Edmonton Notes for November 4, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Alberta funds Edmonton Valley Line West
Alberta funds Edmonton Valley Line West, photo by Government of Alberta

Upcoming Events

Rutherford Manor Haunt - Edmonton
Rutherford Manor Haunt, photo by IQRemix

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Media Monday Edmonton: Update #320

Taproot Edmonton’s latest Media Roundup was published today. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday morning.

Local updates from the Media Roundup

Here are a few select updates from today’s Media Roundup:

Northlands last horse race October 2018
Northlands last horse race, photo by Jason Woodhead

Media-related updates from elsewhere

And here is some non-local media news that I found interesting this week:

  • Sunny Dhillon quit his job at The Globe and Mail in Vancouver because of “both a single incident and a continuing pattern” related to race. “I write this piece with the hope it will lead to meaningful reflection on the lack of diversity in Canadian journalism and the problems therein,” he wrote.
  • The New York Times has a story about Apple News and its slightly different approach to mass news: “In a quiet corner of the third floor, Apple is building a newsroom of sorts. About a dozen former journalists have filled a few nondescript offices to do what many other tech companies have for years left to software: selecting the news that tens of millions of people will read.”
  • From Poynter, here are seven ways news outlets can rebuild trust and sustainability.
  • Trump is attacking the media once again, calling it “the true Enemy of the People”.
  • The Cut has a big feature on The Skimm, which now has more than 7 million subscribers. “By any measure, the Skimm, founded in 2012, is an insane success.”

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Edmonton Notes for October 28, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

Downtown Edmonton at Night
Downtown Edmonton at Night, photo by Isabell Hubert

Upcoming Events

Art from the Unknown 119857
Art from the Unknown, photo by Premier of Alberta

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Media Monday Edmonton: Update #319

Taproot Edmonton’s latest Media Roundup was published today. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday morning.

Local updates from the Media Roundup

Here are a few select updates from today’s Media Roundup:

  • Bryan Hall, affectionately known across the city as “Hallsy”, is celebrating 65 years of broadcasting. 630 CHED has published a big feature on Hall’s career.
  • CKUA’s fall fundraiser is underway with a goal of raising $650,000 by October 28.
  • Carla Turner is back from maternity leave and will be doing the weather on weekends at 6pm and 11:30pm on CTV Edmonton.
  • Former CTV Edmonton anchor Carrie Doll has launched a podcast called The Inner Circle. “With a passion for stories well told, each week Carrie will feature stories of guests exploring their personal truths, highlighting their wins and uncovering the lessons they have learned along the way.”
  • UCP leader Jason Kenney “took umbrage this week at stories from members of the legislature press gallery about a speech he gave to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 9.,” writes Graham Thomson. Kenney’s Twitter account attacked Edmonton Journal writer Emma Graney for a story she did.

NAIT open house 2018
NAIT’s TV studio control room, photo by Jason Woodhead

Media-related updates from elsewhere

And here is some non-local media news that I found interesting this week:

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Edmonton Notes for October 21, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

k.d. lang and Premier Notley meeting 118891
k.d. lang and Premier Notley, photo by Premier of Alberta

Upcoming Events

Province invests in affordable housing for seniors
Ground breaking at the future Londonderry community housing site, photo by Government of Alberta

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Media Monday Edmonton: Update #318

Taproot Edmonton’s latest Media Roundup was published today. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday morning.

Local updates from the Media Roundup

Here are a few select updates from today’s Media Roundup:

  • Starting this week, Elise Stolte will move from the City Hall beat to become the new city columnist at the Edmonton Journal. “It’s a huge challenge and I’m hoping you’ll all stay with me, debate with me, send me tips and ideas on this journey,” Stolte tweeted.
  • Paige Parsons will move from the courthouse to City Hall to fill Elise Stolte’s position. “I’m excited to jump right in,” she tweeted.
  • Keith Gerein is the Journal’s new provincial columnist. “I appreciate all the messages I’ve received,” he tweeted in response to the news. “Even the critical ones.”
  • CFCW Music Director Larry Donohue has announced he will hang up his headphones at the end of the year. He has been with the station for 35 years.
  • Cam Tait says the ATCO Edmonton Sun Christmas Charity Auction is up to 223 items. The goal is “to collect 250 items and raise $135,000 for the Christmas Bureau of Edmonton, Adopt-a-Teen and Catholic Social Services.” The auction starts on October 22.


Photo by Roman Kraft on Unsplash

Media-related updates from elsewhere

And here is some non-local media news that I found interesting this week:

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Edmonton Notes for October 14, 2018

Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

  • All 13 communities in the Edmonton Metro Region have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a Regional Transit Services Commission. The goal is for collaboration to “provide more integrated and reliable movement between nearby communities than the current mix of transit services.” The Province has provided $3.7 million “to support behind-the-scenes work to set up the commission.”
  • Edmonton’s proposed new bus routes are ready. No wait, they’re not. In a confusing news release, the City says the new routes have incorporated feedback from Edmontonians but feedback on the “final draft” will be accepted from October 25 to December 9.
  • Council approved rezoning for the Falcon Towers on 104 Street this week. Langham Developments’ latest towers will be 37 storeys and 43 storeys.
  • Council also approved more than $20 million to improve transit safety with more security at LRT stations and retractable shields and cameras on all buses.
  • Councillor Paquette’s proposal to look into free transit was not so warmly received at Council. He’s going to tweak the motion and bring it back to Council in two weeks.
  • The City has released three challenges for startups to solve using technology as part of the Startup in Residence (STiR) program. They’re looking for a vandalism detection & prevention system, a chatbot to reduce 311 call volumes, and a mobile app to deliver information on “the optimal blend of transportation options”.
  • The Edmonton International Airport has banned consumption of recreational cannabis on its property. “The RCMP will monitor and enforce passenger and employee compliance, the airport said in a release Thursday.”
  • The electric autonomous vehicle (ELA) pilot is now underway at Blatchford. Starting Wednesday the vehicle moves to Chappelle Gardens.
  • Edmonton will host the next SingularityU Canada Summit in April 2019. “The annual event draws some of the brightest minds in the country’s tech ecosystem, along with sector workers and innovators from across the globe.”
  • The City is hosting a series of Engage Edmonton drop-in sessions until November 15. “These are convenient one-stop shop locations where people can provide feedback on City projects that matter most to them.”
  • Edmontonian Harman Baweja wants Oilers fans to celebrate each goal with a victory dance. “The Edmonton-based dance instructor, hip-hop dancer and self-professed Oilers superfan has choreographed a routine and is challenging every member of Oilers Nation to groove to the moves.”
  • Episode 10 of Speaking Municipally covers the response to free transit, the regional transit authority MOU, and the approval of the Falcon Towers on 104 Street. Also check out the latest Council Roundup for all the details on what’s coming up at Council in the week ahead.

Ice district Edmonton October 2018
Ice District Edmonton October 2018, photo by Jason Woodhead

Upcoming Events

New Royal Alberta Museum
New Royal Alberta Museum, photo by IQRemix

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Media Monday Edmonton: Update #317

Taproot Edmonton’s latest Media Roundup was published today. Sign up here to get it delivered to your inbox every Monday morning.

Local updates from the Media Roundup

Here are a few select updates from today’s Media Roundup:

  • “Leaving my Edmonton team to join the senators — sort of the way Aleš Hemský did — won’t be easy,” wrote Paula Simons in her farewell column. “During my last few years in this newsroom, I’ve worked with tremendous veterans as well as dazzling rising stars.” Paula was one of three appointed to the Canadian Senate by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday.
  • Radio Cité 97.9 FM started broadcasting in Edmonton on Saturday. About 65% of the programming will be French language music, but the station will also look to attract anglophones.
  • Graham Thomson announced he is writing a regular opinion column for CBC and will appear on TV and radio every Friday afternoon.
  • With a funding boost announced on Thursday, the Government of Alberta will now provide $650,000 per year to the Alberta magazine publishing industry. “Alberta publishers produce nearly 200 titles annually, delivering 18 million copies of Alberta magazines to readers each year.”
  • Eat Local is a new Edmonton-based magazine from food photographer Heather Muse. “Everyone we have reached out to or told about this idea has been excited and supportive,” she wrote in the pilot issue.

Untitled
Paula Simons at the 2013 Yeggies, photo by Nanc Price

Media-related updates from elsewhere

And here is some non-local media news that I found interesting this week:

Follow Edmonton media news using the hashtag #yegmedia and be sure to check out Mediagazer for the latest media news from elsewhere. You can see past Media Monday Edmonton entries here. If you have a tip or suggestion for future updates, let me know.

At Taproot Edmonton we’re working hard to ensure that local journalism has a future in our city. Join us to be part of the movement.

Edmonton Notes for October 7, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving! Here are my weekly Edmonton notes:

Headlines

New Royal Alberta Museum officially open | Ouverture officielle du nouveau Musée royal de l’Alberta (RAM)
New Royal Alberta Museum officially open, photo by Government of Alberta

Upcoming Events

Edmonton Nuit Blanche - 2018
Edmonton Nuit Blanche 2018, photo by IQRemix

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Amii brings Edmonton’s AI community together with new meetups

The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (better known as Amii) held its first AI Meetup at Startup Edmonton on September 10. The organization has been hosting “Tea Time Talks” and other small events at the University of Alberta for a while now, but the new AI Meetup is an attempt to reach a broader audience. Judging by the turnout to the first event, they’re on to something!

AI Meetup

Melissa Woghiren, an Amii grad student, was one of two speakers at the packed event. She spoke about her work using machine learning to assist physicians in the timely diagnosis of stroke. “No one cares about the algorithms,” she said. “They care about the ML tools, generally speaking.” Melissa dazzled the crowd with details on what AI can do now to detect stroke and heard attacks, but also discussed the risks of algorithmic bias. Her take home points were that AI can be useful in medicine, we care more about the ‘what’ than the ‘how’, and the goal is not to replace doctors but to assist them.

Jobber co-founder Forrest Zeisler was the second speaker. He focused on “Applied AI Myths and Misconceptions”, a topic that really seemed to resonate with the crowd. The biggest myth is that most of a machine learning project involves machine learning – it doesn’t, he said. The bulk of the work is planning, infrastructure, UX, training, etc. Forrest also dispelled the myth that you need a research lab to do AI. “That’s like hiring people for your restaurant who can build new microwaves,” he said. Instead, use an off-the-shelf model and “you can have a pretty big impact.”

AI Meetup

After the talks, there was an opportunity for questions as well as a DemoCamp-style call for anyone in the room who is hiring.

The next AI Meetup is coming up on October 10 at Startup Edmonton from 5:15pm to 7:15pm:

“Discuss the latest topics in AI and machine learning, learn about the latest tools and techniques in machine learning, discover how companies are using AI to drive value, and network with thought leaders from Amii, local AI companies, service providers, and corporate labs.”

Register for the free event here.

Machine Learning 101

Just a few days later Amii held a Machine Learning 101 meetup at Startup Edmonton and once again the event was standing room only. Geoff Kliza, a Project Manager at Amii, delivered a modified version of an ML101 talk he has given to dozens of organizations recently. Here’s my Twitter thread from the event.

Machine Learning 101

“You don’t have to work with our 14 world-leading researchers” to use ML and to do it well, he started. Geoff talked about how the cost of prediction is getting cheaper thanks to cheaper computing power and storage, and more efficient algorithms. A common question that comes up is how AI relates to ML, data science, and other terms, and he showed a great Venn diagram to help explain it. He also defined some common terms in AI such as unsupervised learning (learning about your data), supervised learning (learning from examples), deep learning (neural networks), reinforcement learning (learning via experience), and transfer learning (learning from analogous situations).

Geoff also shared 8 key takeaways reinforcing similar points made at the AI Meetup, including that machine intelligence projects often involve very little ML, that data changes destroy models, that no one cares about your algorithm only what it can do, and that machine intelligence and humans work best together.

On that last point he shared the example of metastatic breast cancer diagnosis. Doctors are about 96.6% accurate and machines are about 92.5% accurate, Geoff said. But together, they are 99.5% accurate, which is an 85% decrease in the human error rate. That’s the power of working together.

Machine Learning 101

The next Machine Learning 101 event is coming up on October 17 at Startup Edmonton from 4-5pm:

“Heralded by many as the fourth industrial revolution, artificial intelligence has inspired countless news articles, novels, and films. With this deluge of information comes hopes and aspirations, fears and misconceptions – some justified and others not. How can we make sense of it all? “

Register for the free event here.

For the latest local AI and other tech news, subscribe to Taproot Edmonton’s Tech Roundup.