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Are microcredentials the future of talent development?

Are microcredentials the future of talent development?

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Yujin Kim/HR Dive

The business of online learning is booming. Because of the conditions brought on by the pandemic, employers looking to prepare workforces for uncertain times are delivering all or most training online for the foreseeable future.

“We were already hitting a pace of change and skill development that was pretty rapid,” Shelley Osborne, VP of Learning at Udemy said. “The pandemic has just put that into hyperdrive; […] traditional learning isn’t built for the world that we live in anymore, and the pandemic really, really ushered that forward, at a speed that we couldn’t have predicted.”

Many large names entered the online learning space during the past few years. Google, LinkedIn (Microsoft) and Salesforce, for example, have all made significant investments in coursework, including certificate programs aimed at indicating proficiency. Major retail and food service employers such as Wal-Mart and Subway have started offering online education as a worker benefit, too.

For years, companies like Udemy, Khan Academy and Lynda.com operated under the premise that quality training and skill development could be administered via the web. The pandemic has made these offerings more relevant than ever, and accelerated a shift that was already well under way.

“I think our world is evolving so rapidly,” Tara Ataya, VP of People at Hootsuite, said, “and this boils down some of the specifics around what areas companies are focused on in terms of talent.”

Winds of change

Beyond the pandemic, Ataya, Osborne and peers have said that a number of other trends were also incrementally speeding up adoption of online learning. For example, many experts and business leaders have observed a gap between the skills those entering the labor force offer and the skills employers need.

“The delta between the philosophy and ideas that are taught in higher education and the reality of the digital skills gap [forces employers] to catch up when they bring people in that have that gap. Ultimately, the more we can do up front to train people, I think, the better,” Ataya said.

Comments like Ataya’s and corresponding research suggest that colleges and universities have been sending graduates into the workforce inadequately prepared for workplace success. Moreover, candidates seeking the qualifications for high-paying jobs often need to attend an elite university or at least a computer science program, a barrier that has perhaps contributed to the lack of diversity in Silicon Valley, and the tech industry writ large some say.

Stakeholders have predicted that online offerings could disrupt or even replace higher education; however, the companies creating online learning say they’re more focused on teaching employees.

“It’s not about competing [with higher education], I think it’s about partnering,” Kris Lande, SVP Trailhead Marketing at Salesforce said. Trailhead is the software company’s free online learning platform. “I do see more integration happening where high tech companies and higher ed can work together to really bring in timely, relevant skills.”

Lande expressed a sentiment shared by her peers, who ultimately see their services as a way to diversify workplaces and help employers maintain a culture of continuous improvement.

“It creates this symbiotic relationship where you’re designing a program to fill tomorrow’s needs,” Ataya said, “and also allowing for employees to stretch and grow and create higher engagement levels.”

Improving access for better business outcomes

Across conversations with leaders at companies like Udemy, ExecOnline and others, one of the main themes that emerged was the idea of “meeting people where they are,” or, that people learn in different ways and have the appetite and capacity for pursuing learning at different times in their life. This speaks to employees’ desire for personalized training as well as employers’ interest in better-trained workers.

“I think [recruiters and talent managers] should focus on candidates building skills and knowledge rather than attending an institution […] it just allows for more diversity and inclusion,” Ataya said. “It also removes cost barriers for people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, […] and removes a lot of the other barriers that come with higher education.”

Even beyond higher education, access to leadership training and other development opportunities within companies may be walled off for most employees.

“I really believe that we need to democratize learning,” Osborne said. “I’ve seen a ton of forward-thinking HR and L&D leaders come along that journey as well, where they want to open access to learning and education within their organizations.”

When he founded ExecOnline in 2011, after five years as CEO of Frontier Strategy Group, Stephen Bailey said he noticed employers having challenges developing leaders at scale and providing equal access to learning.

“What you had was essentially development for the few that were senior leaders in the organization,” Bailey said, “and then there was a small cross section, call it 1-2% of middle management, that were treated as high potentials and had access to the same types of opportunities.”

Bailey and Ataya said they believe this restricted access is as bad for employers as it is for the people blocked from learning opportunities.

“It’s bad, obviously, for individuals’ careers; it’s also bad for companies,” Bailey explained. “Because they don’t really have the succession pipelines over time that they need, particularly as businesses are changing and pivoting so rapidly.”

Broader access to learning content can bolster internal talent pipelines. “It’s allowing for a lot more internal mobility of your employees,” Ataya said. “So people can be multi-faceted and cross functional. It breaks down silos in organizations […] and I think it’s going to change the way that we look at candidates and recruitment and upskilling of our talent.”

For those in the business of training, improving access can also be a motivator, as is the case for Jolie Miller, head of business content strategy for LinkedIn Learning. Miller worked at Cengage Learning before becoming one of the first employees of Lynda.com, which was eventually purchased by LinkedIn.

“We’ve seen a really interesting expansion in the business with LinkedIn Learning,” Miller said, “because we’re using real time data insights from the LinkedIn network to understand what skills are important today for employers and employees, what jobs are available, and how we can supplement and enrich that conversation with learning that helps people be successful and getting those jobs.”

Digital learning communities

One valuable aspect many believe is lost when training goes online is the element of group work or opportunities to discuss new topics with peers. Online providers are looking to overcome this obstacle through digital forums where learners can replicate some of that interaction.

Lande said Trailhead has had an active community for some time. “This community is just like no other,” Lande said. “They are helping each other learn. They’re helping each other network. They’re mentoring each other, and they’re helping each other find new opportunities in the Salesforce ecosystem.”

At LinkedIn, Miller said the pandemic has increased activity in its “learning groups” by 1100%, in part because it “is giving people that connection piece that they’re craving.”

Learning groups, whether online or informal among peers, can also be good for discussion of ideas beyond the context of training content. Miller and her team took an unconscious bias course and took time to see how it might apply to their organization.

“One of the great learning moments we had this past month was reflecting on the course on unconscious bias and talking about all the different forms of bias that are out there and sharing examples of when we might have seen bias in action, and how we might look at that bias a little bit differently with the increased learning and the increased awareness,” Miller said.

Another benefit of online technical training is the opportunity to try out new concepts. This type of learning helps ensure efficacy. “We’re all about applied experiential learning,” Bailey said. “That’s what has generated the results that we’ve had in the market. And that’s really hard to do well, and it’s really hard to do well at scale.”

‘Learning is work and work is learning’

One barrier to development for employees is carving out time on a regular basis amid everyday work and, in the case of today’s workers, an ongoing public health crisis.

“There’s been historically a separation between this idea of learning and work,” Osborne said. “And they do need to be melded together; learning is work and work is learning.”

This attitude speaks to the new paradigm for learning: a continuous, life-long act of improvement for the betterment of people and organizations. The rate of change for the skills desired by employers is too fast to rely on an education that may be several years old, the experts said. “Learning is not just a one-time thing that you do in school or in college,” Lande said. “But it is part of your career, and as part of your journey.”

To ensure positive learning outcomes, it’s not just enough to encourage employees to do it, they said. Companies need to create the space and develop a culture that is accommodating of learning activity: “I think that it’s important to note that everybody owns a culture of learning,” Osborne said. “We all have that responsibility to build it. So whether or not it’s an HR leader, whether or not it’s an L&D leader or a business leader within the organization, it really is incumbent upon all of us if we want to create these thriving organizations that can can sustain this kind of change, and really thrive in these moments where innovation is needed.”

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.hrdive.com/news/are-microcredentials-the-future-of-talent-development/586923/

Author: Aman Kidwai

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Japan’s NEC inks $2.2B deal for Swiss fintech company Avaloq

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Japanese tech giant NEC has agreed to acquire Swiss banking software provider Avaloq for 2.05 billion Swiss francs (around $2.2 billion). The deal marks an exit for Warburg Pincus, which had reportedly been looking to sell its stake in the business since as early as last November. NEC is understood to have beat rival bids from the likes of Apax Partners, Motive Partners and Nordic Capital. Warburg Pincus acquired a 35% stake in Avaloq in 2017, which it later increased to 45%.

Founded in 1985, Avaloq provides cloud computing to banks and wealth managers by offering business processes as a service and SaaS products. The deal, which is set to be completed in April, will see NEC jump on a growing trend of digitalization in the banking sector, as it continues a years-long restructuring aimed at both shedding unprofitable operations and moving into new business areas. Its last European deal was completed in February 2019, when it acquired Danish software company KMD for $1.2 billion.

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://pitchbook.com/news/articles/nec-to-buy-swiss-fintech-avaloq-for-22-billion

Author: Andrew Woodman

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Social Dignity Webcast Episode 2 – Best Practices in Operating a Japan Business

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 2 – Best Practices in Operating a Japan Business

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No one knows for sure when this pandemic will end, but what is certain is that love, life and business will go on. To adapt to the new normal, we need collective success, wisdom and inspiration at a massive scale.

Your network is your net worth. Keeping this principle in mind, we are building a new channel dedicated to captains, leaders, and champions of industry. Together we will share best practices with which “born global” companies can build their commercial, legal, compliance and human capital in Japan. The objective is to bring these practices together to share wisdom, guidance, ideas and stories of inspiration. Those who adapt and embrace the “new normal” will forge ahead; while those who resist will be left behind.

Core Audience

  • Local and Regional Business Leaders.
  • Finance, Operations, Compliance and Product Heads.
  • Cross-Border Advisors

Key Concepts

  • How are WFH policies impacting the analog and slower moving components of operating in Japan?
  • In a consensus driven environment, how are decisions being made?
  • How is the general work culture in Japan evolving from “whoever is working in the office the longest to distributed merits and norms?

Key Takeaways

  • Best practices and insight to optimize resources and operational excellence in Japan.
  • Open the kimono about the cultural nuance in the Japanese market.
  • Not only can your business survive, but it can thrive in Japan!

What To Expect:

  • An entertaining backdrop for business tips, tricks and potential blunders to avoid.
  • Education on how to best establish, implement and scale the right business model for the Japan market.
  • Expert insight to stay ahead of the curve.

What’s Different:

  • Fun trivia format.
  • At the end of each round, the audience will decide who’s insights are most relevant, thoughtful, and charismatic.
  • We will donate $1,000 to the COVID-19 foundation of the trivia champions choice!

Click to register now!

Additional Links:

  1. Episode 1 Best Practices in Growing a Japan Business (Recording)

Meet the Experts:

Eugene Saburi, CoFounder

Eugene is Co-Founder of GeoFusion, an advisory firm company helping tech start-ups expand into Japan and China. As a former County Manager of Adobe Systems Japan, Eugene’s business operations background provides a hands on approach to helping start-ups survive and thrive in Japan. He is focused on four pillars, products technology, go to market, legal regulatory, people and operations. Eugene currently lives in Seattle Washington.

Carl Hoffman – Founder & CEO at Basis Technology

Lifetime entrepreneur with focus on text analytics, cyber forensics, and cross-border ventures. Co-founder of Basis Technology and investor in Diffeo, Lucidworks, Luminoso, Polyswarm, Recorded Future, and Tamr. Created and deployed key enabling technology to Amazon and Google for their Japan market launches, and to Bing and Yahoo for their Asian expansion. Non-profit experience as business development director of the Free Software Foundation; director of the Unicode Consortium; and director of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) Foundation. Spent formative years at MIT as a student, teaching assistant, and research assistant at the AI Lab and Project MAC.

Aiko Shimizu – SVP of Global Affairs at EVA

Aiko Shimizu is the Senior Vice President of Global Affairs and Strategic Partnerships at EVA, the developer of the world’s largest drone charging station founded by former Tesla executives. Prior to EVA, Ms. Shimizu worked on various international policy and regulatory issues in the private and public sectors across the U.S., Japan and Germany, including at Daimler, Bloomberg and the United Nations. Ms. Shimizu received her graduate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA). She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Studies from the University of Chicago.

Scott Smoler – CEO at weConnect

Based in Japan for over 10 years, Scott has helped more than 900 major multinational companies expand into Asia with incorporation, accounting, tax, and payroll services. Scott is currently the CEO of weConnect, a leading provider of incorporation, accounting, tax, and payroll services to companies expanding into Asia. He is a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, which is the world’s highest certificate in process design and management. His expertise has helped multinational companies streamline their back-office by applying advanced process improvement techniques and leveraging the latest technologies.

Click to register to the webinar now!

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Japan’s Economy Won’t Return to Pre-Covid Levels, Says Bloomberg Economics Report

Japan’s Economy Won’t Return to Pre-Covid Levels, Says Bloomberg Economics Report

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Japan’s economy won’t return to its pre-pandemic size without structural reforms needed to boost productivity and counter the impact of a shrinking population, according to Bloomberg Economics.

The Covid crisis is extending the delay in implementing reforms and that means the economy’s slow recovery from its record contraction is likely to peak in 2028 with real gross domestic product still below its 2019 level, according to Bloomberg economist Yuki Masujima. The growth trend will then switch to a steady decline with the economy ending up 16% smaller than it was in 2019 by 2050.

Peak GDP – The Path to 2050 Is 16% Downhill

“These dismal projections underline the importance of finding new ways to squeeze more output out of resources at hand,” Masujima said in a note. “For this reason, one of the biggest risks to long term growth is a failure to push through structural reforms.”

The report comes with Japan’s ruling party in a leadership contest to decide who will take over from outgoing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe after nearly eight years of his growth strategy.

Abenomics had aimed to push nominal GDP up to 600 trillion yen ($5.65 trillion) through its so-called three arrows: monetary easing, fiscal stimulus and regulatory reforms.

Yoshihide Suga, the leading candidate to succeed Abe, has said he will keep up and try to advance Abenomics and has signaled his interest in shaking up some industries and the bureaucracy. Still, the immediate challenge of Abe’s replacement will be to contain the spread of infections while reviving economy activity.

Japan’s Continuity Candidate Suga Could Also Dial In Reform

The pandemic is likely to further delay several critical reforms from labor market changes to fiscal consolidation, Masujima says.

Reducing trade barriers, attracting more foreign direct investment and increasing labor market flexibility are among the reforms Japan needs, according to Masujima. He also cites the need to develop intellectual property and open up more to immigration.

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://finance.yahoo.com/news/japan-economy-won-t-return-080000517.html

Author: Yoshiaki Nohara

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Nvidia is acquiring Arm for $40 billion

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Nvidia said Sunday it is acquiring chipmaker Arm from SoftBank for $40 billion. Arm will operate as a division of Nvidia and will remain headquartered in the UK, and, will “continue to operate its open-licensing model, while maintaining its global customer neutrality,” the company said. But the deal is still likely to face intense regulatory scrutiny.

SoftBank bought Arm in 2016 for $31 billion. The British company’s intellectual property helps power mobile device processors for companies including Apple, Samsung, and Qualcomm. Arm has likely only increased in value since the SoftBank acquisition, with Microsoft making an Arm-based Surface and a version of Windows for Arm, and Apple planning to switch future Macs to Arm-based chips.

Nvidia is the leading maker of GPUs, which Arm also designs, but other than its Tegra line of mobile chipsets used in devices like the Nintendo Switch, Nvidia doesn’t do much in the way of CPU design or mobile hardware.

Speaking to Forbes, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang said that his first priority after the acquisition would be to “bring Nvidia technology through Arm’s vast network.” However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that Arm will change its current licensing model. Bloomberg reports that “Huang said Nvidia is spending a lot of money for the acquisition and has no incentive to do anything that would cause clients to walk away.”

Perhaps to underline that it intends to keep Arm a neutral provider of technology in the short term, the deal stresses that Arm will continue to be headquartered in Cambridge, UK and Nvidia says it will invest in building a new AI research center there. Nvidia is positioning the acquisition as setting up the next stage of AI computing. Both Nvidia and Arm see opportunities for growth in enabling AI software that can run on Arm’s chips from those on tiny smartphones to huge servers.

Nvidia once had big ambitions to make CPUs for phones but had little success. This acquisition could obviously change that, but it appears that at least initially the focus will be on data centers. “What will change is the rate of our roadmap. We know for sure that data centers and clouds are clamoring for the Arm microprocessor, the Arm CPU,” Huang tells Forbes. “Energy efficiency directly translates to computing capacity, computing throughput, and the cost of provisioning service.”

The news underscores just how successful Nvidia has been in the past five years, focusing on areas like GPUs, self-driving cars, and AI.

The acquisition will of course face regulatory scrutiny in an environment that’s less friendly to mergers than at any time in recent memory. However, the fact that Nvidia and Arm don’t directly compete could be helpful in navigating that process.

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.theverge.com/2020/9/13/21435507/nvidia-acquiring-arm-40-billion-chips-ai-deal

Author: Kim Lyons

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Managers Of $40 Trillion Make Plans To Decarbonize The World

Managers Of $40 Trillion Make Plans To Decarbonize The World

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European New Exchange Technology in Amsterdam is
the largest stock exchange in Europe, one of the cogs in a global financial system needing to be harnessed to address global issues like climate change.

The Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change (IIGCC) is a European group of global pension funds and investment managers, totaling over 1,200 members in 16 countries, who control more than $40 trillion in assets (€33 trillion). They have drawn up a plan to cut carbon in their portfolios to net-zero and hope other investors will join them.

The group’s mission is to mobilize capital for a global low-carbon transition and to ensure resiliency of investments and markets in the face of the changes, including the changing climate itself. They provide asset managers with a set of recommended actions, policies, collaborations, measures and methods to help them meet the net-zero goal by 2050 in an effort to address climate change. Their framework was developed with more than 70 funds worldwide.

The European Union aims to be climate-neutral by 2050 – an economy with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. This objective is at the heart of the European Green Deal and in line with the EU’s commitment to global climate action under the Paris Agreement.

Following the Paris Climate Agreement, asset managers have been under increasing pressure to reduce their carbon footprint as their investors focus on sustainability and on the negative effects of climate change. But a lack of consensus on the best path forward has slowed any real action to a crawl.

Enter IIGCC.

“Countries, cities and companies around the globe are committing to achieve the goal of net-zero emissions and investors need to show similar leadership,” Stephanie Pfeifer, IIGCC’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

IIGCC’s framework for accomplishing this ambitious agenda is pretty intricate and all inclusive, including, among a lot of other things –

  1. Engaging on finance and climate policy at the global, EU and national levels across Europe.
  2. Providing intelligence and analysis on the latest policy developments of relevance for members.
  3. Developing policy positions to ensure a joined-up investor response on relevant issues.
  4. Helping inform the policy dialogue and perspective of key stakeholders, to ensure investor policy positions are well communicated, understood and reflected in final decisions and legislation.
  5. Supporting members in their own engagement with policymakers.
  6. Peer-to-peer collaboration and learning through workshops, roundtables and guidance documents.
  7. Collaborating with like-minded groups and working closely with global and European bodies, such as the UNFCCC, European Commission, OECD, Mission 2020 and fellow members of the
  8. Global Investor Coalition on Climate Change, among others.

But this is a very big lift. Decarbonizing the global economy is a massive endeavor. How do we provide sufficient and reliable power for 10 billion people to survive in a warming world, without trashing the planet even more?

Before 2020, total fossil fuel use had been increasing as the world continues to develop. From 2007 to 2020, annual global electricity use alone went from about 15 trillion kWhs to over 24 trillion kWhs. And that will continue to increase until about 2040, to probably over 35 trillion kWhs/year.

According to the International Energy Administration, global coal demand reached an all-time high in 2018 and is estimated to remain flat until the mid-twenties, despite temporary drops from local policy decisions or because of the pandemic.

Similarly, oil and natural gas have been increasing worldwide although a glut in gas storage, the pandemic and mild temperatures have led to a slight global drop in demand this year.

So reversing this trend will take as much effort and money as it took to get here.

The only way to decarbonize is with a mix of all non-fossil technologies including nuclear, hydro and renewables. We’ve been talking about this for decades but it will take more effort than one thinks.

Using oil an example, we need to replace internal combustion engines with mostly electric vehicles charged with non-fossil fuel-generated electricity.

Other transportation fuels like biofuels and hydrogen, can help but none can ramp up their infrastructure quickly enough to make a real dent in oil use, which averages over 90 million barrels/day, 70% of which goes towards transportation. The equivalent in electricity to charge an all-electric vehicle fleet is about 28 billion kWhs/day, the output of almost 2,000,000 MW of new installed generation. This is another 10 trillion kWhs/year, bringing our total future energy needs worldwide to about 45 trillion kWhs/year.

At a world average price of 14¢/kWh, that represents about $6 trillion/year.

But we spend over $5 trillion globally on fossil fuel subsidies and these would be freed up for this task of decarbonization if we forgo fossil fuel. So cost doesn’t have to be the big issue we think it is.

Plus, if a society uses coal for over 30% of its energy needs, their health care costs increase about 10%. Global spending on health care totals about $8 trillion, so replacing coal could save up to $800 billion/year. That, plus ending the subsidies, could well pay for most of this huge change.

But it will take some serious financial management to accomplish. And who better than investment managers to do that.

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2020/09/07/managers-of-40-trillion-make-plans-to-decarbonize-the-world/#759d4f895471

Author: James Conca

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Google unveils research institute to explore human-AI interaction

Google unveils research institute to explore human-AI interaction

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Image: Getty Images

SAN FRANCISCO: Google has announced a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) institute research that will support work on interaction between people and AI like speech, written language, visuals and gestures and how to make these interactions more effective.

The National AI Research Institute for Human-AI Interaction and Collaboration has been formed in partnership with the US National Science Foundation (NSF).

Google will provide $5 million in funding to support the institute.

“We will also offer AI expertise, research collaborations, and Cloud support for Institute researchers and educators as they advance knowledge and progress in the field of AI,” the tech giant said in a statement on Wednesday.

The research, tools and techniques from the institute will be developed with human-centered principles in mind: social benefit, inclusive design, safety and robustness, privacy, and high standards of scientific excellence, consistent with the Google AI Principles.

Google said that research projects will engage a diverse set of experts, educate the next generation and promote workforce development, and broaden participation from underrepresented groups and institutions across the country.

All research outcomes will be published to advance knowledge and progress in the field.

Google has been working in this area over the last several years.

Studies have shown that humans and AI systems operating together can make smarter decisions than either acting alone.

“In the past few years we’ve seen the increasing use of AI to support people and their decision making in sectors like medicine, education, transportation and agriculture,” Google said.

“People and AI systems shape each other, and in order to realize the full potential of AI for social benefit, positive and productive human-AI interaction and collaboration is critical”.

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/education/news/google-unveils-research-institute-to-explore-human-ai-interaction/articleshow/77903424.cms

Author: IANS

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How 7 Lines of Code Turned Into a $36 Billion Empire

How 7 Lines of Code Turned Into a $36 Billion Empire

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Patrick Collison at TechCrunch Disrupt 2013. Flickr image

On June 24 last year, Patrick Collison, the co-founder of Stripe, posted a Tweet saying

Hit our engagement metrics this weekend!

The Tweet was accompanied by an engagement ring — which explained the kind of metrics Patrick was talking about.
Suhail Doshi, the founder of Mixpanel, was quick with a response:

That’s one way to increase user retention.

Yeah, it’s safe to say these guys have a great sense of humor. Which isn’t surprising, considering their seemingly absurd solution to online payments.

Instead of chasing 1000-hour programming contracts to build clunky payments solutions for each individual client, the Collison brothers built 7 lines of code that developers could simply plug into their websites.

The result is Stripe — a company that has more cash than it knows what to do with.

Here are the two main reasons why this worked so well.

1. They empowered developers.

When Stripe was launched in 2010, it was essentially a community of developers.

“Stripe caught on because it didn’t sell to companies,” said Dmytro Okunyev, who is the founder of Chanty. “It sold to developers. That is, Stripe offered an alternative to PayPal and Authorize that was so much easier to implement that developers around the world were naturally inclined to use it.”

See, back in 2010, setting up a payments system for your business was an extremely tedious process. Most integrations at the time took weeks and months to set up. It was an exhaustive process, involving several departments — from legal to accounting.

In most companies, financial integrations were a top-down decision that came from managers who knew little about the technical nightmare of the integration process. They would set arbitrary goals and deadlines, and pass the responsibility onto developers who had to outdo themselves in order to meet expectations.

Stripe changed all that by giving developers a quick and reliable way to set up payments. As a result, they built an army of champions for their product, effectively bypassing the “decision makers,” most of whom would have never believed that 7 lines of code can replace custom integrations that took up to 6 months to build.

2. They made payments ridiculously simple.

Banks. Credit card companies. Regulators. Yes, the payments industry has a lot of police officers. And you need to get approval from all of them before the dollars falling into your bank account are considered legal.

“For years, the explosive growth of e-commerce has outpaced the underlying technology; companies wanting to set up shop have had to go to a bank, a payment processor, and “gateways” that handle connections between the two. This takes weeks, lots of people, and fee after fee.” — Ashlee Vance, Bloomberg Businessweek

Stripe changed all that. Collison brothers spent 2 years testing their platform and building relationships with credit card companies, banks and regulatory institutions. John and Patrick spent countless hours presenting their product to authorities and building enough trust to partner with them. As a result, users only have to upload a couple of documents to set up their fully operational Stripe account.

Even Mike Moritz, one of Paypal’s first investors, agrees that setting up payments for businesses was way too complicated before Stripe:

“The observation that accepting payments was still too difficult rang very true,” Moritz said.

Another reason why Stripe blew up is because it was so universal. Platforms like Shopify and Lyft rely on payment simplicity — each additional step in account verification can mean millions of churned users. Stripe’s 7 lines of core code worked just as well in any environment, enabling billions of emerging platform users with same-week verification.

3. Stripe = Genius + Humility

There’s no going around the fact that the Collison brothers are aggressively smart. Patrick quit high school a year early to join MIT at the age of 16, only to drop out a year later to raise cash for his first startup, Shuppa. He soon sold the startup to Auctomatic for $5 million.

Tim Ferriss, who interviewed Patrick, says that the entrepreneur is probably the most aggressive reader he’d ever met — and that means a lot coming from a guy who’s interviewed hundreds of top performers. Derek Anderson, the founder of Startup Grind, has publicly called Collison a genius.

However, genius alone didn’t get Patrick to where he is today. The Collisons were born in a small Irish town, and their humble, problem-solving, product-first approach is what turned them into a massive success.

“They have the advantage of coming to California without being tainted and polluted by what’s in the water supply and air of Silicon Valley,” says Moritz, a partner at Sequoia Capital and a Stripe board member. “They’re more humble and well-rounded.”

Apparently, then, the good guys do win from time to time.

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Featured Article: 

Social Dignity Webcast Episode 1: Best Practices In Growing A Japan Business

Understanding the Japanese interview process 

Preparing For Your Job Interview and Tips Before Accepting An Offer

Source: https://entrepreneurshandbook.co/two-reasons-why-these-7-lines-of-code-turned-into-a-36-billion-empire-6d2b2d1a8da2

Author: Alan Trapulionis

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Government retains assessment of economy ‘picking up’ in August report

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The country’s economy showed signs of “picking up,” the government said Thursday, maintaining its assessment for a second consecutive month.

“The Japanese economy is still in a severe situation due to the novel coronavirus, but it is showing movements of picking up recently,” the Cabinet Office said in its monthly report for August.

After assessing that the country’s economy was “getting worse rapidly in an extremely severe situation” in April, with the government declaring a state of emergency over the pandemic, its evaluation was upgraded in June and July as the country slowly reopened following the lifting of the emergency in May.

Of the 11 major components of the assessment, the government in Thursday’s report upgraded its evaluations of exports and industrial production, which were both revised up for the second straight month.

A government official told reporters the overall assessment was unchanged despite the upgrades as an export recovery remained uncertain and there was some weakness in employment conditions.

“Working hours continue to be cut … and the number of people employed is diminished. Given that such weakness remains, we have maintained the assessment,” the official said.

The monthly report predicted that movements toward recovery would continue to be seen in the short term with the improvement of overseas economies, while Japan’s socioeconomic activities would resume.

In August, the assessment of private consumption was maintained as “picking up recently,” although the report showed spending had not increased during the summer vacation period as it did in the past three years.

The official said many people refrained from traveling during the summer vacation period amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections, adding they may spend the money they did not use during the holiday in September instead.

The central government launched its Go To Travel campaign July 22 to promote domestic tourism by partly covering the cost of trips. While it excluded travel to and from Tokyo in response to a spike in infections in the capital, the government is expected to consider whether to include such trips in the campaign next month.

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Source: https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/08/27/business/economy-business/government-retains-assessment-economy-picking-up-august-report/

Author: Kyodo News Staff

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Fujitsu to mitigate COVID-19 risk with AI in joint field trial in Kawasaki

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The International Research Institute of Disaster Science at Tohoku University, Earthquake Research Institute at the University of Tokyo, the city of Kawasaki and Fujitsu Limited will conduct a joint field trial of AI-based technologies to optimize disaster evacuation center management in Kawasaki City on Aug 31.

This project marks the latest milestone for the four parties, which have been promoting their Joint Project Aiming for Tsunami Disaster Risk Reduction Using ICT in the Kawasaki Coastal Area since November 2017.

The field trial will rely on crowd flow simulation technology and AI image analysis to identify measures to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection for evacuees by helping decision-makers reduce exposure to the “three Cs”: closed spaces, crowded places, and conversations in close-proximity.

Ahead of the trial, the four parties will use crowd flow simulation technology developed in advance to visualize infection risk, which varies depending on the volume and proximity of people entering the evacuation center. The simulation assumes that a certain number of evacuees are infected with COVID-19, offering disaster management decision-makers insights into how to alter their evacuation center management plans accordingly.

On the day of the trial, Fujitsu’s AI image analysis solution will be deployed on-site to automatically collect information including the number of inbound evacuees and their attributes from video data captured by cameras installed near the evacuation center entry points, delivering real-time information on the level of crowding at the evacuation centers. This data will be transmitted to the City of Kawasaki Disaster Response Headquarters, enabling early and appropriate responses to reduce infection risk from the “three Cs.”

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Source: https://japantoday.com/category/tech/fujitsu-to-mitigate-covid-19-risk-with-ai-in-joint-field-trial-in-kawasaki

Author: Fujitsu

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