Pick.Click.Give program manager Jessie Lavoie: “With an uncertain future for the state budget, Alaskan’s are stepping up and supporting their communities. Nonprofit organizations across the state have taken full advantage of the marketing value the program offers. They did a wonderful job letting their donors and communities know that participating in Pick.Click.Give. significantly impacts their charitable goals.” After several years of steady but flat giving through Alaska’s premiere charitable giving campaign, Pick.Click.Give. is experiencing an increase in overall pledged totals as well as the amount pledged per donor, according to numbers released on Thursday. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享This year Pick.Click.Give. supported 628 participating nonprofits focusing on the following causes: Youth & Education, Emergency Services, Humanitarian Efforts, Animals, Arts & Culture, Health, and Community. The current average pledge per donor has increased nearly $9 over last year and is a record for the program. By the end of March, the total amount pledged by Alaskans was $2,906,875.00, the average pledge per donor is $113.88, and the average pledge per gift (each gift represents the amount a donor gifts per nonprofit organization) is approximately $62.53. Alaskans had until March 31 to file online for the Permanent Fund Dividend. However, filers can still go in and add or change a pledge through Pick.Click.Give.
Incisive Media announced plans this week to merge two of its legalpublications—the National Law Journal and Legal Times—into one title.The combined publication, which will operate under the National LawJournal brand and debut in May, will offer print and online nationallegal news and analysis. David Brown, editor and publisher of LegalTimes, will serve as editor-in-chief.According to Stephen Lincoln, national group publisher of IncisiveMedia’s legal division, there were two reasons for the merge. “With anew administration and topics like the economic stimulus package,there’s a tremendous amount of things going on D.C. that affect attorneysall over the country,” he said. “So we felt the change was verytimely. On the other hand, part of what made Legal Times so successfulwas its classified advertising section. But because of the economy andbecause classifieds have mostly gone online, things are not as great asthey were before.”Legal Times currently has a total circulation of 5,000, while theNational Law Journal has a total circ of 15,000. Lincoln saysthat the new publication will have a combined paid circulation ofapproximately 17,000. (Part of the Journal’s currentcirculation is non-paid controlled distribution and will be decreased.) In conjunction with the merger, the NLJ Web site will be redesigned and include the popular BLT Blog of LegalTimes Lincoln said that both brands will continue to have a separatepresence online, at least for now. “We’re going to maintain separateentities online for both Legal Times and the National Law Journal andsee how it works out,” he said. “We’re hoping to eventually take thebest aspects of each and incorporate them together.”According to Lincoln, NLJ.com averages of 429,000 page views per month, while LegalTimes.com gets about 463,000 page views.
WILMINGTON, MA — Below are some of the newest job openings in Wilmington:Full-Time Carpet Cleaning Technician at New England Carpet MasterFull-Time Counter Sales at West Springfield Auto PartsFull-Time Driver at West Springfield Auto PartsFull-Time Security Officer at Charles River LabsFull-Time Lead Master Data Specialist at Charles River LabsFull-Time Corporate Recruiter at SOVOS CompliancePart-Time School Van Driver at North Reading TransportationPart-Time Babysitter For 1 Wilmington ChildPart-Time Housekeeper For Wilmington HomePart-Time Nanny For 1 Wilmington Infant(NOTE: Wilmington businesses — Feel free to send me your job postings at firstname.lastname@example.org.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email email@example.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedNOW HIRING: 60 New Job Openings In Wilmington (Week of August 11, 2019)In “Business”NOW HIRING: 10 New Job Openings In WilmingtonIn “Business”NOW HIRING: 10 New Job Openings In WilmingtonIn “Business”
Tribune Publishing Co, owner of the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune, said Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong has invested $70.5 million in the company, becoming its second largest shareholder.Tribune also rejected Gannett Co Inc’s latest takeover offer of $15 per share, but said on Monday that it would allow Gannett, the publisher of USA Today, access to some confidential corporate information. Reuters first reported the news Sunday.Tribune’s shares closed down 15 percent on Monday.Soon-Shiong, through his fund Nant Capital LLC, will hold about 12.9 percent in Tribune and join the publisher’s board as vice chairman on June 2.Soon-Shiong, a South African-born surgeon, is part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team and a founder of two drug companies, which he sold for a total of $8.6 billion.Nant Capital has also entered into a standstill agreement with Tribune, limiting its ability to raise its stake in the publisher.Soon-Shiong is also chairman and chief executive of biotech company NantKWest Inc and is one of the highest paid chief executives in America. He took NantKWest public last June.TRIBUNE WANTS NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTWhile Tribune rejected Gannett’s latest takeover offer, it invited Gannett to agree to a “mutual non-disclosure agreement” to share information about a potential deal. The agreement, which has not been signed by either company, has become a source of contention.Gannett first said in a statement that the proposed non-disclosure agreement “would require Gannett to effectively cease any public proxy solicitation or other public pursuit of a transaction.”Tribune, in response, said that the agreement it offered does not prevent Gannett from continuing to pursue its withhold campaign or other proxy contests.Gannett responded by saying the agreement does not have a restriction against a proxy contest, but it does restrict public disclosures that could inhibit a proxy fight. It said Tribune is asking Gannett not to include references to discussions or negotiations in proxy statements or tender offer documents, and that its advisers are preparing a revised version.Last week, Gannett asked Tribune Publishing shareholders to withhold support for the latter’s eight nominees to the board of directors at its annual meeting June 2.Proxy adviser Institutional Shareholder Services Inc recommended that Tribune shareholders vote for the nominated directors.Oaktree Capital Management LP, a major shareholder of Tribune, is also pushing for a deal with Gannett and urged the company to form an independent board to consider the proposal.
Associated PressA monument surrounded by debris is cordoned off in the aftermath of an 8.1-magnitude earthquake in San Cristobal de Las Casas, state of Chiapas, Mexico, early Friday, Sept. 8, 2017. One of the most powerful earthquakes ever to strike Mexico hit off its southern coast, killing at least 15 people, toppling houses and businesses and sending panicked people into the streets. (AP Photo/Moyses Zuniga)The official death toll in Mexico’s 8.1 magnitude earthquake has risen to 95.Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department said Monday 95 people had died nationwide in Thursday’s quake. The additional five deaths apparently came in Oaxaca, the worst-hit state.Oaxaca Gov. Alejandro Murat told the Milenio television network that the death toll there has risen to 76 from the 71 reported earlier.Officials have reported 19 killed in Chiapas and Tabasco states.The Foreign Relations Department said the quake and Hurricane Katia have forced Mexico to withdraw an offer of aid for Houston, Texas, which was hit by Hurricane Harvey in August. Share
By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent@StacyBrownMediaThey are sisters – twins to be correct – and both are medical doctors and were born and raised in a town in Ohio called Twinsburg, a segregated, lower-income and primarily African American area.Both say they’ve always been drawn to science and excelled academically which led to each being in Advanced Placement and Honors courses in school.Twin doctor’s Brandi and Brittani Jackson (Photo Courtesy of Brandi and Brittani Jackson)Frequently the only African Americans in their classrooms, the twins endured their share of racism. There’s a pressure to perform and be on when you’re the only person of color in a space, lest you inadvertently perpetuate stereotypes about your race to non-people of color, they said.But, none of that prevented them from succeeding.Both would go on to become elected as chief residents in their respective residency programs at the University of Illinois and today they are practicing physicians whose primary patients include many in underserved populations in Chicago – Brandi in the Department of Psychiatry and Brittani in the College of Medicine-Family Medicine.In an effort to give back, the twins have co-founded Medlikeme.com, a resource for high school, pre-med and others to submit questions that will be answered by medical students, physicians and other professionals.The website is scheduled to launch Nov. 5.In a Q&A with NNPA Newswire, they spoke about their lives and profession.NNPA: At what point did you decide you were going to be a doctor?Brittani: I was not the kid that knew from an early age that I wanted to be a doctor. It was a slow realization. I do think the lack of societal images of black doctors made it hard for me to visualize myself in that role. I’ve always loved science and found enjoyment helping others, but being a doctor wasn’t something that honestly clicked as a viable option until the second half of college, after I saw a black female doctor, in person, for the first time in my life.Brandi: I also decided in college. I had the opportunity to study abroad in East Africa (my first time leaving the country!). As part of my program, I visited a hospital in Uganda. I remember that all of the doctors and the nurses looked like me. I was mesmerized as I watched them do their work. After that semester, I knew for sure that I wanted to be one of them. I had considered being a doctor long before that but being in a hospital full of black doctors somehow made it feel more attainable.NNPA: When you look at the numbers, the stats, obviously there are very few African American doctors and even fewer African American women doctors. Was that a factor in your decision to be a doctor?Brittani: The fact that there are very few African American doctors wasn’t a huge factor in my original decision to become a doctor. It is, however, something that both made the journey more challenging and ultimately more rewarding. It’s hard to envision yourself as something you don’t see. But as I got further into medicine, I realized that maybe I could be a visual reminder to someone who looks like me, that they can be anything. At least that’s my hope.Brandi: When I decided to become a doctor, I did think about the fact there are few African Americans in the field. Knowing that didn’t exactly motivate me. In fact, intimidated me. For much of my training, I felt like medicine was not meant for a person like me. It took years for me to feel like I was just as smart and capable as my classmates. Now, I know that I bring a unique perspective to medicine that the field desperately needs. When most people think of a doctor, they don’t picture an African American woman. My sister and I want to change that.NNPA: When did you realize or find out that your sister would also become a doctor?Brittani: I had done a pre-med summer program in New York City, and I remember telling Brandi about it. It was through that program that I got my first taste of what it was like to be a doctor and I was hooked. I was in the OR and saw a beating human heart. That changes you. I started thinking about medicine seriously then and talked to Brandi about it. I told her about seeing a black female doctor and how amazing that was. I started to believe I could do it and I think that rubbed off on her.Brandi: It did rub off on me. By the time I studied abroad in Uganda during college, the seed had already been planted. Knowing that my sister and I would be going on the journey together made the decision much less nerve-wracking. We were each other’s biggest supporters throughout our journeys. I don’t know if I would have had the courage to pursue medicine if I did not have my sister by my side. We were each other’s inspiration.NNPA: What has been your biggest challenge in pursuing and then ultimately becoming a doctor?Brittani: My biggest challenge came in the first few years of medical school. I had a very difficult transition. Brandi and I decided to go to different medical schools, in an experiment in a way, since we had always been with each other our entire lives. We wanted to learn who we were apart from each other. What I didn’t realize how much support I was losing by being away from her. I struggled to adjust. I felt like an imposter in those days; like I wasn’t smart or capable enough to be where I was. It took years to figure out that that was not true. It was a lie I believed for a long time about myself, until I realized that I was bringing something valuable and unique to medicine that isn’t common. The academics actually came easier after that, and everything else fell into place.Brandi: I think Brittani said it best. Those years that we were separated in medical school were really tough! I took a lot of train rides to visit Brittani during those years. I went through a similar “imposter syndrome” during medical school. I didn’t realize how much I had internalized the belief that I was not “supposed” to be a doctor. Overcoming that false belief was the most important things I did in my life.NNPA: How can academic institutions and even families help improve the number of Black doctors in the country? Why do you believe African Americans shy away or at least fail to consider the medical profession?Brittani: That’s a big question with a complicated answer. One reason I think African Americans shy away from the medical profession is because they don’t see representations growing up of black physicians. Most of us do not have doctors in the family or have friends who are doctors.On top of that, there are very few media representations of African Americans being doctors or holding other science-related careers. Again, it’s hard to imagine yourself being something you don’t see. So, I think those of us in medicine who are African Americans do have a responsibility to be as visible when we can manage, as a means of showing the next generation what’s possible.There is also a very large barrier to entry to the medical field. It’s a confusing thing to navigate if you do not have someone showing you the way. There’s also the extreme financial burden it places on applicants. That financial burden hits the African American community to a disproportionate extent as we are more likely than our peers to be from socioeconomically-disadvantaged backgrounds. There is institutional racism and sexism which are seamlessly built into our higher education and healthcare system to contend with as well. Those systems exert their damage in both overt and subtle ways over time. Those forces hurt you in material ways.They undermine your confidence and hinder your ability to perform at your peak. With that in mind, a lot of us, especially African Americans, are starting off with additional barriers.Brandi: As far as institutions go, I think too many operate under the premise that their work is done once they get a handful of African American or other minority students through their doors.That shouldn’t be the case. There are so many unique challenges that students of color face in higher education, that if institutions are serious about supporting diversity, they really have to be intentional about putting support systems in place. It’s not just about getting African Americans through the door but helping them thrive in an environment that was not designed with them in mind, as higher education was not.NNPA: What’s your primary message to other black women who might aspire to be a doctor?Brittani: I want them to know that although the road is long, it is worth it. At the end of the day, on the other side of the struggle, there are real people who need someone like you in their corner, fighting the good fight alongside them. Medicine needs you. Your future patients need you. You got this!Brandi: You are smart. You are powerful. And you belong in medicine. Quiet the voices (inside and outside) that tell you differently. Your future patients will benefit from the perspective you bring, and your unique identity is your greatest asset. Remember that you are not alone.NNPA: Which one of you are older and is there any pride being the older twin?Brittani: I’m older (by two whole minutes!) and I like to think wiser as well! After all, I learned a lot about the world in those two minutes.Brandi: Older does not necessarily mean wiser…clearly.NNPA: Are you at all surprised at yours and your sister’s success? Brittani: It’s surreal to have made it through medical school and residency and to be a practicing physician. It has been my “impossible” dream for so long. I think before I always thought of doctors as these superhuman beings that were just unreachable. Now I know that we doctors struggle and make mistakes just like everyone else. We are painfully human.On the other hand, I believe a lot of success is a mental game. A lot of my strength came from my family and other loved ones, who always lovingly reminded me who I was. They overwhelmed me with positivity and support whenever I stumbled on this journey. Over time, I came to believe in myself the way they did. Once I started truly believing in myself and my abilities, I got to the point where no negativity I encountered could keep me down for long. I just kept getting back up. When you have that attitude, I believe success is inevitable.Brandi: Brittani put it beautifully, and I agree. I feel humbled by all that we have achieved. I’m looking forward to helping other achieve the same success.NNPA: Can you describe MedLikeMe?Brittani: MedLikeMe is a free online community dedicated to minorities and non-traditional students who are interested in pursuing a career in medicine. In essence, we wanted to create the resource we wish we’d had when we were trying to figure out how to be doctors. High schoolers, pre-med and other pre-health students submit questions on the site, and real medical students, physicians and other professionals answer their questions. It is our attempt to bridge the gap between minorities and non-traditional students who are interested in medicine but don’t know where to start and those who have lived it. We also hope to highlight and share the stories of practicing professionals who have overcome struggle to succeed so that those in the community can have a source of inspiration. It’s definitely a work of passion.Brandi: For us, it’s not enough to say, “we made it”. We want to help others do it too. It’s our way of giving back for the hundreds of people who have helped us on our journey through medicine. We want to pay it forward. We’re hoping to change the face of medicine, together.For more information about their website, visit http://beta.medlikeme.com/our-story/. Additional information about the doctors can also be found at http://www.uifightdepression.psych.uic.edu/psych.uic.edu_______________________Excerpt:“For us, it’s not enough to say, “we made it”. We want to help others do it too. It’s our way of giving back for the hundreds of people who have helped us on our journey through medicine. We want to pay it forward. We’re hoping to change the face of medicine, together.”
Kolkata: Mystery shrouds the death of a Trinamool Congress activist from Burdwan, whose body was found in Hooghly’s Serampore on Wednesday morning.The victim, identified as Purnendu Chatterjee, had been missing since Tuesday after some local residents stormed into his house and heckled his family members. They had alleged that the victim had misappropriated some government funds. The villagers demanded the money back from his family members on Tuesday morning, when Chatterjee was away from home. The agitators had alleged that the victim had received around Rs 30,000 as cut money from a fund, which was generated for a government scheme. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataThe victim did not return home on Tuesday night. His body was recovered by the police in Hooghly on Wednesday morning. There were some injury marks on his body, which was later identified by his family members. Police have started a murder case on the basis of the complaint lodged by his family members. The body has been sent for postmortem examination. The family members of the victim alleged that BJP-backed goons might have been behind the incident. The district Trinamool Congress leaders have also put the blame on the saffron party. The district BJP leaders, however, have denied the allegations brought against them by the ruling party. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateIn the course of investigation, police came to know that the family members couldn’t contact him since Tuesday afternoon. Police are trying to ascertain where the victim had stayed on Tuesday night. The investigating officers are yet to ascertain the exact cause of his death. However, preliminary investigation suggests that he might have been murdered. Police are waiting for the postmortem report which might throw some light on the reason why he was killed. A detailed probe has been initiated in this connection.
Punter found hiding in bushes Dad slams ‘disgusting’ hospital window Police search for missing woman Want to tell us about something going on where you live? Let us know – Tweet us @SOTLive or message us on our Facebook page. And if you have pictures to share, tag us on Instagram at StokeonTrentLive. Get the biggest Daily stories by emailSubscribeSee our privacy noticeThank you for subscribingSee our privacy noticeCould not subscribe, try again laterInvalid EmailA man has been taken to hospital after a car collided with a tree near a North Staffordshire reservoir this afternoon. Emergency services were called to Greenway Bank near Knypersley Pool shortly before 3pm today (Tuesday March 19) – with the car left upside down. West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed they had been called at 2.47pm. A spokesman said: “We were called to reports of a collision between a car and a tree. “One ambulance attended the scene and we treated one patient, a man, for injuries. “He was taken to Royal Stoke University Hospital for further assessment.” Inrix, the traffic data company, is not reporting any travel issues in the area as a result of the collision. Read MoreTop stories on StokeonTrentLive Driver named following fatal collision
The news of China’s inhumane working hour policies is in the spotlight in the high growth tech world. Last month, a Github user with the name “996icu” created a webpage that he shared on GitHub, to protest against the “996” work culture in Chinese tech companies. The “996” work culture is an unofficial work schedule that requires employees to work from 9 am to 9 pm, 6 days a week, totaling up to 60 hours of work per week. In fact, such is the culture, that Chinese tech recruiters are instructed by their bosses to not hire people over 30 years of age. Close to three-quarters of tech workers in China are below thirty in age and the employers further promote this concept, per a Bloomberg post published by Shelly Banjo, Roving Asia Tech Reporter. 996 amassed more fire when Jack Ma, co-founder and executive chairman of the Alibaba Group, the Chinese rival to Amazon, defended the 12-hour, 6-day week working schedule and chastised people wanting a balanced and typical eight-hour work shift. In his own words, “To be able to work 996 is a huge blessing. If you want to join Alibaba, you need to be prepared to work twelve hours a day, otherwise why even bother joining.” Although the 996 culture violates Labor Law of the People’s Republic of China, and was the point of scrutiny and condemn by a large number of publishing firms, tech activists, and developers, a few are still favoring this inhumane culture. These are the so-called Silicon Valley investors and founders who are so jealous of China’s tech space that they are promoting other employers to follow China’s footsteps. Silicon Valley Investors envy the Chinese 996 culture It seems that regardless of the chastising and condemnation, the 996 culture has got the Silicon Valley spooked. Their argument, China’s 996 schedule is the kind of work ethic that will eventually help it become the superpower defeating the US. Something that all US founders and investors should aspire for. “Founders: We’re up against JackMa (& China) *enforcing* a 72-hour work-week 996 = 6 days a week, 9 am to 9 pm. The same exact work ethic that built America! You can get on your twitter pedestal & attack Ma or you can make a plan to win.” This is a tweet posted by Jason Calacanis, an Angel investor for Uber, Thumbtack, Wealthfront, and more companies. He further adds, “Not going to tell you how many hours you should work, but I will tell you that you need a plan to fight heads up against Chinese companies — which will be going head-to-head with every startup every created in the next decade. Ignoring, deriding or dismissing China isn’t a plan.” In January, Mike Moritz, a venture capitalist of Sequoia Capital wrote an editorial in the Financial Times titled “Silicon Valley would be wise to follow China’s lead.” He wrote that Silicon Valley has become “unhinged” with discussions about the “inequity of life.” He contrasted Silicon Valley tech culture with the work ethic in Chinese tech companies, where employees work for 14 hours six or seven days a week. He adds, “in many respects, doing business in China is easier than doing business in California.” Other quotes from Moritz’s piece speaks volumes about the inhumane 996 culture and how Chinese employees recuperate with the reality of such extensive work hours. “Top managers show up for work at about 8 am and frequently don’t leave until 10 pm. Most of them will do this six days a week — and there are plenty of examples of people who do this for seven. Engineers have slightly different habits: they will appear about 10 am and leave at midnight. Beyond the week-long breaks for Chinese new year and the October national holiday, most will just steal an additional handful of vacation days. Some technology companies also provide a rental subsidy to employees who choose to live close to corporate HQ. In China, by contrast, it is quite usual for the management of 10 and 15-year-old companies to have working dinners followed by two or three meetings. Many of these high-flyers only see their children — who are often raised by a grandmother or nanny — for a few minutes a day.” Moritz’s argument and his support for China’s 996 culture sparked a lively discussion on Quora. It has also invited a tsunami of unsurprisingly negative responses across the Silicon Valley tech community. Andy Manoske, former Associate at GGV Capital penned a blog post condemning Moritz’s condescending statements. Andy says, “Mike’s comments on paternity leave and seemingly slavish dedication run contrary to empirical evidence of the success of maintaining work life balance. Mike himself (an investor who has never actually worked in Silicon Valley as an operator and joined Sequoia after being a journalist) seems out of touch with the brutal realities of Silicon Valley’s already-imbalanced work-life balance, and that his post is clearly just an attempt to “win points” with Chinese tech firms that Sequoia is courting.” He further adds, “I feel this was a haphazard piece that read like a desperate attempt to somewhat patronizingly woo Chinese startups (most of whom will not read the Financial Times) and seemingly establish Western credibility on China.” One of the Quorans, Bowen Li wrote, “I think somebody read their history book in reverse order. Societies progress by giving people more rights and freedoms over time, not less. Creative, information work – the most valuable type of work that happens in Silicon Valley – does not benefit from increased hours. You cannot create twice as much innovation by putting in twice the hours. The human brain simply fatigues past a certain point and you get diminished or negative returns. People aren’t machines; thinking of this type of highly skilled work as “hours in, product out” is simply the wrong way to look at it.” According to job-hunting site Maimai, reports Reuters, the tech sector was the only industry out of thirteen surveyed to see more people leave than join between October 2018 and February 2019. This means 996 can result in an additional cost for tech firms, venture capitalists and analysts instead of increasing productivity. “One of the highest costs in an organization is high employee turnover. A culture that is less focused on hours put in, may also become more effective if the focus is turned to output versus input,” said Rui Ma, a San Francisco-based investor who has funded startups in China and North America. Tech solidarity and grassroots mobilization is necessary to eradicate 996 It is the tech workers solidarity which needs to fleshed out in order to eliminate the inhumane 996 culture. The tech worker groups should unionize and be backed by political campaigns, advocacy groups, and nonprofits to start a political conversation and effect change at an international level. This has already begun with Chinese state media newspaper People’s Daily criticizing the 996 culture, In an editorial they wrote, “Employees who object to 996 cannot be labeled as ‘slackers’ or ‘not fighters’. Their real needs should be considered.” Recently, Microsoft and GitHub employees also drafted a petition in defense of the GitHub repository which could be under threat of Chinese censorship. The project is an initiative towards making the Chinese tech companies obey the labor laws and the international labor convention. The 996.ICU GitHub project description reads, “By following the ‘996’ work schedule, you are risking yourself getting into the ICU (Intensive Care Unit).” This petition was signed by 50 tech employees altogether, including several from Google, urging Microsoft and GitHub not to remove the 996.ICU project from the GitHub site. “We, the workers of Microsoft and GitHub, support the 996.ICU movement and stand in solidarity with tech workers in China. We know this is a problem that crosses national borders. These same issues permeate across full time and contingent jobs at Microsoft and the industry as a whole,” the letter said. Trade Unions should also come forward to support employees enduring 996 hardships. Discussing #996ICU Shen Jianfeng of the China University of Labor Relations, noted in the Global Times that “trade unions in China should indeed play an active role in safeguarding the rights and interests of workers” in the tech sector. Other software developers also rose in mutual support of Chinese developers and more should do so. The US tech companies need to awaken to the Chinese competition but worrying about China’s 996 culture is not one of them. On the surface, working 996 is about companies working as many hours of the week as possible in order to beat the competition and to capture a market before the competition. However, a lot of other factors such as quality of the working environment, worker’s exposure to stress and the ability to frequently rest well actually determines a company’s progress. Working endlessly can make an individual less effective than if they work for fewer hours in a calmer manner. Not only work, but the 996 schedule also deprives people of their free time and makes families and relationships suffer, for no extra pay and no extra output. To conclude, Silicon Valley can, and should, learn lessons from Chinese tech cultures. But none of these should have to do with oppressive and authoritarian management philosophies like the unhealthy dedication to work or human rights eroding business decisions such as mass surveillance systems that are prevalent in China. Read Next ‘Developers’ lives matter’: Chinese developers protest over the “996 work schedule” on GitHub Jack Ma defends the extreme “996 work culture” in Chinese tech firms What the US-China tech and AI arms race means for the world – Frederick Kempe at Davos 2019
Travelweek Group TORONTO — Cover-More Group Limited, a travel insurance assistance provider, is on track to break out in a big way now that it’s been approached By Zurich Insurance Co. to acquire the assets of Cover-More Inc. This offer raises the ability for Cover-More to obtain underwriting opportunities for insurance product on a global basis. The acquisition is in progress with an anticipated closing sometime in spring 2017.UPDATE: Zurich becomes a “top 3” global travel insurance provider with Cover-More acquisitionNow poised to enter Canada, Cover-More, which was founded in Australia more than 30 years ago, is hopeful that its products will be available to Canadian travellers by end of 2017.“Cover-More is focused on partnering with carefully selected and targeted distributors/ technology licensing partners focused on delivering customer value and service. We are currently speaking to potential partners with a like-to-like strategy of bringing to light the true value of travel insurance and emergency assistance to the Canadian marketplace,” says Carole Tokody, CEO, US & Canada, Global Direct for Cover-More Inc.Tokody also noted that the company experienced a huge boom in recent years, during which it went through major management changes and was listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX). It made a big push in the China market, and officially entered the U.S. market in 2016 by providing travel insurance across nine Flight Centre brands in the country. In addition to China and the U.S., it now operates in the United Kingdom, India, Malaysia, Singapore, New Zealand and Australia.The entry into Canada this year is just the latest venture that cements Cover-More’s position as a global brand. And Canada, adds Tokody, is viewed as one of the world’s top markets, sharing a similar health regime as Australia.In light of Cover-More’s expansion, Travelweek sat down with Tokody to talk about the importance of travel insurance for Canadians, and how the company intends to set itself apart from its competition.Once Cover-More is up and running in Canada, will Canadians have any challenges purchasing travel insurance with an Australian company?Cover-More’s approach when we enter new markets is to find like-minded distribution and underwriting partners so all the logistics are in place for us to provide our travel insurance products. Once we establish in Canada, Canadians can have complete confidence that there will be no challenges, surprises or logistical hurdles to overcome when they purchase and travel with our travel insurance.More news: Marriott Int’l announces 5 new all-inclusive resorts in D.R. & MexicoThere are many travel insurance providers out there. How much differentiates one from the other, and how does Cover-More set itself from the pack?Travel insurance is all Cover-More does, that is why we are good at it. The strength and value of our offer lies in our belief that it’s not enough to have a relationship with the customer just when they claim. Our customer value proposition – keep travelling – is about reaching out to our customers before, during and after their journey. And not just when they need help or need to claim. For example, we can offer pre-travel security, health or nutritional advice because we know where they are going, and for how long, and we also know their age and if they are travelling with children.However, if our customers do need help, for example, if they are injured or become ill, it is the strength of our medical assistance offer that I also believe sets us apart from other providers.According to Travelweek’s 2016 Ultimate Travel Survey, 69% of consumers do not purchase travel insurance when travelling outside their home province but within Canada. What are your thoughts?Domestic travel insurance is useful for luggage and ticket protection, that’s why Cover-More offers it. It’s much lower cost for the traveller because cover for things like medical expenses isn’t required. It’s really a personal decision for the consumer. Personally, I think it’s good for domestic travellers who want extra peace of mind when they leave home.Nearly 28% of respondents said the main reason they don’t purchase travel insurance is because it’s too expensive. What tips would you give travel agents on how to sell insurance to budget-conscious travellers?It’s an alarmingly high percentage. I think it’s because people sometimes look at travel insurance as a grudge purchase and they think that ‘nothing will happen to me anyway’. Though we’ve had cases where a customer travelling in the U.S. requires hospitalization or treatment and the medical bills escalate into tens of thousands of dollars so quickly.More news: Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemCover-More’s product suite includes some medical cover-only products, which are for people on a tighter budget. It’s really the minimum peak of mind you need to travel with, in my opinion. It’s not just the cost of medical care when you are travelling – you also want to ensure you are receiving the high standard of medical care that you are used to, living in Canada. That’s what Cover-More offers our customers.What makes a really great travel insurance provider? Is it a diversity in products? A prompt response team? Affordability?A company who is focused on the customer, customer value and the customer experience. And that’s across everything, from pre-purchase, purchase, fulfillment, pre-travel, during travel, post-travel and the claims process, if required.Our customer value proposition, keep travelling, is based on the premise that ‘life is an experience’ and Cover-More is here to keep travellers travelling.A really great travel insurance provider tries to enhance and enrich the travel experience through easy access to things like Global SIMs or Global Wi-Fi, currency cards, and smartphone apps that offer one-touch connectivity to emergency help.It’s also important to treat your customers as individuals, not as policy numbers, and uphold strong customer service values along the entire value chain.What’s something about the company that would surprise travellers?Part of our assistance services is the use of counsellors through Davidson Trahaire Corpysch (DTC). You could be in a location like Paris or Nice during a traumatic event and not be physically impacted yet suffer from emotional trauma. We will send out a counsellor to ask if you’re okay and provide counselling on the spot over a period of time. We did this in Nepal during the 2015 earthquake and it helped a lot of our customers.For more information on Cover-More, go to covermore.com. Monday, March 13, 2017 Posted by Cover-More sets its sights on Canadian insurance market, operations scheduled to launch by year’s end Share << Previous PostNext Post >>
A passenger demanded a window seat so the flight attendant did this Tags: Funny, Japan Travelweek Group Posted by Share << Previous PostNext Post >> Monday, November 12, 2018 TORONTO — A word to the wise: never mess with a flight attendant.On a recent flight in Japan, a passenger who had requested a window seat threw a bit of a hissy fit after discovering he was seated in a row without a window.According to fellow passenger @koo_TmS_suke, who shared his story on Twitter, the unidentified male passenger demanded the crew give him a window seat as they came around for drinks service.A flight attendant then walked away before returning with a piece of paper. As it turns out, the crew member had drawn a window on the paper, complete with an ocean view and two clouds in the sky.But that’s not all. The flight attendant went so far as to tape the picture to the wall next to the passenger.Voila! Automatic window seat.Twitter reacted in full, with many praising the flight attendant’s quick thinking and creativity. One Twitter user wrote, “That’s really clever” while another said, “Great thinking by the attendant”.More news: Save the dates! Goway’s Africa Roadshow is backThe airline has not been identified. No word as to whether the seat in question has been upgraded to Premium status due to its newly enhanced views.
Embarrassing D.C. ‘Leak’ Has Heads RollingOn January 31st, the contents of a controversial memo caused a shake-up at the White House. I’ll show you how to use this highly sensitive data to skim $1,000s in legal profits. Don’t miss the exciting video bulletin… Click here for the full story Justin: Got it. And what about altcoins? Do you think this downturn will wipe out some of the weaker projects? Will we also see a flight to quality ones? Marco: I look at it like a cleansing. And that’s exactly what the space needs.You see, strong bull markets, like the one we had last year, tend to attract people who run scams and weak projects with little chance of success. But you see much less of that when prices are falling and a lot of crappy projects have already died. There’s definitely going to be more focus on quality.Anybody who’s looking to raise money right now needs to have a really high-quality project to get funding. And that’s a good thing.Out of all the projects that have raised money already, it’s now also easier to see which are the high-quality ones. Because now you can see who is pushing forward and focusing on building out their technology, as opposed to crappy projects where you see no development… where nothing is happening.What’s happening is that as projects get more built out and more interconnected, it’s setting us up for even stronger network effects and for an even stronger bull market once the market finally turns around.Nothing has changed at all in terms of the overall Blockchain Ecosystem. All that has changed are the prices, and that’s always a temporary thing. Now, prices are going down. And then, sooner or later, we’ll have a turnaround. And it will be a very powerful turnaround because of all the technology that has been built over the last nine months or so.Justin: Makes sense. This clearly sounds like a buying opportunity for people who’ve been wanting to speculate on cryptos or add to their holdings.Marco: Yes. Of course, it’s impossible to time the exact bottom. But I will say that I thought the last three months already were a great buying opportunity. And if the market goes even lower, it will be an even better time to buy.There may be more downside ahead in December, so we might see even better opportunities. But like I said, it’s impossible to time the exact bottom.For me personally, I have a really big crypto allocation in my portfolio. But as the market keeps going down, I’ll buy even more. And then, when the market eventually goes up again, I lighten up a little bit and rebalance my portfolio.So, I’d say to anybody who is considering getting into cryptos or who is on the fence that now is an excellent time to get into the market. And for those people that are in the market already, it depends on their crypto allocation. If they are looking to add to their crypto allocation, now is a good time to do so.As for the people who can’t stomach the volatility, I’d say that maybe your allocation to crypto is too high and you’ve got to sell down a little bit. I mean, I’m not advocating anybody take losses, but if you don’t sleep well at night, then you definitely have too much in crypto.It’s always a good idea to have the kind of allocation where you can look at your investments without emotion, without panicking. And if prices drop even more, then you keep a cool head… and if anything, buy more.So that’s the key. Every investor has to know their own psychology and has to know for themselves the kind of exposure that they can handle psychologically and emotionally, and act based on that.Justin: I think that’s great advice, Marco. Looking down the road, do you see any catalysts on the horizon that could get the market out of this rut and fuel the next bull market?Marco: Of course, I keep an eye on potential catalysts. You can never know what might cause the next bull market. It might be something that nobody had on their radar screen. But there are two narratives that I think are important. One is, of course, the institutional money. Wall Street is getting ready to move into the crypto market. We’re seeing a lot of infrastructure being built in that area, so that is not a question of “if,” it’s a question of “when.” And I think, certainly within the next six months, we’ll see something happen in that area.The other thing that I watch even more closely is the building out of the Blockchain Ecosystem itself. And there are several big catalysts coming in the first quarter of next year. Several new, next-generation, high-speed blockchains will be launching their mainnets [the fully working version of a new blockchain].So, a lot of the crypto projects that have been under development, in some cases for years, are having big launches of their technology where it finally becomes available and gets connected to the Blockchain Ecosystem. This could act as a huge catalyst because it will enable even greater network effects, and makes the value proposition of the entire Blockchain Ecosystem even more enticing.I see nothing but good things ahead for the future of the Blockchain Ecosystem.Justin: Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today, Marco.Marco: You’re welcome.Justin’s note: Marco’s Disruptive Profits service is unlike any other cryptocurrency advisory I’ve ever seen.Not only does Marco scour the crypto markets to find the highest-quality projects for his readers… he’s discovered a way to generate consistent income payouts from them.The next “crypto dividend” could come as soon as December 2… Will you be ready to collect? Learn more here.Reader MailbagIn today’s mailbag, readers respond to last week’s Conversation With Casey… Thank you for printing this interview. The questions were spot on and the answers were insightful, but scary. We have a very difficult problem to deal with and it will ultimately be dealt with by the people that are involved with these migrants – or should I say future Democrats!I agree with Doug 1000%… we are in a bad, bad position and Washington must come up with the correct solution. – Ernie L. — Thank you for your timely and thought-provoking answers to Justin on November 16. I believe you are so “spot on” in your summaries. I personally am concerned about this mode of entry becoming the way for mega-thousands to enter and live literally in/on our streets. Doug, what can I do as a concerned citizen for my fellow citizens who are in the path of these thousands – OUR citizens who have lived and worked hard and are now worried for their families and property?I do know President Trump is preparing with some huge containment areas, but now we are talking about taking care of these people. And yes, why does it seem no one is going down there and asking questions? “Poor” is not going to be the reason for approved asylum. Thank you for your time. – Marge J.As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here.Special Invitation From Doug CaseyRecently, Doug held an important meeting with two of the smartest financial gurus in the world.It’s not often that Doug allows the public to hear what goes on in these meetings. The topics are usually too sensitive for a large audience.But for the first time ever, Doug’s decided his readership needs to know what was discussed. Click here to sign up for the exclusive, one-time-only broadcast. Justin: What do you think triggered the recent sell-off?Marco: A lot of people are wondering about this, because investors always try to come up with a narrative to fit what’s happening in the market. But I think that’s a mistake, because what this really boils down to is that there were more sellers than buyers. That’s all we really know. Everything else is speculation.The hard fork in Bitcoin Cash – where Bitcoin Cash split into two competing versions – had a lot of drama surrounding it. But this is just a convenient narrative. It doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the drop in bitcoin.And there’s another thing about the Bitcoin Cash hard fork… something that gets a lot of attention from crypto investors: chaos theory. Better known as the butterfly effect, chaos theory – in this context – basically means that all the financial markets are connected. We’re in a globally connected financial system. And what ultimately caused that sell-off in bitcoin could have been anything, even something seemingly unrelated.I should also mention that there was very little volume in the market before the sell-off. And any little thing can move the market when volume has dried up. Of course, we’ve seen huge volume since the sell-off compared to the weeks before – easily five to eight times more volume on all the exchanges.In the end, we just know that there were more sellers than buyers. That’s why it went down.Still, it’s important to keep in mind that this is not a time to panic sell, but rather to be buying. This is a good thing for people who understand the big picture and are in this for the long term. It gives us more time to buy more of the best projects and to build our portfolios.Justin: Any idea how much further bitcoin could fall before bottoming? Do you see strong support anywhere?Marco: I’m no expert in technical analysis, but there’s some support around $4,600. So, it’s possible that we go toward that area or even lower. But I don’t think we’ll fall to much lower levels in the long term. I do think that if there is another move to the downside, it will be strong and relatively short-lived. After some consolidation, we’ll eventually be ready to move much higher again.So this might be a final shakeout to get the last weak hands out of the market before the path is clear for a new bull market. I was skeptical of this migrant movement into the U.S. However, after reading this article, which explains (at least in the author’s view) why and how this a much larger issue than these people trying to better their lives. The socioeconomic problems that could ensue are tremendous. It was a very educational article. Thank you. – Anonymous Click here to watch Justin’s note: Bitcoin has broken down.It fell below $6,000 last week, after trading in an extremely tight range for months. And it’s been in free fall ever since.It’s now down 25% over the last 6 days, and trading at its lowest price since October 2017.Naturally, this has a lot of cryptocurrency investors worried… including many Casey Research readers. So I got our in-house cryptocurrency expert Marco Wutzer on the phone to see what he thinks about this sell-off. Marco is the editor of our newest advisory, Disruptive Profits. He’s also an early bitcoin adopter. He first bought bitcoin in 2010 when it was trading for less than $2, and has been through several major downturns since then.Below, Marco shows why the recent drop isn’t a reason to panic – it’s an opportunity to buy…Justin: Marco, bitcoin broke key support at around $6,000 last week. What does this mean for bitcoin and the rest of the crypto market?Marco: There was significant support around that level. I was watching this myself in the form of a triangle that was forming as the market came down. It was practically guaranteed that there was going to be a big breakout either to the upside or to the downside. I personally expected the breakout to be to the upside. Obviously I was wrong about that.But now that we’ve seen a breakout to the downside, I think there’s more downside ahead. I don’t think it will be something that will last for a long time. But I think there’s definitely more downside ahead in the short term before we go higher again. — Recommended Link Circle THIS Day on Your CalendarCircle February 4, 2019, on your calendar. It’s likely this day will go down as the greatest in stock market history. Or at least, the most profitable. Because thanks to a recent Supreme Court ruling… over $4 billion is expected to move into this industry, and three very specific stocks are positioned to take the lion’s share of profits. And it’s all going to happen in one day. Recommended Link
Workplace wellness programs that offer employees a financial carrot for undergoing health screenings, sticking to exercise regimens or improving their cholesterol levels have long been controversial.Starting January 1, they may become even more contentious. That’s when a federal judge’s decision to overturn existing rules about the programs takes effect. The decision casts uncertainty over what the appropriate upper limit for these types of financial incentives should be — specifically when employers offer them to workers to participate in programs that require clinical testing or the disclosure of their personal health data.Under the Americans with Disabilities Acts and genetic privacy law, an employer can’t force someone to disclose this kind of private information — any disclosure must be voluntary. The central question is how truly voluntary something is when a large financial incentive is attached.As a result of the court decision, consultants say, workers may find their employers starting to offer smaller incentives for these programs.Also, the programs might include more options for qualifying for those incentives — a choice, for instance, between undergoing a medical exam or completing online health education training.About 4 in 10 employers participating in an informal survey by Mercer, a benefits firm, said they are not sure what they will do about their workplace wellness plans in light of the judge’s ruling.”Some are modifying. Others are taking a wait-and-see-attitude,” says Steven Noeldner, Mercer’s senior consultant in total health management specialty practice.Eighty-five percent of large employers offering health insurance included a wellness program designed to help people stop smoking, lose weight or take other healthful actions, according to a 2017 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Just over half of those included some type of medical screening.Rewards or incentives to participate in these programs vary. The most common are gift cards, fitness trackers or other merchandise, but some offer significant discounts on what workers pay toward their health insurance coverage.For instance, the Cleveland Clinic’s version is more extensive than most, says Dr. Bruce Rogen, chief medical officer for the initiative. He describes it as a “population health program,” with differing goals for workers who have chronic diseases like diabetes versus those who don’t.Full participation, which may require losing weight, keeping blood sugar levels in check or hitting a gym at least 10 times a month, can save workers 30 percent off the cost of their insurance premiums. That could be as much as $1,443 a year.”Part of what makes the plan work is the fact we can offer that benefit discount,” Rogen says.Thirty percent is the maximum an employer can offer, according to rules put out in 2016 by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.Shortly after the EEOC’s guidance was issued, AARP challenged it in court, arguing that workers who did not want to provide their private medical information might feel coerced to do so because not participating would cost them substantial sums — ranging from hundreds to thousands of dollars.The argument — from AARP and other critics — is essentially that when incentives become large enough, employees may no longer feel that sharing their medical data is voluntary — because, how can they afford not to participate?”You and I can look at the same incentive and you will find it’s truly voluntary and I would say, given my financial circumstances, I feel I’m being compelled,” says Tom Luetkemeyer, an attorney specializing in employment law at Hinshaw & Culbertson in Chicago. (He was not involved in the AARP case.)In his first ruling in August 2017, D.C. Circuit Court Judge John Bates noted that the EEOC had failed to provide justification for how it settled on the 30 percent limit. He also pointed out that 30 percent of a worker’s health insurance costs could be “the equivalent of several months’ worth of food for the average family, two months of child care in most states, and roughly two months’ rent.”Bates ultimately ordered the 30 percent limit vacated as of Jan. 1, 2019, after the EEOC said it would not produce that justification or a new number until 2021.Now employers who are putting together next year’s health benefit programs don’t have specific rules to follow.The advice they are receiving from benefit consultants ranges widely, from “drop all incentives and penalties” to “stay the course.”Few expect employers will stop offering wellness programs outright — because most hope the programs will hold down health costs by getting workers to take steps to improve their well-being. Critics, however, point out that studies show little evidence that workplace wellness programs achieve these goals.The ruling does not affect some wellness program efforts, such as offering financial incentives for going to the gym or walking a certain number of steps per day.Substantial financial incentives that are used to get people to quit tobacco are also not covered by the ruling — as long as there is no medical test required to check for nicotine use.But “you can’t fine them for not getting their weight down, because then you have to measure their weight and that becomes clinical,” says Al Lewis, who runs Quizzify, an employee health literacy company.Some employers say they will stick with their existing programs — even if they hit the 30 percent level — because the EEOC is unlikely to challenge companies that stick with the rescinded percentage while they await the new rules.The Cleveland Clinic’s Rogen, who credits the wellness program for holding medical costs almost flat for the past five years, says clinic officials plan to leave it at that level next year, despite the uncertainty.Not all benefits consultants would agree with that choice.”The way we interpret the ruling is that financial incentives that relate to physical exams, including questions about health history, would not be allowed starting Jan. 1,” said Noeldner, of Mercer.Others suggest that interpretation is taking the judge’s ruling too far. After all, the Affordable Care Act provides a precedent for the 30 percent threshold — and the EEOC may well come back with a rule that reaffirms that amount. The ACA included a provision that raised the limit on health-contingent wellness incentives to that amount.”People may be overreacting to this by saying, ‘With these rules null and void, we are out in the Wild West,’ ” says Todd Hlasney, senior vice president and director of health risk solutions at Lockton Companies, a benefits consultancy.”We are advising clients to be more conservative,” he says. “But don’t panic and say [you] can’t do anything because of EEOC.”Kaiser Health News (KHN), a nonprofit news service, is an editorially independent program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, and not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.
Amazon Enroll Now for $5 Some Alexa users have heard random, creepy giggles from the virtual assistant in recent weeks. Amazon says the problem was the result of a false positive. Reporter Next Article Image credit: via PC Mag Angela Moscaritolo –shares Add to Queue Amazon’s Alexa apparently thinks something is pretty funny, but isn’t letting anyone in on the joke.As The Sacramento Bee reports, some Alexa users have heard random giggles from the virtual assistant in recent weeks. Moreover, people are saying that the laugh they’re hearing isn’t in Alexa’s usual voice, which makes the experience even creepier.”I was trying to turn off some lights and they kept turning back on,” one Reddit user posted last month. “After the third request, Alexa stopped responding and instead did an evil laugh. The laugh wasn’t in the Alexa voice. It sounded like a real person. My wife was there when it happened and she is the only person who can drop-in. I still get chills.”Several Twitter users have recently reported similar experiences, and one person even managed to capture it on video:So Alexa decided to laugh randomly while I was in the kitchen. Freaked @SnootyJuicer and I out. I thought a kid was laughing behind me. pic.twitter.com/6dblzkiQHp— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) February 23, 2018Yes, everyone, this is real. Its a JBL Bluetooth speaker paired with the Echo Dot. Technology is evil. I live on a Native American burial ground. Robots are coming for us all.— CaptHandlebar (@CaptHandlebar) March 7, 2018Lying in bed about to fall asleep when Alexa on my Amazon Echo Dot lets out a very loud and creepy laugh… there’s a good chance I get murdered tonight.— Gavin Hightower (@GavinHightower) February 26, 2018WHY DID MY ALEXA JUST LAUGH OUT OF THE BLUE?!?!?!?— Kyle Fitzy Shanklin (@kylefitzy8) March 4, 2018Turns out, these users aren’t being overly dramatic or hallucinating these strange LOLs. In a Wednesday statement to PCMag, Amazon confirmed this is an actual thing that’s happening.The online retail giant said that “in rare cases, Alexa can mistakenly hear the phrase ‘Alexa, laugh.'””We are changing that phrase to be ‘Alexa, can you laugh?’ which is less likely to have false positives, and we are disabling the short utterance ‘Alexa, laugh,'” Amazon said. “We are also changing Alexa’s response from simply laughter to ‘Sure, I can laugh’ followed by laughter.'”News of this Alexa oddity comes after the service went down for several hours last week. During the outage, Echo device owners reported seeing red rings rather than blue, as well as a variety of error messages, including: “I’m having trouble understanding right now. Please try a little later”; “I’m not sure what went wrong” and “Sorry, your Echo lost its connection.” That outage was, strangely, a case of life imitating advertising. March 8, 2018 Alexa Is Randomly Laughing, But Nobody’s in on the Joke Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. This story originally appeared on PCMag 3 min read Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand
This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business 6 min read Cars Last week, Warren Buffett made a big announcement — he’s getting into the car dealership business.Buffett’s investment company Berkshire Hathaway said it would acquire Van Tuyl Group, which is headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., and is the fifth-largest owner of dealerships in the country.So the car industry now has a titan in its midst. The next question is obvious — why?Why is Buffett getting into a business where sales are reaching their peak, where margin is steady, but small, and where a nascent technological disruption may be on the verge of upsetting the sales model that has ruled since the 1950s?And is it a good idea?“I don’t think it makes sense, to be honest,” said Sarwant Singh, a senior partner and automotive industry analyst at Frost and Sullivan. “The dealership stricture, especially in the US, is an age-old model that is going extinct.”Singh is referring to the franchised-dealer car sales model: car manufacturers such as Ford and General Motors have regional franchise dealers, which are owned either locally or by a chain, which is being upset by online shopping and mobile apps.Singh expects the number of U.S. dealerships to shrink by as much as 30% in the coming years.In an interview at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit earlier this week, Buffett said he got into the business because it has high volume and low capital investment needed, meaning that even with relatively low margins, profits can be substantial. Plus, he can sell insurance and financing products. The question, though, isn’t whether car dealerships have been good businesses, it’s whether they will be in 10, 15 or 20 years, given that the industry is seeing the same technological disruption so many other post-World War II industries have.Car-buying in the future could follow a model more similar to Tesla’s, where there is no lot, just a small showroom, and where the office is more often in a city center than in the suburbs.Singh notes that millenials don’t like salespeople, they prefer “product champions,” like the folks working at the Apple’s AAPL 0.54% Genius Bar — employees who are engaged but cool, who at least appear to be trying to help you get the product you want as. They want to feel like they’re getting coffee, not engaged in negotiatory combat with a slick-haired huckster in a bad suit. That’s hard in the concrete purgatory of a car lot.For instance, Singh points to an automotive dealership in London where 60% of the cars are purchased without a test drive. If that model grows and eventually crosses the Atlantic, that would be a bad sign for Buffett.Analyst Greggory Warren of Morningstar, though, thinks it’s hard to see a majority of the market going to stores that are Tesla-clones, leaving plenty of space for the traditional car dealership.“If a quarter of that business goes away to a different model, that still leaves 65% of the market,” he said.And that remaining market is wide open. AutoNation, the largest dealership chain in the country, owns 266 dealerships, a minuscule percentage of the approximately 17,000 in the U.S.This means that Buffett can continue to gobble up dealerships and build Van Tuyl to be a bigger player.Imagine the family-owned dealership in your home town. If the grandchildren of the founders decide they want to do something other than sell cars, they’ve got to sell it — enter Buffett and Van Tuyl, who can make it part of their chain.The other big plus Warren sees in the dealership business for Buffett is the service component, which is a big part of business for dealerships.Steve Anenen, CEO of dealer services company CDK Global — which recently completed a spinoff from payments company ADP — thinks that if Buffett is successful in his pursuit of acquisition, he’ll be very successful in the business.Anenen also pointed out that he wouldn’t be shocked if Buffett got Van Tuyl into the used car business, which is a much bigger business in terms of volume in the United States.Still, there are other reasons this purchase is a head scratcher. Auto sales are moving towards the end of a cycle. It’s expected that this year between 16.2 million and 16.4 million cars will be sold. Expectations for 2015 are hovering around 16.7 million. After that, growth will almost certainly plateau or perhaps begin shrinking again. If Buffett were going to get into the car business, it would likely have made more sense to look for an opportunity in 2011 or 2012, when the business was building to its current peak following a bigger-than-usual valley during the depths of the credit crisis. This is a short-term concern, as barring another major crisis the cycle will eventually come back around, but it’s still strange to get into a business at the end of a boom.Warren, though, doesn’t think that’s ultimately a big deal. He said that Buffett and the Berkshire people know that it is a cyclical business, and that with the market going down, it could actually make the expansion part of the plan cheaper, perhaps evening out the cost in the long-run.It’s hard for anyone to question an investment decision made by the Oracle of Omaha. But much like when Buffett began his foray into the world of newspapers — an industry that, unlike car dealerships, no one doubts is circling the drain — you can’t help but wonder what it is that he sees that others are missing.The question of whether or not this investment works may depend on one thing: the ability and desire from Buffett and the largely intact management of Van Tuyl to fundamentally change.If, 20 years from now, car dealerships have responded to technological disruption with aplomb, fundamentally shifting the way they do business, and if Van Tuyl is at the forefront of that revolution, Buffett’s bid could go down as genius.If, though, the auto industry reacts with the general aversion to changing mores that it has in the past, and the franchised auto dealership becomes a relic to go with video rental stores and travel agents, it could be seen as a major blunder. Ben Geier Has Warren Buffett Gone Car Crazy? Add to Queue October 12, 2014 Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. –shares Next Article Register Now »
Tell us about your role at Engage Hub and the team/technology that you handle.Engage Hub provides solutions that bring together disparate data to automate AI-driven customer experiences across multiple channels — from SMS to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. We work with clients across the globe, across multiple sectors (such as retail, financial services and telecoms), so that they can deliver relevant experiences to customers via their preferred channel.In my role as Head of Marketing, I’m responsible for our go-to-market strategy across all of our target verticals and territories. I also look after the marketing team at Engage Hub — a group of talented individuals that specialize in digital and Account-Based Marketing (ABM). Finally, it’s down to me to ensure that our message resonates and is being clearly communicated to our customers.What is the overall state of data-driven consumer engagement in the Marketing Technology Industry?Data is a real force in the CX space and we’re seeing businesses wake up to the benefits that data-driven consumer engagement can bring.Some sectors are better at it than others. Retail, for example, is making great strides. Based on the data collected about its customers’ previous purchases and returns, ASOS for instance, using its Artificial Intelligence (AI) sizing tool, can provide a personalized sizing suggestion.The traditional high-street chains are facing ongoing challenges, though. They struggle to be agile in the way that the online retailers are — because their technology stacks tend to be built on legacy infrastructure. This is preventing them from delivering experiences that are personalized and engaging.Engage Hub helps organizations by connecting to those legacy systems. Our data orchestration platform enables organizations to get the best value from the data they hold today without having to replace their legacy systems and hard code — dramatically reducing risk and cost.The big hot topic at the moment surrounding data-driven consumer engagement is privacy. On top of providing seamless customer experiences, it’s crucial that organizations deal with data in an entirely ethical way. And of course, are GDPR-compliantTell us more about Engage Hub’s solutions and your target audience. The company launched more than 30 years ago and has evolved in response to the market. Our technology enables brands across the financial services, retail, telecoms and utilities sectors deliver best-in-class digital customer experiences. We take the data held by organizations on their customer interactions and feed that into our AI-driven platform. We then automate messages across various points of their customers’ lifecycle. For example, some customers might prefer to respond to an email rather than an SMS, while others might prefer communicating via Facebook. It’s Engage Hub’s job to make sure that communication is taking place in the most personalized way possible.Being a very large data-driven enterprise, how does Engage Hub handle so much data?Our platform has been built to cope with large volumes of data for enterprise organizations so it is scalable and can grow along with our customer base. For example, last month alone, we’ve sent three million messages for one of our customers and we have hundreds!With a large range of products. which geographical areas are you targeting for growth?We’re constantly looking for new opportunities as part of a wider business focus to expand globally. For example, we recently appointed Gabriel Lobitsky as our new Latin America, Sales Vice President. Gabriel has over 20 years’ experience in the IT space and is working on developing Engage Hub’s presence in Brazil, with a view to expanding into other markets including Columbia, Chile, Argentina and Mexico.We also appointed Felix Wong last year as VP Sales for APAC. Felix has over 20 years’ experience in the APAC telecommunications industry and is operating across Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, and his native Singapore, with a major focus on strengthening existing strategic partnerships as well as cultivating new business opportunities.How important is the role of Artificial Intelligence in the data-based marketing domain?AI has come a long way in recent years and is playing an increasingly important part of data-based marketing. Orchestrating data for customer communications and automating cross channel interactions are just two examples of how we use AI at Engage Hub.However, although AI is the technology of the moment and an exciting prospect for marketeers, I would urge some caution about over-reliance on the technology.Some customers prefer interactions with a human agent over a chatbot, and it’s important that we respect this. Also, it’s important that marketing activity making use of AI is molded to appear as human-like and approachable as possible. There’s a risk with AI that marketing becomes robotic, which could alienate customers and leave them disengaged. So, while AI plays a really important role in data-based marketing, it’s crucial that the adoption of it is measured and carefully thought through.What Sales and Marketing Technology tools does Engage Hub currently use?We use lots! When it comes to automated emails for newsletters, product updates, etc., we’ll use our own platform. The team also likes to experiment with different tools to test, learn and optimize everything we do. I’ve recently started looking at website heat mapping tools such as HotJar and EyeQuant, and also project management tools such as Monday.What apps/software/tools can’t you live without?There are so many! At the top of my list is Trello, to help keep me organized and the Ted Talk app for when I’m looking for inspiration and motivation.What is the best piece of professional advice that you have received?That nobody is any better or worse than you are. This is something my dad said to me at a young age and I’ve since heard it from the best managers.If not in Marketing, what would have been your alternate career choice? When I was growing up, my number one career choice was to work with animals. However, considering how much I love marketing — the enjoyment and rewards I get from it — it feels like this career and I were meant to be. I adore it! TechBytes with Alice Blair, Head of Marketing, Engage Hub Sudipto GhoshApril 26, 2019, 2:30 pmApril 25, 2019 AIAlice Blairdata-based marketingEngage HubEyeQuantFacebook messengerGDPRHotjarMarketing Technologywhatsapp Previous ArticleMarTech Interview with Brendan Smith, CEO and Co-Founder, MotiveNext ArticleEuropean MultiBrand e-Commerce Store Doti.lt Brings Virtual Fitting Room Experience With AstraFit About Engage Hub At Engage Hub, it’s our mission to make sure your business treats your customers as individuals to engage each and every one, so you win them over faster and keep them for longer.With over 30 years in the business, our services have evolved alongside the needs of our clients, including some of the world’s most successful brands across the financial services, utilities, telecoms, retail and logistics sectors. We understand the challenges you face — from data silos to legacy systems — and have built intelligent, intuitive and effective solutions that work for you.Our commitment to excellence has helped us build a reputation as the leading global provider of data-driven consumer engagement and customer retention solutions. At a time when brand loyalty is at an all-time low, our data orchestration technology delivers the kind of experiences your customers have now come to expect. So, you can always keep them engaged and happy. About AliceAbout Engage HubAbout Alice As Head of Marketing for Engage Hub, Alice is responsible for orchestrating PR, social media and event activities in order to maximise the brand’s reach. Holding a BA in English and a passion for communication excellence, Alice also drives the content and communication strategy for Engage Hub.
Provided by University of East Anglia Proposals to extend the role played by politicians in scrutinising mergers and investments in the UK could discourage foreign investment, according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA). This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Canada blocks China purchase of construction firm Aecon As part of preparations for life after Brexit, the UK government has introduced wide-ranging plans for strengthening its scope to scrutinise mergers, acquisitions and investments that raise national security concerns in specific sectors.The proposals, the result of the government’s review of the Enterprise Act 2002, seek to extend the powers that the government currently has to intervene in transactions in order to safeguard the national security of the UK, while simultaneously attempting to minimise any adverse effect these reforms may have on predictability and procedural transparency.However, while the Green Paper on National Security and Infrastructure Investment (NSII) makes “all the right noises” with regard to investor certainty, researcher Dr. David Reader argues that the “resurrection” of ministerial decision-making could yet deter foreign investment by creating perceptions of an assessment process based on furthering the UK’s new Industrial Strategy, rather than protecting national security.The reforms, which have been consulted on and will be set out in a White Paper later this year, follow a traditionally ‘open for business’ stance adopted by successive governments in order to aid the UK’s recovery in the wake of the 2007-08 global financial crisis. They also come in the wake of controversial foreign bids for so-called ‘crown jewel’ firms such as Cadbury, AstraZeneca and ARM Holdings, as well as the all-British tie-up between Melrose and Armed Forces supplier GKN earlier this year.Published in the journal Competition Law International, Dr. Reader’s evaluation of the proposals argues for restraining the role of ministerial decision-making under the new regime.”At a glance, the Green Paper’s repeated emphasis of the need to maintain a regime that promotes business certainty and procedural transparency would seem to be music to the ears of potential investors,” said Dr. Reader, of UEA’s Centre for Competition Policy.”However, the proposals are also set to resurrect a central role for ministerial decision-making in the UK investment landscape. In the light of a new industrial strategy and the shadow of impending Brexit, this carries the risk of creating a suspicion that politicians will base their decisions on industrial policy grounds under the guise of national security. Citation: Government reforms could deter foreign investment (2018, June 25) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-06-reforms-deter-foreign-investment.html “With the implementation of these reforms likely to coincide with the UK’s departure from the EU, the true impact of the reforms on the level of foreign investment may not be discernible. But, as attracting foreign investment will play a key role in the government’s industrial strategy, understanding the long-term impact of these proposals is paramount.”The government is already pressing ahead with the Green Paper’s short-term proposals to amend the turnover threshold and share of supply tests for mergers within the Enterprise Act 2002. This allows the government to examine and potentially intervene in mergers that currently fall outside the thresholds in two areas, namely the dual use (items used for both civil and military applications) and military use sector, and parts of the advanced technology sector.The Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) currently has powers to intervene in merger assessments on national security grounds, but will seek formal advice from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), often in consultation with either the Ministry of Defence or the Home Office, before deciding whether to refer the transaction for further in-depth assessment.Under the proposed ‘national security intervention’ procedure, however, the Green Paper suggests that—where non-merger specific transactions (such as greenfield investment) raise concerns—the Secretary of State will undertake their evaluation without receiving advice from the CMA or any other independent body.Dr. Reader said there are doubts as to whether a foreign investment review regime based solely on the assessments and decision-making of politicians or government departments would create an environment that instils confidence in prospective investors.He also highlights a potential conflict of interest, given that the BEIS Secretary has also been tasked with heading up the government’s industrial strategy, a key component of which is to target specific companies to invest in the UK as part of individual sector deals and to ensure that the regulatory process is easier for these companies to navigate.”This raises the potential for a scenario where the BEIS Secretary is having to rule on the national security implications of a foreign takeover or investment in the advanced technology sector, while also negotiating to attract a separate foreign company to invest in the same sector,” said Dr. Reader.”The allocation of extensive decision-making powers to politicians and, specifically, the BEIS Secretary, risks undermining the certainty and transparency that the Green Paper’s other proposals strive to deliver. It is imperative that the forthcoming White Paper outlines specific safeguards that would remove the risk of industrial policy considerations entering into the decision-making process.”One option for negating perceptions of political bias during a ‘national security intervention’ process would be to establish an independent national security review body, which would—in effect—assume the role that the CMA plays in the context of public interest mergers.”‘Extending ‘National Security’ in Merger Control and Investment: A Good Deal for the UK?’, David Reader, is published in Competition Law International, volume 14, number 1, June 2018. Explore further
Youth unemployment, particularly among university graduates, is a central problem across the Arab world, in part because of a demographic “youth bulge.” Last year, unemployment among Palestinian college graduates under the age of 30 reached 56 percent, including 41 percent in the West Bank and 73 percent in the Gaza Strip, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. In this Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018 photo, Wassan al-Sayyed,17, right and Massa Halawa, 16 run the team’s virtual reality game “Be a Fire Fighter” in the West Bank city of Nablus. Four Palestinian high school friends are heading to California this week to pitch their mobile app about fire prevention to Silicon Valley’s tech leaders. They made it to the finals of a worldwide app competition among more than 19,000 teens. For the 11th graders from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the ticket of admission to the World Pitch Summit signals a particularly dramatic leap because of the limited opportunities at home. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) In this Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018 photo, Wassan al-Sayyed,17, uses a 3D glasses headset that is running the team’s virtual reality game “Be a Fire Fighter” in the West Bank city of Nablus. Four Palestinian high school friends are heading to California this week to pitch their mobile app about fire prevention to Silicon Valley’s tech leaders. They made it to the finals of a worldwide app competition among more than 19,000 teens. For the 11th graders from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the ticket of admission to the World Pitch Summit signals a particularly dramatic leap because of the limited opportunities at home. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) Citation: Palestinian teens reach finals of Silicon Valley app pitch (2018, August 5) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-08-palestinian-teens-silicon-valley-app.html Unemployment is particularly high among female university graduates, in part because young women are expected to marry and raise children, while young men are considered the main breadwinners. However, employers also complain that graduates studying outdated or irrelevant courses often lack the needed skills for employment.Saidam said Palestinian schools have received 15,000 computers in the last couple of years. His ministry has also established 54 bookless “smart schools” for grades one to six where students use laptops and learn by doing, including educational trips and involvement with their society.Meanwhile, the Technovation Challenge has already been a life-changing experience for al-Sayed and her teammates, Zubaida al-Sadder, Masa Halawa and Tamara Awaisa.They are now determined to pursue careers in technology.”Before this program, we had a vague idea about the future,” said al-Sayed, speaking at a computer lab at An Najah University in her native Nablus, the West Bank’s second largest city. “Now we have a clear idea. It helped us pick our path in life.”The teens first heard about the competition a few months ago from an IT teacher at their school in a middle-class neighborhood in Nablus, where IT classes are a modest affair, held twice a week, with two students to a computer. Four Palestinian high school friends are heading to California this week to pitch their mobile app about fire prevention to Silicon Valley’s tech leaders, after winning a slot in the finals of a worldwide competition among more than 19,000 teenage girls. In this Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018 photo, Tamara Awaysa, 17, left, Wassan al-Sayyed,17, center and Massa Halawa,16, right, pose for a photo with their mentor Yamama Shakaa in the West Bank city of Nablus. The four Palestinian high school friends are heading to California this week to pitch their mobile app about fire prevention to Silicon Valley’s tech leaders. They made it to the finals of a worldwide app competition among more than 19,000 teens. For the 11th graders from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the ticket of admission to the World Pitch Summit signals a particularly dramatic leap because of the limited opportunities at home. (AP Photo/Nasser Nasser) The girls, friends since 10th grade, each had a laptop at home though, and worked with Yamama Shakaa, a local mentor provided by the competition organizers. The teens “did everything by themselves, with very few resources,” said Shakaa.The team produced a virtual reality game, “Be a firefighter,” to teach fire prevention skills.The subject is particularly relevant in some parts of the Palestinian territories, such as the Gaza Strip, where a border blockade by Israel and Egypt—imposed after the takeover of the Islamic militant group Hamas in 2007—has led to hours-long daily power cuts and the widespread use of candles and other potential fire hazards.The teens now hope to expand their app to include wildfire prevention. They will also present a business and marketing plan at the California pitching session.After the competition, they will give the app to the Palestinian Education Ministry for use in schools.”This prize has changed our lives,” said al-Sayed. Explore further Israel grants Palestinian mobile carriers 3G frequency For the 11th graders from the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the ticket of admission to the World Pitch Summit signals a particularly dramatic leap.They come from middle class families that value education, but opportunities have been limited because of the omnipresent Israeli-Palestinian conflict, prevailing norms of patriarchy in their traditional society and typically underequipped schools with outdated teaching methods.”We are excited to travel in a plane for the first time in our lives, meet new people and see a new world,” said team member Wasan al-Sayed, 17. “We are excited to be in the most prestigious IT community in the world, Silicon Valley, where we can meet interesting people and see how the new world works.”Twelve teams made it to the finals of the “Technovation Challenge” in San Jose, California, presenting apps that tackle problems in their communities. The Palestinian teens compete in the senior division against teams from Egypt, the United States, Mexico, India and Spain, for scholarships of up to $15,000.The competition, now in its ninth year, is run by Iridescent, a global nonprofit offering opportunities to young people, especially girls, through technology. The group said 60 percent of the U.S. participants enroll in additional computer science courses after the competition, with 30 percent majoring in that field in college, well above the national rate among female U.S. college students. Two-thirds of international participants show an interest in technology-related courses, the group said.Palestinian Education Minister Sabri Saidam counts on technology—along with a new emphasis on vocational training—to overhaul Palestinian schools, where many students still learn by rote in crowded classrooms. © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Alleged fraudsters are presented before media at a police station in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Indian police said Thursday that they have arrested nearly two dozen people on suspicion of defrauding people around the world by sending fake pop-up messages warning them that their computers were infected with a virus and offering to rectify the problem at a price. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) Police officer Ajay Pal Sharma said those arrested Tuesday and Wednesday posed as representatives of Microsoft and other companies and used their logos.The arrests were made after input from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Interpol, Sharma said. Microsoft was the complainant in the case.He said those arrested have been running the scam out of call centers in the Indian capital and the neighboring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh for months.The pop-up messages prompted victims in the United States, Britain, Australia and other countries to call a phone number shown on their computer screens, he said. They would then be scammed out of money in exchange for supposedly fixing the problem.Those arrested were mostly people in their 20s and early 30s who quit their jobs in call centers. Police recovered hard drives, servers, laptops, cellphones and computers from them, Sharma said.In 2016, Mumbai police arrested 70 people for allegedly cheating thousands of Americans. They would call their victims from call centers in Mumbai and tell them that they owed unpaid taxes and should buy prepaid cash cards to settle the debts or face jail. Indian policemen carry seized computer hardware and other items after a press conference at a police station in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Indian police said Thursday that they have arrested nearly two dozen people on suspicion of defrauding people around the world by sending fake pop-up messages warning them that their computers were infected with a virus and offering to rectify the problem at a price. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) Indian policemen escort alleged fraudsters to be presented before media in at a police station in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Indian police said Thursday that they have arrested nearly two dozen people on suspicion of defrauding people around the world by sending fake pop-up messages warning them that their computers were infected with a virus and offering to rectify the problem at a price. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) Indian police said Thursday they have arrested nearly two dozen people on suspicion of defrauding people around the world by sending fake pop-up messages warning them that their computers were infected with a virus and offering to fix the problem at a price. Indian policemen escort alleged fraudsters to be presented before media in at a police station in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Indian police said Thursday that they have arrested nearly two dozen people on suspicion of defrauding people around the world by sending fake pop-up messages warning them that their computers were infected with a virus and offering to rectify the problem at a price. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri) © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Citation: Indian police break up international computer virus scam (2018, November 29) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-indian-police-international-virus-scam.html Explore further Man arrested in UK over alleged computer hacking This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Indian policemen carry seized computer hardware and other items after a press conference at a police station in Noida, a suburb of New Delhi, India, Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018. Indian police said Thursday that they have arrested nearly two dozen people on suspicion of defrauding people around the world by sending fake pop-up messages warning them that their computers were infected with a virus and offering to rectify the problem at a price. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)
But if we are interested in treating sentient beings right, we may not have to wait until the arrival of an AGI. One of Singer’s points is that many sentient beings fall far short of human intelligence. By that argument, AI doesn’t have to be as intelligent as a human for it to be sentient.The problem is there is no straightforward test for sentience. Sending a human crewed mission to Mars is very challenging, but at least we’ll know when we’ve done it.Making a machine with feelings is challenging in a more philosophically perplexing way. Because we lack clear criteria for machine sentience, we can’t be sure when we’ve done it.Look to science fictionThe ambiguity of machine sentience is a feature of several science fiction presentations of AI.For example, Niska is a humanoid robot, a synth, serving as a sex worker in the TV series Humans. We are told that, unlike most synths, she is sentient.When Niska is questioned about why she killed a client she explains: “He wanted to be rough.”The human lawyer Laura Hawkins responds: “But, is that wrong if he didn’t think you could feel? … Isn’t it better he exercises his fantasies with you in a brothel rather than take them out on someone who can actually feel?”From a human perspective, one could think sexual assault directed against a non-sentient machine is a victimless crime. But what about a sex robot that has acquired sentience? Niska goes on to explain that she was scared by the client’s behaviour towards her. “And I’m sorry I can’t cry or … bleed or wring my hands so you know that. But I’m telling you, I was.”Humans is not the only science fiction story to warn of revenge attacks from machines designed to be exploited by humans for pleasure and pain.In the TV remake of Westworld, humans enter a theme park and kill android hosts with the abandon of Xbox massacres, confident their victims have no hard feelings because they can’t have any feelings. But here again, some hosts have secretly acquired sentience and get payback on their human tormentors.We’re only humanIs it only science fiction? Are sentient machines a long way off? Perhaps. Perhaps not.But bad habits can take a while to unlearn. We – or rather animals – are still suffering the philosophical hangover of the 17th century French thinker Rene Descartes’ terrible idea that animals are mindless automata – lacking in sentience.If we are going to make machines with human psychological capacities, we should prepare for the possibility that they may become sentient. How then will they react to our behaviour towards them?Perhaps our behaviour towards non-sentient AI today should be driven by how we would expect people to behave towards any future sentient AI that can feel, that can suffer. How we would expect that future sentient machine to react towards us?This may be the big difference between machines and the animals that Singer defends. Animals cannot take revenge. But sentient machines just might. Artificial intelligence (AI) systems are becoming more like us. You can ask Google Home to switch off your bedroom lights, much as you might ask your human partner. We might not like the way future AI responds to us. Credit: Shutterstock/Mykola Holyutyak Explore further This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. Provided by The Conversation Citation: Careful how you treat today’s AI: It might take revenge in the future (2019, March 13) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-03-today-ai-revenge-future.html When you text inquiries to Amazon online, it’s sometimes unclear whether you’re being answered by a human or the company’s chatbot technology.There’s clearly a market for machines with human psychological abilities. But we should spare a thought for what we might inadvertently create.What if we make AI so good at being human that our treatment of it can cause it to suffer? It might feel entitled to take revenge on us. Machines that ‘feel’With human psychological abilities may come sentience. Philosophers understand sentience as the capacity to suffer and to feel pleasure.And sentient beings can be harmed. It’s an issue raised by the Australian philosopher Peter Singer in his 1975 book Animal Liberation, which asked how we should treat non-human animals. He wrote: “If a being suffers, there can be no moral justification for refusing to take that suffering into consideration. No matter what the nature of the being, the principle of equality requires that its suffering be counted equally with the like suffering – insofar as rough comparisons can be made – of any other being.”Singer has devoted a career to speaking up for animals, which are sentient beings incapable of speaking up for themselves.Speaking up for AIResearchers in AI are seeking to make an AGI or artificial general intelligence – a machine capable of any intellectual task performed by a human being. AI can already learn, but AGI will be able to perform tasks beyond that for which it is programmed.The experts disagree on how far off an AGI is. The US tech inventor Ray Kurzweil expects an AGI soon, maybe 2029. Others think we might have to wait for a century. In an Australian first, the ACT may legally recognise animals’ feelings This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.