articles about machines learning and robots.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Free & Open Source Software (FOSS) for the Creative Arts

Today, Art and Technology often go hand-in-hand. The following are links to selected 'open source' software & tools for use in the Creative Arts. If you have an interest in this area, you might want to try some of them out.
  • Art of Illusion - A free and open source 3D modelling and rendering studio.
  • - An open source business tool for art organizations or businesses that includes modules for ticketing, fundraising, constituent management, and more.
  • Audacity - A free and open source, cross-platform software tool used for recording and editing sounds.
  • Avidemux - Free and open source software designed for multi-purpose video editing that can be used with almost all known computer operating systems.
  • Blender - A free and open source 3D content creation suite, available for all major operating systems.
  • Booktype - An open source platform to help you  write, publish, and/or print books.
  • Calligra Flow - An easy to use free & open source diagramming and flowcharting application.
  • DarkTable - An open source photography workflow application and RAW developer. A virtual lighttable and darkroom for photographers.
  • GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program) - A multi-platform photo & image manipulation tool. It is an open source alternative to Photoshop.
  • Inkscape - An open source vector graphics editor, with capabilities similar to Illustrator or CorelDraw.
  • Kaltura - A community developed free and open source video management platform and applications.
  • KdenLive - A free and open source multi-track video editing tool.
  • Krita - A full-featured, open source sketching and painting application for digital artists
  • Mixxx - One of the most popular free and open source DJ software packages in the world.
  • MuseScore - Free and open source music composition and notation software.
  • MyPaint - An open source graphics application for digital painters.
  • Open Movie Editor - A free and open source video editing program, designed for basic movie making capabilities.
  • PhotoPrint - A free utility designed to assist in the process of printing digital photographs and posters.
  • Scribus - An open source desktop publishing system with and extensive graphics tools.
  • Shape Collage - An open source tool that allows you to create picture collages in any imaginable shape or form.
  • Synfig Studio - Free and open-source 2D animation software solution for creating film-quality animation using vector and bitmap artwork.
  • TuxPaint - A free, award-winning drawing program for children ages 3 to 12.
  • VLC - A popular free and open source cross-platform multimedia player that plays most CD, DVD,  and many other files & streaming protocols.
  • Xournal - A free and open source application for notetaking, sketching, and keeping a journal using a stylus on Tablet PCs and other platforms.
There are also a lot of other links to selected web sites with free, but not open source, online creative art tools: e.g. Flockdraw ; Phoenix; Pixlr; Frinika; Kristal ;Splashup.

If you know of some other great free and open source software and tools for use in the Creative Arts, please` share them with us.