One thing's for sure: The workplace is changing. Between automation, AI systems giving you a friendly heads up when you're down, and MC Hammer popping up where you least expect him to, the workplace is a whole new ball game. (It was even a whole new ball game this year in the baseball workplace.) Catch up with what's new and different with these quick reads on the latest in field service, automation, your favorite technologies, and the surprising intersection between advanced mathematics and rap pioneers.

  1. The CTO of Xerox argues that automation should be the key driver of digital transformation in the enterprise. (Also true: Digital transformation should also be a key driver of automation in the enterprise.)
  2. There are three kinds of people in this world: (1) People who have no idea what partial differential equations are (and no desire to know), (2) people who can’t remember if they maybe once knew what a partial differential equation is, and (3) people whose interest in partial differential equations is limited to the fact that MC Hammer – yes, that MC Hammer – recently tweeted about them. Oh, and there are some new AI techniques for extracting more value out of them.
  3. Maybe you’re familiar with the “uncanny valley” in animation, a metaphorical place populated by characters (usually humans) that are more lifelike than old-school cartoons but not quite realistic enough to pass for the real thing. There’s a similar phenomenon for robots and AI-driven machines. Figuring out how to come off as less creepy could be a key factor for higher adoption rates. (Also good advice for humans in the workplace, too.)
  4. Look, up in the sky. It’s a bird? It’s a plane? No, it’s Superman – scratch that, it’s a bird. A bunch of birds. An entire starling murmuration. And they’ve learned some new algorithms.
  5. MIT’s Lincoln Lab has some new research on how AI can help in the emerging hybrid workforce. They also have a new buzzword: “neuromonitoring.” It refers to AI workmates that can keep a watchful eye on their human colleagues to alert them when fatigue or cognitive overload appears to be kicking in. (“What’s that? This blog post appears to be fizzling out? Thanks for the heads up, trusty AI workmate.”)

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