How Ai Translation Could Unseat English As The Lingua Franca Of The Business World

from Fast Company Anyone who has traveled to a country where the language spoken is not their native one knows that not conversing fluently (or at all) can turn even a VIP into a second-class citizen. Einstein himself would have struggled to express his intelligence in, say, Farsi. In one of my favorite episodes of Modern Family, Sofia Vergara’s character Gloria says in frustration, “You don’t know how smart I am in Spanish!” Even fluent speakers can face bias if they have an accent because of certain underlying perceptions that your language skills are correlated with your intelligence. No one […]

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Coexisting with the Coronavirus

from The New Yorker In the spring of 1846, a Dutch physician named Peter Ludwig Panum arrived on the Faroe Islands, a volcanic chain about two hundred miles northwest of Scotland. He found the Faroes to be a harsh and unforgiving place. The islands’ eight thousand inhabitants, who were Danish subjects at that time, spent their days outdoors, buffeted by sea winds, fishing and tending sheep. The conditions, Panum wrote, were unlikely “to prolong the lives of the inhabitants.” And yet, despite the scarcity of medical care and a diet of wind-dried, sometimes rancid meat, the average Faroese life span […]

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The Carbon Removal Industry Needs To Grow To Be The Size Of The Oil And Gas Industry

from Fast Company Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have spewed an extra 2.4 trillion tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, pushing the average global temperature up more than 1.2 degrees Celsius. The world adds another 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere each year. We’re already seeing what that means, from catastrophic flooding to heat waves that scientists thought were statistically impossible. As emissions shrink, the world will also need a way to pull the CO2 we’ve already emitted out of the air, both to cover the continued emissions of industries that are hard to decarbonize and […]

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Building Infrastructure To Stop Sea Level Rise Can Have An Unfortunate Consequence

from Fast Company As the world heats up and sea levels rise, communities in the U.S. could spend more than $400 billion on seawalls to try to hold the ocean back over the next couple of decades. But there’s a catch: Building a seawall in one area can often mean that flooding gets even worse in another neighborhood or city nearby. “Basically, the water has to flow somewhere,” says Anne Guerry, chief strategy officer and lead scientist at Stanford University’s Natural Capital Project. Guerry is also coauthor of a new paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of […]

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Is Our Machine Learning? Ars Takes A Dip Into Artificial Intelligence

from ars technica Every day, some little piece of logic constructed by very specific bits of artificial intelligence technology makes decisions that affect how you experience the world. It could be the ads that get served up to you on social media or shopping sites, or the facial recognition that unlocks your phone, or the directions you take to get to wherever you’re going. These discreet, unseen decisions are being made largely by algorithms created by machine learning (ML), a segment of artificial intelligence technology that is trained to identify correlation between sets of data and their outcomes. We’ve been […]

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Leadership Is an Activity, Not a Position

from Three Minute Leadership The great leaders can emerge from any part of any organization, whether they have a position of authority or not.  As Dan Ebener and Borna Jalsenjak write in their new book, Leadership for the Greater Good, “Using the word ‘leader’ to include everyone who makes it to the top is a disservice to the whole idea of leadership”, which they define as “a voluntary, interactive process that intends adaptive change”. Ebener and Jalsenjak state that leadership is an activity not a position.  It is voluntarybecause coercive measures are never leadership.  It is interactive because it requires […]

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The Perverse Consequences of the NCAA Ruling

from The Atlantic The Supreme Court has changed college admissions forever. The justices’ decision late last month allowing NCAA Division I football and men’s basketball programs to provide new educational incentives to student athletes created an overdue avenue for compensating student athletes in commercially lucrative sports, many of whom come from low-income backgrounds. And new rules the NCAA rolled out last week in response to a series of state laws allow student athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness without violating college sports’ amateurism rules. So far, the changes have been celebrated as a step toward greater equity. […]

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The Focus On The Last Thing

from Seth’s Blog The play before time ran out. The last speech of the campaign. The typo on your resume or the spot on your tie. The final decision before the company declared bankruptcy. We focus on the thing that happened just before the end. And that’s almost always an unimportant moment. Things went wrong (or things went right) because of a long series of decisions and implementations. A misguided strategy, a bad hire, a brilliant insight about network effects–these are the acts with leverage, not the obvious thing that all the pundits would like to talk about. When you […]

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The Virtual Internship

from Serendipity35 Internships for college students (and sometimes high school students) have long been a good experience. They help young people develop a professional aptitude, learn real-world skills, and often create an opportunity for a follow-up job. They took a hit during the pandemic with offices closed and a reluctance on both sides to be out in the world. Virtual internships became a thing. I assume some existed before but not in great numbers. I read about some undergrads at Brown University who began Intern From Home in March 2020. They wanted to salvage internships during the pandemic for classmates […]

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What the EU Gets Right—and the US Gets Wrong—About Antitrust

from Wired THERE’S A GROWING bipartisan consensus in the US to rein in the massive power accumulated by dominant tech firms. From state capitals to Congress, officials have launched multiple investigations of whether the big four of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google are now forces more for harm than good and whether their size and scale demand government action to curtail them or potentially break them up. US regulators have not yet shown all their cards, but they should pause before arguing that too big equals anticompetitive, or seeking to break up or substantially restructure the tech giants. Instead, they […]

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2 Companies Say Their Vaccines Are 95% Effective. What Does That Mean?

from NYTs The front-runners in the vaccine race seem to be working far better than anyone expected: Pfizer and BioNTech announced this week that their vaccine had an efficacy rate of 95 percent. Moderna put the figure for its vaccine at 94.5 percent. In Russia, the makers of the Sputnik vaccine claimed their efficacy rate was over 90 percent. “These are game changers,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, a vaccine researcher at the Mayo Clinic. “We were all expecting 50 to 70 percent.” Indeed, the Food and Drug Administration had said it would consider granting emergency approval for vaccines that showed […]

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How To Mitigate The Harmful Effects Of Zoom Burnout

from Forbes During the pandemic, the amount of screen time for many people working and learning from home as well as binge-watching TV has sharply increased. And prolonged screen time is leaving a series of maladies in its wake. Researchers at Arizona State University published a study showing that heavy screen users—defined as those who use screens an average of 17.5 hours per day—reported the least healthful dietary patterns and the poorest health-related characteristics compared with moderate and light users, who averaged roughly 11.3 and 7 hours of screen use per day, respectively. More here.

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Breakthrough Covid Vaccine Tech Could Help Defeat Other Diseases

from Reuters Breakthrough technology that transforms the body into a virus-zapping vaccine factory is poised to revolutionise the fight against COVID-19 but future pandemics and even cancer could be next, scientists say. The initial success of so-called messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) vaccines in late-stage trials by Moderna as well as Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech is the first proof the concept works. Both experimental vaccines had efficacy rates above 90% based on interim findings, which was far higher than expected and well above the 50% threshold U.S. regulators insist upon for vaccines. Now scientists say the technology, a slow-motion […]

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Design Of Hiring Algorithms Can Double Diversity In Firms

from Fast Company We know that algorithms can outperform humans across an expanding range of settings, from medical diagnosis and image recognition to crime prediction. However, an ongoing concern is the potential for automated approaches to codify existing human biases to the detriment of candidates from underrepresented groups. For example, hiring algorithms use information on workers they have previously hired in order to predict which job applicants they should now select. In many cases, relying on algorithms that predict future success based on past success will lead firms to favor applicants from groups that have traditionally been successful. But this […]

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The President’s Daily Brief and Presidents-Elect: A Primer

from Lawfare Incoming U.S. presidents inherit institutions to help them gain insight into the capabilities and intentions of global competitors. These tools include the President’s Daily Brief, or PDB, which contains the nation’s most sensitive intelligence reporting and analysis. The president-elect’s toolkit overlaps with that of the president. For more than 50 years, components of the intelligence community have delivered the top-secret PDB to the commander in chief every working day. Along with other support, the PDB helps the president remain the world’s best-informed person on a wide range of national security challenges. A president-elect is normally brought into this […]

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A Covid-Fighting Tool Is Buried In Your Phone. Turn It On.

from WaPo Here’s a phone alert you wouldn’t want to miss: “You have likely been exposed.” The coronavirus surge is upon us, and your phone might be able to help. About 100 million Americans now have the ability to get pop-up notifications from local health authorities when they’ve personally spent time near someone who later tested positive for the coronavirus. But exposure notifications only work if you and the people around you turn them on. Yes, you! There’s early evidence this anonymous smartphone technology works — but so far isn’t helping very many Americans. In August, I wrote about the […]

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Government Surveillance By Data

from NYTs This is the ultimate example of what’s broken in digital life: The locations of people who used apps to pray and hang their shelves wound up in U.S. military databases. Vice’s Motherboard publication this week reported that data on people’s movements collected by seemingly innocuous apps passed through multiple hands before being bought by U.S. defense contractors and military agencies. It’s not clear what the military is doing with the information. This isn’t an isolated case of government authorities buying commercially available databases containing the movements of millions of people. U.S. law enforcement agencies and the Internal Revenue […]

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The iOS COVID-19 App Ecosystem Has Become A Privacy Minefield

from ars technica When the notion of enlisting smartphones to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic first surfaced last spring, it sparked a months-long debate: should apps collect location data, which could help with contact tracing but potentially reveal sensitive information? Or should they take a more limited approach, only measuring Bluetooth-based proximity to other phones? Now, a broad survey of hundreds of COVID-19-related apps reveals that the answer is all of the above. And that has made the COVID-19 app ecosystem a kind of wild, sprawling landscape, full of potential privacy pitfalls. Late last month, Jonathan Albright, director of the Digital […]

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How the Space Station Became a Base to Launch Humanity’s Future

from NYTs For the International Space Station, Leroy Chiao was, in a sense, there before the beginning. In October 2000, he was one of seven astronauts on the space shuttle Discovery, which brought pieces of the nascent space station to orbit. Construction had begun a couple of years earlier. But no one was living there yet. Much of the work on Dr. Chiao’s flight was done outside the space station, during spacewalks. But the astronauts also got to go inside briefly. “It had that new-car smell,” Dr. Chiao recalled. It was a runt of a space station then. The habitable […]

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