STEMtech is a conference about the education of science, technology, engineering and maths. The attendees are an interesting mix of people from education and policy makers, as well as people like me from industry.
This year, they invited me to do a talk. My slides are shared but they’ll make no sense by themselves. What follows is roughly what I think I said.
Grace and Faith have been helping me work on a new project for Code Club. It’s not quite finished yet (Excuse: Thanks to the holidays, it’s still over a week till my next Code Club class!), but it’s close enough that I thought it’s worth sharing the work-in-progress.
The basic idea (more than a little inspired by an old Mega Drive game we’ve played) is that you have to catch falling bits of rubbish and put them in the correct recycling bin.
A playable version is embedded here if you’re using a Flash-friendly browser. Press the green flag to start, use the arrow keys to run left and right, and press the space bar to throw what you’re carrying. (If the embed isn’t working, you can also get to it on the Scratch website.)
From unstructured text, Relationship Extraction can extract entities (such as people, locations, organizations, events), and the relationships between these entities (such as person employed-by organization, person resides-in location).
This is provided as a hosted service on IBM Bluemix where any developer can sign up and give it a try.
It’s available as a documented REST API, but as part of using it in the hackday, I needed to write a bit of code around that, just to prepare the request and parse the response. I think it’ll save me time to reuse this the next time I want to build something with the API, so I’m sharing it as a standalone package.
In this post, I’ll walk though how you can use it, with a small app that grabs the contents of a BBC News story and picks out the names of people mentioned in the story.
We recently ran a hackathon at work: people within IBM were invited to try building a mobile app aimed at consumers using Watson services. It was a fun chance to try out some new ideas, as well as to build something using our APIs – dogfooding is always a good thing.
I worked on a hack with David which we submitted on Wednesday. This is what we came up with, and how we built it.
A mobile app that will help users to digest the news by explaining references in stories and providing greater context.
It’s difficult to find the time nowadays to properly read and understand what’s going on in the world. We rarely have the time to sit and read through a newspaper. Instead, we might quickly read news stories online from our smartphones and tablets. But that often makes it difficult to understand the broader context that a story is in. There might be references in the story to people, places, organisations or events that are unfamiliar.
Watson could help. It could be an assistant as you read the news, explaining unfamiliar references and the broader context.
Our Watson News Companion demo is a mobile news reader app that:
anticipates questions and suggests areas where it can help improve understanding
provides answers to questions without needing the users to lose their place in the story
allow the user to dig deeper with their own follow-up questions
For these particular XML files, order is not important. The XML is being used to contain a set of things, not a list – the order of the elements has no significance. Similarly, the order of the attributes within each element isn’t significant.
For example, for my purposes, these two XML files are equivalent:
A couple of weeks ago I was interviewed by the BBC. In a fairly long phone call, I either rambled inanely or provided detailed and nuanced answers in context. That depends on your point of view.
Either way, obviously not a lot of it could make it into their story, as they really only needed a few quotes. So I thought I’d put more of what I said here.
The background for the story was the changes to the UK school curriculum which means that all kids are being taught to code. And the basic premise for the piece was that as we’re “entering an era when computers are actually beginning to teach themselves” that this is unnecessary and that coding itself is becoming an outdated skill.