Nomad-hackathon Preface Hackathon

A Machine Learning Halloween at Nomad

It’s the Halloween season and Preface Hackathon is infested by a bunch of friendly ghosts! On last Sunday, The Nomad recruited teams of App Inventor and Scratch students to find these ghosts using machine learning.

Our App Inventor students built a smart app using image recognition for Halloween this year!

Building “Ghostbusters” with MIT App Inventor

This year many friendly ghosts hid inside QR codes. The mission of our ghostbusters (aka the App Inventor students) is to bust as many ghosts as possible – all done with a self-built app. Students learnt how to build a mobile app that makes use of QR code scanning and image recognition plugin to accomplish their mission in the Halloween-themed campus.

MIT Scratch – Digital Costume using Facial Recognition

Physical Halloween costumes are so predictable. This year our Scratch students created their very own digital costume using facial recognition technology. In this Hackathon, they learnt how to design and wear their own digital costumes using Scratch, and build interactive Halloween games using the facial recognition tech and motion sensors.

All our students are ready for Halloween with their own shiny apps this year, what about you?

Industry

A.I. Intell takes over jobs in financial world, Insider…

Even lawyers could be replaced by A.I.

Before we begin, here’s a question for you: what kind of company is J.P. Morgan? What industry does it operate in?

It seems like a no-brainer — J.P. Morgan is an iBank, also known as the largest bank in America. Except that it’s not just an iBank. We are with someone who has told us a scoop — the financial company is changing fast, and it’s reflected in its hiring strategy in 2019.

So, what kind of company J.P. Morgan really is?

Mr. Park Pu is the parent of one of our coding students, and a top executive in J.P. Morgan China. His daughter is just old enough to join the Scratch coding classes in Preface this year. However, back in the early days of Preface, the coding school was already on his radar.

“I noticed you guys back when you had a smaller office on Lau Li Street. It’s nice to see you grow into a bigger space. I think it also means that more parents are seeing the importance of coding education gradually.”

He brought Ashley, now 7 years old, to Preface for her Scratch classes around the same time he witnessed a rapid change in the hiring strategy of J.P. Morgan.

“J.P. Morgan spends more than US$10 billion in technology every year. At the moment we hire more programmers than Microsoft yearly. This will continue to be the hiring trend in the entire industry.”

Earlier this year, J.P. Morgan announced the launch of JPM Coin, their very own cryptocurrency. The digital currency is not money per se, yet it allows J.P. Morgan’s clients to settle transactions between their accounts with the digital currency. The product is currently in trial.

Launching the service means a big deal — the corporate finance world was notorious for its reluctance in adopting new tech too fast too soon. The fact that J.P. Morgan has swiftly joined the bandwagon of cryptocurrency means that the financial industry is not only ready to change the way it operates, but also how the entire world perceives new tech in finance.

Pu revealed that JPM Coin is not the first technological project J.P. Morgan piloted. “J.P. Morgan helped build the mobile payment systems that everyone now uses across the U.S.. Without the involvement of a financial institution of such scale, it wouldn’t be possible to make any digital payment system available at a country level. As much as it is a financial company, J.P. Morgan also makes an investment in its tech department bigger than any outsider can imagine.”

The exponential increase in the demand for technical personnel inevitably means the career of some might be jeopardised, even for those who are in the prestigious roles.

“J.P. Morgan has recently introduced an A.I. system to review all the standard legal documents produced internally. In a short length of time, the system is able to complete the amount of work that would take considerably longer by human. A huge part of the legal team is now replaced by automation. We expect that continual development in technology will form similar trends for other functionalities, especially the ones that involve a lot of repetitive manual work.”

J.P. Morgan is not the only one who is having this transformation. Goldman Sachs went through a similar change years ago — the CEO even made a bold statement that “Goldman Sach is a tech company” because the company hires more engineers than Facebook in absolute terms. It’s perhaps far-fetched to say Goldman Sachs is a 100% tech-maker, yet the boundary is getting blurry. The financial industry is indeed one of the biggest driving forces behind technological advancement.

It is crucial to keep learning new skills, and the most important skills to learn is how to reinvent oneself whenever needed.

From an industry research done by Goldman Sachs Research, it is suggested that as automation plays an increasingly prominent role in a workplace, there will be a bigger need for the workforce to reskill and upskill throughout the lifespan of one’s career. It is estimated that about one-third of the workforce will need to transfer to a new occupation in the next 5 years. It means that the marketers of today would be the programmers of tomorrow; the programmers of today may become the new data scientists in a few years. In other words, it is crucial to keep learning new skills, and the most important skills to learn is how to reinvent oneself whenever and wherever you are.

Student Stories

Envisioning a World Powered by Artificial Intelligence

Image credit: Engadget

Over the past century, fiendish sci-fi plots like The Terminator or The Matrix have always portrayed scenarios where sophisticated AIs end up manipulating the human race. Coupled with the idea of robots and computers taking over a multitude of our jobs, incremental AI developments have widely been perceived as menaces that bring future sufferings.

However, instead of worrying about job replacements, Preface celebrates the impending displacements of tasks with the impact of new technologies. The automation of repetitive tasks is a key advantage of implementing such technologies, leaving humans with greater capacity to deal with higher-level tasks, resulting in the facilitation of efficiency and innovations.

One pick for innovative concept is Toyota’s e-Palette, an on-demand city platform with autonomous and multipurpose driverless shuttles serving across the city. These shuttles have an open interior design layout that enables companies of all kinds to use them in accordance with users’ needs, whether it be mobile meeting rooms, retail outlets, restaurants, emergency medical clinics, on-the-road e-commerce or more. Imagine being able to call up a mobile fitting room before placing an order on online shopping sites — no longer will you buy goods that do not match your expectations and have so much hassle returning them. Its flexible framework empowers businesses with mobility and resource optimization, while supporting their customers’ lifestyles with better convenience, productivity and efficiency. Yet, other potential benefits are there to be explored in the real world.

Statistically, 47% of digitally mature organisations have a defined A.I. strategy. — Adobe

In 2019, we are going through a significant transition from an information-driven era to an AI-powered age. The problem of information overload has been forcing us to change our behaviour, from receiving information passively to having quality learning experience. With the advancement of AI, machines can assist us by handling vast amount of behavioural data and suggest us personalised recommendations accordingly. Just as the case of Toyota’s e-Palette, the Education field deserves to undergo the same intensity of revolution for more efficient and effective outcomes.

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.” — Albert Einstein

Educators need to know what theories or explanations in textbooks cause most frustrations to learners, and what pedagogical methods work for diverse groups of learners. An education based AI machine is best to provide us with objective recommendations of the learning method and pace for each individual learner. In this way, the collaboration of human teachers and AI machine would help to educate the next generation of humans to be smarter than ever.

Student Stories

讓使用者走進創造者的世界

編程力量 讓構想逐步實現

隨世界科技的發展,編寫程式不再是程式員的專利,它已成為學童的必修課程。學會編程,究竟可如何利用科技改善生活?從一班Preface Junior Coders 的經歷,或能給大家一點啟發。


這班學生參加Preface的程式班時對老師常用的自動拍卡系統感到興趣,希望學生也能有一個拍卡點名系統,於是萌生編寫一個應用程式來實現想法的念頭。他們的構思是,這個程式可供學生透過掃描二維碼的方式自助簽到,出席或缺席人數將自動於雲端紀錄,方便快捷。

在老師的指導及與Preface Programmer的合作下,學生逐步實踐其構想。他們在設計應用程式時除了要考慮用法、功能和使用者的需要,更要解決如何存取數據等問題,難度實在不少。小至外觀,大至功能,每一個細節皆是學生討論過後的成果。通過不斷的嘗試與解難,他們終於設計出一個令他們滿意的應用程式。為精益求精,他們反覆測試,發掘可改進的地方,務求令程式更優秀,日後供社會廣泛使用。

對於這一班學生的表現,編程導師 Queena表示:「學習編寫程式所得的不僅是親身設計的遊戲或應用程式,而是在過程中如何發揮創意,反思和解難而得的經驗。」

短短一年,學生創造出一個又一個既獨特又富個人風格的應用程式。除遊戲程式外,他們也創造不同的應用程式以解決現實上的問題。由此可見,編程不但能為問題提供解決方案,並擁有改善社區,甚至改變世界的能力。


Preface Junior Coders 除了是程式編寫員,更是發現者和解決者。他們洞悉需要與問題,並嘗試用程式解決問題。

Student Stories

程式語言 2030 的官方語言

人工智能時代的溝通方法


近年,隨著人工智能的突破性發展,無論你是否願意接受,也不能改變人類社會正面臨翻天覆地的轉變這一事實。馬雲在《未來已來》一書中已點明關鍵,直指隨雲端運算和大數據技術日益發展,必然會對人類產生重大衝擊,只有適者才可以生存。

不少機構及研究以2030年作為對未來投射,預測世界發展的新趨勢。麻省理工科技評論(MIT Technology Review)報告指出,2030年時將有不少工種被人工智能或機械取代,同時也會因應技術發展衍生新的產業。人類必須具備不斷學習的能力,才能適應快速變革的新產業與新技能。該研究所研究員說:「未來像創造力、適應性和判斷力這樣的能力,比特定專長的知識,或知道如何使用釘槍的能力更重要。」

戴爾科技集團(DELL)與未來研究院(IFTF)也發布《人機合作新時代》預測報告,指出隨著軟體、大數據和數據處理能力取得巨大進步,新興技術將顛覆人們的生活,而社會與機器的關係將進入一個新階段。

進入人工智能時代,世界充滿挑戰與機遇,教育必須隨時代需求而變,以滿足未來人才的標準。

序言(Preface) 教育總監謝旭博士表示:「未來需要的人才再不是具備知識的人,而是具創造力、適應力以及懂得與電腦機械合作無間的人。這正是傳統教育之不足,未來需要的是以人工智能結合教育提供的個人化教育。」

這些想象的未來已經發生,遠比我們想象中快。

Latest News

Preface Workshops — A space to kindle your interest…


A myriad of specialty coffee shops have been emerging in the city over the past few years. As Preface’s concept store, Preface Coffee stands out with the operation of its space that subtly blends the pleasures of savoring a whiff of freshly brewed Arabica and enjoying a free flow of up-to-date knowledge provided at Preface Workshops. In a sense, Preface Coffee is building a school in a coffee shop; in another sense, it is redesigning the notion of education and schooling.

Preface Workshops at Preface Coffee

Acknowledging the eternal evolving nature of knowledge and the limitations of academic curriculum in schools, Preface Workshops aspire to immerse the most timely knowledge and discussions in the community.

During the day, customers can enjoy the carefully crafted coffee and work on their new ideas in a free seating environment. After seven, when the hectic day of most working individuals ends, Preface Coffee transforms into an afterwork symposium in where Preface educators or guest speakers share their expertise, so participants can refresh their minds with not only coffee aroma but also mind blowing ideas from all walks of life. Through Preface Workshops, the Ed-Tech company strives to spread knowledge in a different, thus, a better way.

Preface Workshops on Education, Technology and Design

Powered by Preface, a technology and design driven company, Preface Workshops endeavour to educate the like-minded creatives on the topics of education, technology and design. Preface believes that technology is not merely grim theories, nor is design just a terminology for colours and patterns. On that account, Preface Workshops spark keen learners with open conversations on the topics of latest technologies and methods of design thinking used in project management.


Innovative workshops held for both kids and adults are mainly related to, but not limited in, programming knowledge, artificial intelligence and design thinking. Beginner courses (from level 101 to 105), like Artificial Intelligence, Ruby on Rails, Python, Data Science and Design Thinking, are open alternately throughout the year at Preface Workshops.

Artificial Intelligence 101–105 and Design Thinking 101–105 are offered this summer and fall. The former series focuses on the evolution of key AI technologies and the way they can be engaged in businesses and industries; whereas the latter engages the idea of systematic approaches to new product development as well as the rationale of customer-centred problem-solving processes.

Advanced learners or individuals who have taken a particular 5-level beginner course can further enrol in the advanced courses at Preface centers. It is in the right place at the right time to reignite the interests of eager folks in mastering skill sets needed in the 21st century.

Unstuck Your Minds in the Free Environment

Preface Coffee sits on Lau Li Street in Tin Hau

Preface Coffee sits on Lau Li Street in Tin Hau, a neighbourhood brimming with great restaurants and foodie’s favourite local street stalls. Preface Coffee is a space hard to miss. Its modern earth tone exteriors and open environment flooded with sunlight stand in stark contrast to the authentic buildings in the area, making it an inspiring place to stop by.

Attending Preface Workshops is no longer the same as that in traditional classrooms where students are bounded by chairs and tables. The design of auditorium seatings embodies the value of learning and open discussions. There, learners can grab a cup of drink, sit on the podium and indulge in the flowing of ideas when attending the workshops.

Learners are encouraged to ask questions proactively and exchange thoughts in pursuit of inducing ideas. Folks, as a result, are able to interact with one another and receive relevant information in the industries. Preface Workshops are reckoned as a place where learners can build the network to interchange materials and views. The tranquil atmosphere of learning is freed up at Preface Coffee, so as the individuals’ minds at Preface Workshops; and yet, Preface treasures free minds as they are the essence of quality education.

Its motto of ‘There isn’t a thing that cannot be learnt’ extends past the grey walls.