Keys-by-TEARN mobile platform
Diary of a passionate, tech Dad
from TEARN i.e. teach to learn

Dec 14, 2010

Leanback Learning, Ecology, Ecosystem, and Artificial Intelligence

We started the Keys mobile app series some ten months ago. As the downloads march toward the first million mark, let's review our progress and goals for the new year.

Learning Theme

According to Wikipedia,
Learning is acquiring new knowledge, behaviors, skills, values or preferences. It may involve processing different types of information
Reading is not enough to foster learning. Doing, repeating, and associating images to words leads to learning. Pictionary with bots - our integration of vocabulary words with search images has created a unique, entertaining way to learn. Helping both learners and adults to assimilate more knowledge about both academic and social subjects has been satisfying to our group of authors.

The surprise has been the broad acceptance of Keys by users from around the world. Thank you for your support.

Green Theme

We visited Barnes and Noble this weekend - that wonderful collection of books in one of the largest book stores in our area. As frequent users know, we don't object to books. It's the form of delivery that has become wasteful and destructive.

The learning ambiance of the book store is to be encouraged. However, the alternative view is that this single store represents acres of forests - flattened - when alternatives should be substituted. How much oil is consumed to transport trees to pulp mill, to printing plants, to book warehouses, to stores - and finally into the hands of learners? Wasteful.

Barnes and Noble has been promoting the Nook - their ebook reader. However, among hundreds of shelfs of books - one small table has been allocated to the Nook. The Wi-Fi in the store was so bad that the product was not useless.

By comparison, the Apple store is 100% dedicated to devices that can access far more content than Barnes and Noble. Is it time for book stores to change their focus from 99% paper to 100% digital?
Every download saves a shrub, a can of oil, possibly a dolphin - and one mind.

One World Theme

As we reach out to fans from around the world with apps of interest to a global audience, we're learning that the world is both large and small. Six billion people use mobile phones (ie compared to 1.2 billion with PC access). That's huge.

Interests can vary by country, however, the insatiable demand for food, travel, music, and education topics has been a constant. Sports interests fragment by regions of the world. The global football term has passed American football as the most popular sport on Keys. (Of course, the confusion of the same term with different meanings has caused havoc for search robots. ;-) Education topics aside, the interest in our international collection of 25,000 food recipes has exceeded our expectations. Thus, it's been one world, both big and small.

We'll be exploring more international themes, such as the Mosques of Asia app. Rather than mistrusting each other from lack of first hand information, wouldn't virtual tours allow us to learn the habits of different cultures - leading to greater trust among people on earth? Peace through coffee-table apps.

AI Apps that Learn

As an AI expert from MIT, Keys has been an experimentation platform for my personal interests. AI is the artificial intelligence built into programs that allow the software to emulate human processes. The study does not advocate replacing people with robots, but rather uses processes learned from human thinking and applies them to robotic programming.

Each Keys app has the built-in intelligence to learn and improve. Our AI leverages the intelligence of search engines at Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo. Those search engines leverage the knowledge of millions of people who post content to the web, cross-reference the best information, and rate what is relevant among our expanding universe of knowledge. (ed: Does this make Keys a large social network?)

The process is dynamic - it changes as users change their parts of their web. Does this dynamic process improve each Keys app over time?

Search robots already provide amble relevant pictures for scientific terms, food recipes, and lists of proper nouns. We've been pushing the limits with apps such as Schools in India and Ich f├╝hle mich. The former pushes available content from remote regions of India. The latter analyzes the ability of search bots to understand adjectives in foreign languages.

If our apps have intelligence, the relevancy of the images for these apps will improve over time - automatically. Will they?


The Keys mobile platform has been a wondrous education for both users and creators. There is much more to accomplish. Thank you for participating. Leanback with a Keys app and enjoy the learning experience.

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