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Welcome to Online Learning Daily, your best source for news and commentary about learning technology, new media, and related topics.
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Academic cuts and queen sacrifices across the country
Bryan Alexander, 2023/11/14


For Bryan Alexander, a 'queen sacrifice' refers to a desperate strategy whereby institutions cut tenured staff, for example by cutting an entire department. Cuts and sacrifices are the story of the day in the US university sector, an eventuality that has long been predicted to stalwarts proclaimed it would never come.

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How China took over the world's online shopping carts
Viola Zhou, Caiwei Chen, Lais Martins, Ester Christine Natalia, Rest of World, 2023/11/14


The answer? Free shipping, low prices and social media. "Chinese e-commerce platforms like Shein, Temu, and TikTok Shop are going global with big ambitions... (and) have taken over online shopping with cheap goods and plenty of coupon codes." Manufacturers are running on razor-thin margins and the online stores are operating at a loss. "Liu Jun, vice president of finance for Temu's parent company PDD Holdings, said Temu was still in its 'learning phase' and was not yet focused on monetization." They will, once they control the market. Expect the same strategy in online learning. It's only a matter of time.

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Self-assembling neural networks can open new directions for AI research - TechTalks
Ben Dickson, TechTalks - Technology solving problems... and creating new ones, 2023/11/14


Artificial neural networks are a very limited copy of the real thing. " During the learning phase, they merely adjust their connection weights based on training examples. They lack the capacity to self-organize, grow, and adapt to new situations like biological neurons." This, suggests Ben Dickson in his summary of a paper called Towards Self-Assembling Neural Networks, is the next step in AI. "The vision outlined in the paper is to develop an AI system where neurons self-assemble, grow, and adapt based on the task at hand, emulating the natural processes observed in biological networks." This process is controlled by a "controlled by a second network operating within each neuron, termed the Neural Developmental Program (NDP)." The reality is that we're at the very beginning of the age of artificial intelligence.

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We publish six to eight or so short posts every weekday linking to the best, most interesting and most important pieces of content in the field. Read more about what we cover. We also list papers and articles by Stephen Downes and his presentations from around the world.

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