Lifestyle

Visualizing the Social Media Universe in 2020

 

Social media has seeped into virtually all aspects of modern life. The vast social media universe collectively now holds 3.8 billion users, representing roughly 50% of the global population.

With an additional billion internet users projected to come online in the coming years, it’s possible that the social media universe could expand even further.

Here’s a closer look at individual social platforms, and their trials and tribulations: Read More

Tech Workers Are Living the American Dream—in Canada

 

The short-sighted immigration policies of the US administration is driving top talent north of the border.

Canada’s immigration policy is hardly warm and fuzzy. On the contrary, it’s icily calculating. The government loves educated, elite newcomers, because they help propel the economy, says immigration lawyer Peter Rekai, but it wants them young, so they won’t drain the public health care system. Their parents are much less welcome.

But Toronto’s rise shows that culture also matters. The US is losing this competition not just because of bad policy; it now seems to be a dangerously racist place. One self-taught Nigerian coder I spoke to, Joseph Cobhams, dreamed of “building a product that a billion people use.” But when he visited New York City, he was stopped by police three times in two weeks.

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The Gamaleya Institute candidate being produced in Russia (it’s far from the only vaccine project underway in the country) is among the 26 being tested on humans in the country. However, it’s still listed as ‘Phase 1’ for testing.

Kirill Dmitriev, the head of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the project’s main financial backer, confirmed Tuesday that Phase 3 trials are ready to begin on Wednesday, while mass production likely won’t begin until September or October. More than 20 countries have already ordered doses, he added. Jasarevic added that the process being undertaken by the WHO to review the Russian vaccine would be the same undertaken for any other vaccine project.

“Every country has national regulatory agencies that approve the use of vaccines or medicines on its territory,” Jasarevic explained.

“WHO has in place a process of pre-qualification for vaccines but also for medicines. Manufacturers ask to have the WHO pre-qualification because it is a sort of stamp of quality.”

“To get this, there is a review and assessment of all required safety and efficacy data that are gathered through the clinical trials. WHO will do this for any candidate vaccine.”

But even if things don’t work out with the Russian candidate, Jasarevic said, there are many other vaccine candidates in Phase 3, and beyond.

“We are encouraged by the speed by which several candidate vaccines have been developing and as we have been always saying, we hope some of these vaccines will prove to be safe and efficient,” said Jasarevic. “Accelerating progress does not mean compromising on safety,” he said.

However, Dr. Ali Nouri, a molecular biologist and President of the Federation of American Scientists, slammed Russia’s decision as “reckless” and insisted that Russia’s vaccine is “well behind” the biggest western and Chinese competitors…CLICK for complete article

Deepfakes Are Becoming the Hot New Corporate Training Tool

 

THIS MONTH, ADVERTISING giant WPP will send unusual corporate training videos to tens of thousands of employees worldwide. A presenter will speak in the recipient’s language and address them by name, while explaining some basic concepts in artificial intelligence. The videos themselves will be powerful demonstrations of what AI can do: The face, and the words it speaks, will be synthesized by software.

WPP doesn’t bill them as such, but its synthetic training videos might be called deepfakes, a loose term applied to images or videos generated using AI that look real. Although best known as tools of harassment, porn, or duplicity, image-generating AI is now being used by major corporations for such anodyne purposes as corporate training. Read More

 

Europe’s Fashion Industry Faces Nightmare

Most European brick-and-mortar clothing stores have been open for three or four weeks, yet sales continue to languish. In April, when all but the essential brick-and-mortar stores were shut, sales of clothing and accessories slumped by 50% in the UK and 67.4% in France, the home of fashion. In Spain, revenues in the sector plunged by 80.5%, according to data published by the trade association Acotex.

But even in May, when stores in most Spanish cities reopened, revenues in the sector fell 72% year over year and are down 45% year to date. Those figures include booming online sales.

“The textile and accessories trade is in a very delicate spot, requiring urgent and specific measures for the sector,” warned Acotex. In other words, government help and money. Otherwise, the trade association said, there will soon be a wave of bankruptcies and closings…CLICK for complete article

Demand For Life Insurance Soars Despite Dropping Sales

Cancer loves sugar, so it’s only appropriate that a 7-Eleven–a key purveyor of sugary substances such as the famous Big Gulp–would be selling life insurance, in this case, in Japan. LIfe insurance, after all, should be as convenient to obtain as it is to need.

At 7-Eleven Japan’s over 20,000 outlets nationwide, customers will be able to buy insurance through an installed multifunction copy machine.

The company has partnered with MS&AD’s affiliate Mitsui Sumitomo Aioi Life Insurance and will start selling cancer insurance later this month. 7-Eleven says that it hopes to achieve around 60,000 new life insurance sales through this new initiative.  It currently sells around about 300,000 new personal insurance contracts per year.

In the US, amid the coronavirus pandemic, life insurers are also trying to avoid face-to-face sales. Or, in some cases, they are trying to avoid sales altogether…CLICK for complete article