Fit-again Jumah set for return to action

first_imgDeion Jumah will return to action in Copenhagen on June 20.The West Londoner, who last year opted to move down from cruiserweight, will face Karel Horejsek in a six-round light-heavyweight bout at the Ballerup Super Arena.Jumah, 25, was twice an ABA champion and is trained by George Groves’ former coach and manager Adam Booth.He has been hampered by injury and illness during his professional career, limiting him to only four fights.But his four wins have been impressive, the most recent coming in December when he enjoyed a second-round demolition of Josef Krivka.“I can’t wait to get back in the ring,’’ said Jumah.“Six months is a long time but I’ve been in the gym every day and I feel like I’ve really grown as a fighter.“Just because I’ve not been in the ring doesn’t mean I haven’t been progressing. I may have only had four fights but I’ve been involved in world class training camps and sparring.“I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a reason, and while I haven’t had the smoothest start to my pro career, the best is definitely yet to come“On June 20, fans are going to see the real Deion in the ring.”See also:Jumah wins on British pro debutFollow West London Sport on TwitterFind us on Facebooklast_img read more

The Magnetic Sky Is Falling

first_imgSpace.Com reports that the strength of Earth’s magnetic field has dropped 10% over the last 150 years.  At that rate of decline, it could vanish in 1500 to 2000 years.  Scientists gathered recently at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union pondered whether a reversal is occurring, but a Harvard scientist claimed that would be a rare event.     If the magnetic field continues to decline, life on Earth is in grave danger in the far future.  Atmospheric ozone would diminish, exposing life to deadly ultraviolet radiation, and high-energy cosmic rays and solar storms would put life at risk of ionizing radiation, leading to cancer, blindness and neurological diseases.The strength of the earth’s magnetic field is one of the longest-measured physical properties of our planet.  It shows a steady decline over the past 150 years.  There is much we still do not understand about planetary magnetic fields.  What causes it?  (The leading dynamo theories are beset with complexities that perplex the experts.)  How big did it get in the past?  (Earth still has the strongest field of any rocky planet, by a large factor.)  Will it reverse and go back up to its former strength?  If it did so in the past, how did life survive the periods when it was weakest?  How long does a reversal take?  There is much we do not know, but one thing is clear from the empirical data: in the present epoch, it is dropping at “an alarming rate” (see Nov 6, March 4, and 11/25/2002 headlines).  Those who believe such a dynamic property can be sustained for 4.6 billion years must add secondary assumptions and subplots to their stories.(Visited 15 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

New Theory about the Origin of Life Concludes It’s Magic!

first_imgby Jerry Bergman, PhDThe headline of a new discovery about the origin of life reads, “A New Clue to How Life Originated.”[1]And so another new theory about how life could have evolved from simple molecules has been added to the existing pile of theories. I expect that it soon will be discarded as have most other origin-of-life theories. The new theory began when Professor Caitlin Cornell was looking in her microscope and saw bright spots against a black background resembling “miniature suns, blazing against the backdrop of space.” Cornell thenshowed the spots to her supervisor, Sarah Keller, a chemist at the University of Washington, “we got really excited,” she recalls. “It was a bit of an ‘Aha!’ moment.” Those spots, she realized, might help address a long-standing puzzle about the origin of life itself.[2]Cells that make up all living organisms, from single-celled animals to humans, exist in an almost endless variety, but all must contain the following:Molecules that encode information to produce protein, and that can be copied, such as DNA and RNA.Proteins which construct the organism’s body and the cell’s organelles, such as mitochondria. These proteins are also used to construct skin, muscles, and other tissues plus the 200 organs that make up our body.An encapsulating membrane that surrounds all cells and cell organelles, which is made from fatty acids.Background of Origins-of-Life TheoriesDarwinists postulate that, if we go back far enough in time, before animals and plants and even bacteria existed, the precursor of all life must have existed which they call a “protocell.” They postulate that this structure had a trinity of parts: RNA and proteins, surrounded by a membrane.[3] Young quotes physicist Freeman Dyson who opined, “Life began with little bags of garbage.” Already we can see a problem. To be life, this protocell has to do what life does, namely respirate, replicate, duplicate RNA, and produce a bag, the membrane, that protects the machines that make protein to produce the parts required for life.[4]  Young adds all of the parts are critical, even the bag: “Without something to corral the other molecules, they would all just float away, diffusing into the world and achieving nothing…. Life, at its core, is about creating compartments.”[5]Much more important is having the right machines in the right place in the right compartment at the right time. And even more important is the DNA and the complex machinery required to translate the genetic code into functional proteins. Since the complexity required to meet this goal is overwhelming, evolutionists must postulate something simpler existed as the first cell. Some propose it was based on RNA, called the RNA-world theory. Even here problems exist. Jack Szostak, 2009 Nobel laureate for the discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase, noted that accordingto the RNA World Hypothesis, RNA was a key molecule that was utilized by the earliest life on Earth to store genetic information and to catalyze chemical reactions.  This raises the question, however, of how RNA formed under prebiotic conditions on the early Earth. In fact, the issue of the complete synthesis of RNA nucleotides has been a major stumbling block for the RNA World Hypothesis. The sugar found in the backbone of both DNA and RNA, ribose, has been particularly problematic, as the most prebiotically plausible chemical reaction schemes have typically yielded only a small amount of ribose mixed with a diverse assortment of other sugar molecules.[6]Another problem is that RNA is enormously complex. Lab experiments have not been much help, a fact which has caused “some scientists to hypothesize that RNA was preceded by other RNA-like molecules that were more stable and readily synthesized under prebiotic conditions.”[7]  One proposed solution to the complexity problem suggests that “some components of RNA may have formed in space and arrived on Earth rather than being formed de novo on the Earth.”[8] But this solution, rather than solving the complexity problem, just moves it somewhere else, so the same problem still exists. Based on an analyses of meteorites, such as the Murchison meteorite and other evidence, some scientists have raised powerful objections to the postulate that some components of RNA formed somewhere out in space.From Building Blocks to BuildingsAnother problem concerns assembly. Even if we can somehow obtain pools of RNA nucleotides on Earth, how did (or could) long strands of RNA form on the early Earth? Chemical evolutionists imagine RNA “ribozymes,” with both coding and enzymatic abilities, happening on the same molecule by chance. The few known ribozymes have very limited capabilities, like cutting themselves in half.Ribosome: Messenger RNA in, protein out. (Illustra Media)Then there’s the folding problem. Obtaining a functional ribozyme that could direct the assembly of amino acids into a strand that could fold into a functional protein is astronomically improbable. In real life, a molecular machine called a ribosome is required to read the genetic code and translate it into protein. But the ribosome requires both RNA and protein to work. It’s a classic chicken-and-egg problem: how could RNA form a protein to create a machine that needs a protein to work?ClaymationTo hope for a ribozyme that might function as a cheap ribosome jig would likely require an RNA strand composed of at least 30 to 40 nucleotides. This issue has been researched by James Ferris’ group at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. They attempt to solve the problem of the origin of RNA strands composed of at least 30 to 40 nucleotides, postulatingthat the formation of long strands of RNA may have been catalyzed by clays such as montmorillonite.  The …  clay surface attracts the nucleotides and the increased local concentration of nucleotides causes bond formation between nucleotides, forming a polymer of RNA.”[9]Others have pointed out the problems with the clay theory. University of Chicago Professor Robert Shapiro wrote the “sudden appearance of a large self-copying molecule such as RNA was exceedingly improbable. … [The probability] is so vanishingly small that its happening even once anywhere in the visible universe would count as a piece of exceptional good luck.”[10]Bring in the MagiciansIn short, all other proposals have met a dead end. Thus the new theory called “completely magical” has been proposed by Caitlin Cornell and her research team.Professor Cornell ignores the problem of the origin of RNA and protein for now and, instead, focuses on cell membranes constructed from fatty acids. The fatty acids in cell membranes are lollipop-shaped molecules possessing fatty round heads and long, thin, two-stranded tails. The heads are hydrophilic; the tails, hydrophobic. Consequently, when placed in water, the fatty acids can self-assemble into hollow spheres with the hydrophilic tails on the surface, the hydrophobic tails end up pointing inward. These spheres can enclose RNA and proteins, making crude protocell-like compartments. The problem, Young explains, assuming the common belief that life first arose in salty oceans, is that ocean water contains many kinds of ions in addition to sodium and chloride, such as magnesium and iron—both very common in saltwater today.These ions cause the spheres to collapse, which is problematic since RNA—another key component of early protocells—requires these ions. How, then, could life possibly have arisen, when the compartments it needs are destroyed by the conditions in which it first emerged, and by the very ingredients it needs to thrive?[11]Caitlin Cornell and Sarah Keller’s answer is that the spheres are able to withstand both salt and magnesium ions, as long as they’re in the presence of amino acids—which concurrently are the building blocks of proteins. The tiny suns Cornell observed in her microscope were mixtures of amino acids and fatty acids that held their spherical shape in the presence of salts. She wrote about her simple discovery:I find that utterly magical. It means that two of the essential components of life, a protocell’s membrane and its proteins, provided the conditions for each other to exist. By sticking to the fatty acids, the amino acids gave them stability. In turn, the fatty acids concentrated the amino acids, perhaps encouraging them to coalesce into proteins.The research team then made a Herculean leap in fantasy from this simple mundane observation. Writing in poetic prose, they imagined that from the very beginning of evolutionthese partners were locked in a two-step dance that continued for 3.5 billion years, and helped create all the richness of biology from a starting place of mere chemistry. “I agree completely,” Keller tells me. “It’s completely magical. You need those two parts together.”[12]Laws vs MagicIt is not magical. It is simply a consequence of the laws of chemistry which had to be designed the way they are for life to exist. That is the problem that must be explained. A theist would postulate that the laws of chemistry exist by design with the specific goal to allow life to exist, not the other way around as implied by Cornell and her colleagues. Cornell implied that the laws of chemistry existed first which just happened to be conducive for the creation of complex life on Earth. She describes her experiment as follows:On their own, the fatty acids predictably self-assembled into hollow spheres. “They looked like jellyfish: clear insides with opaque edges, floating around,” she says. If she added salt or magnesium ions, these jellyfish disintegrated. But if she did that after adding amino acids, they held their shape. What’s more, they transformed into shapes that Cornell likens to glowing onions. Their once-hollow centers were filled with another layer of fatty acids—spheres within spheres. Not coincidentally, that’s what our actual cells are like, with membranes that comprise two fatty layers instead of one…. Amino acids allow membranes to exist in the presence of magnesium, which RNA needs to function.From the film Origin (Illustra Media)In spite of the headline hype, she has not stumbled onto the solution of  how life evolved, but rather only the chemistry that explains how life was designed to live. She has recreated the chemical conditions required for working cells, or more accurately, she has accidentally copied the existing design found in cells. She was only explaining how life works, not how life evolved. Her challenge is to address a problem posed to her by her colleagues, namely “no one had good ideas about how exactly the protocell trinity—RNA, proteins, and membranes” could assemble in life, in other words, how it functioned in life. She has shed light on a small part of the question of how lipid membranes could be stabilized in salt water – not how life evolved.The presence of amino acids protects the fatty-acid spheres, allowing what we see in the biological world to exist. She found a compartment that can hold the building blocks required for making proteins and RNA, but still has yet to determine how the individual building blocks build buildings: how they bond together to form the larger molecules, which she admits is “a very hard question.” The model falls far short of explaining how nonliving chemicals spontaneously formed life in the natural world without any guidance from an intelligent being.Past Efforts FailedThe theory implies natural bonding patterns can produce life. It’s similar to a theory that was proposed by Dean H. Kenyon and chemist Gary Steinman in their book Biological Predestination.[13] This book was a mainstay of college biology and evolution classes back in the 1970’s. In short, the authors believed that life was biochemically predestined by the properties of attraction and repulsion that exist between chemicals, especially between amino acids in proteins. They described the following causal chain: the “properties of the chemical elements dictate the types of monomers that can be formed in prebiotic syntheses, which then dictate the properties of the occurring polymers, which finally dictate the properties of the first eobionts [dawn cells] and all succeeding cells.”[14] Several reviews were very laudable about the Biological Predestination book, such as this review by Leslie Orgel in Science.Biochemical Predestination , despite its title, is a thoroughly professional book on the origins of life. It presents the best detailed account of the subject that I have read. The authors, perhaps because they never knew the bad old days [of origins of life research], are not too concerned with the legitimacy of their subject but, writing as laboratory scientists, describe the relevant experiments and attempt to interpret them.[15]The anti-creation website called ‘Panda’s Thumb’ even wrote “Dr. Dean Kenyon, Ph.D., Biophysics… [is] one of the leading evolutionary biologists in the world.”[16] One of the leading origin-of-life researchers, Sidney W. Fox, was able to point out problems with the main theme of Biochemical Predestination as far back as 1970.[17] Kenyon eventually rejected his own theory of biochemical predestination. In the film Unlocking the Mystery of Life, he says he could not answer a counter-argument proposed by one of his students: how could amino acids assemble themselves into proteins without genetic instructions?Chemical bonds must form for a cell to exist. The research by Cornell merely adds another example to our understanding of the binding properties of a few molecules involved in making stable membranes. It’s a trivial factor in explaining the origin of life [OOL], which must also include the far more difficult questions about the origin of genetic instructions and metabolism.What They Actually AchievedThe Cornell team rationalized their trivial success, thinking that doing something (i.e., finding a law-like chemical property) is better than doing nothing. Before their contribution, says Ed Yong of the article in The Atlantic, “people were just waving their hands and attributing this crucial convergence to some random event.” Furious hand-waving goes with the OOL territory. Yong writes,The study of life’s origins is always contentious. Scientists often disagree furiously about things that are happening right now, let alone events that occurred more than 3.5 billion [Darwin] years ago. Some researchers, for example, think that life began in shallow volcanic pools, while others argue that it must have arisen in underwater vents.[18]The study by the Cornell team is no less contentious.[19] In essence, they were helping the cause of design—not of evolution. By determining a requirement for the chemistry for life to work, the scientists were acting as if they were “thinking God’s thoughts after Him,” as Kepler said of his investigations into how the heavens operated. It did not help explain how life evolved from some primordial goo, but only how, because of certain laws of chemistry, some requirements for life have been met.References[1] Ed Young. 2019. “A New Clue to How Life Originated. A long-standing mystery about early cells has a solution—and it’s a rather magical one.” The Atlantic. August 19. Online at https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2019/08/interlocking-puzzle-allowed-life-emerge/595945/[2] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[3] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[4] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[5] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[6] Jack Szostak. “RNA on the Early Earth”. http://exploringorigins.org/nucleicacids.html[7] Szostak. Ref 6.[8] Szostak. Ref 6.[9] Szostak. Ref 6.[10] Robert Shapiro, 2007. “A Simpler Origin for Life,” Scientific American, pp. 46-53. June.[11] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[12] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[13] Dean H. Kenyon, and Gary Steinman. 1969. Biochemical Predestination. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.[14] Stephan Berry. 1997. “ ‘Biochemical Predestination’ as Heuristic Principle for Understanding the Origin of Life,” Journal of Chemical Education, 74(8):950.[15] Leslie Orgel. 1969. “Evidence and Speculation on How Life Began.” Science. December 26, pp.1613-1614.[16] Nick Matzke. 2010. Dean Kenyon: a young-earth creation scientist who was later relabeled an intelligent design proponent. https://pandasthumb.org/archives/2010/07/dean-kenyon-a-y.html. July 20.[17] Sidney W. Fox. 1970. “Biochemical Predestinationby Dean H. Kenyon, Gary Steinman.” The Quarterly Review of Biology, 45(2);180. June.[18] Young, 2019. Ref 1.[19] Casey Luskin. 2012. “Top Five Problems with Current Origin-of-Life Theories.” Evolution News. https://evolutionnews.org/2012/12/top_five_probl/Dr. Jerry Bergman has taught biology, genetics, chemistry, biochemistry, anthropology, geology, and microbiology at several colleges and universities including for over 40 years at Bowling Green State University, Medical College of Ohio where he was a research associate in experimental pathology, and The University of Toledo. He is a graduate of the Medical College of Ohio, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Toledo, and Bowling Green State University. He has over 1,300 publications in 12 languages and 40 books and monographs. His books and textbooks that include chapters that he authored, are in over 1,500 college libraries in 27 countries. So far over 80,000 copies of the 40 books and monographs that he has authored or co-authored are in print. For more articles by Dr Bergman, see his Author Profile.Another brilliant cartoon by Brett Miller for CEH.(Visited 811 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

BRICS leaders’ informal meeting on the margins of the G20

first_imgThe BRICS leaders’ summit in Hangzhou, China on Sunday 4 September 2016. From left, Brazilian President Michel Temer, Indian President Narender Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Jacob Zuma. (Image: The Presidency)Global political, security, economic and governance issues was the focus of discussions between leaders of the BRICS grouping of major emerging markets – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – held on the margins of the Group of 20 Summit in Chinese city of Hangzhou on 4 September 2016.To further strengthen the partnership, the BRICS leaders reaffirmed that cooperation would be based on principles of openness, solidarity, equality, mutual understanding, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation between them.Access to international law courts would improve the state of developing economies and the citizenry. Corruption, illicit cross-border financial-flows, and ill-gotten wealth derived from illegal activities are challenges that can best be tackled through enhanced cooperation between G20 countries.Wealth looted from developing economies, often invested through financial institutions in developed economies, robs developing economies of funding institutional and infrastructure development.Macroeconomic policy coordination between G20 member countries would ensure the benefits of any economic recovery would be sustainable and more equitably shared. Focused national growth strategies would only achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth if G20 members worked together.The G20 Blueprint on Innovative Growth could be a driver for mid and long term growth and sustainable development. Its recognition of the importance of innovation in growth was welcomed.New trade protectionist policies being implemented across the globe was a concern to the BRICS leadership. Strengthening the role and negotiation functions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would allow the regulatory body to facilitate market inter-linkages and an inclusive, rules-based and open world economy.BRICS leaders stressed the importance of the WTO adherence to a rule-based, open, transparent, non-discriminatory and inclusive global trading system. However they believe the WTO needs to put development at the centre of its policies.Implementation of the outcomes reached by trade ministries in Bali and Nairobi would go a long way to creating a more equitable global economy. The BRICS governments have called for early ratification and enforcement of the Trade Facilitation Agreement.International Monetary Fund (IMF) allocation quotas did not reflect present-day global economic realities. BRICS leaders are calling on the IMF to review the way resources are distributed, and increase their funding reserves. Direction from G20 members could ensure a fairer reflection of emerging and developing economies.Completion of the 15th General Review of Quotas – including a new quota formula – by the 2017 annual meeting would create a more effective and efficient global economic architecture, this would create the environment for resilient growth.BRICS leaders also congratulated India for the speed of its implementation and the expansion of the BRICS cooperation agenda. As chair of the grouping, India will host the upcoming 8th BRICS summit in Goa between 15-16 October.Progress in the implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership underscored the importance of the 2020 BRICS Roadmap on Trade, Economic and Investment Cooperation. This has strengthened trade, business and tourism ties between BRICS nations.India has been at the forefront of strengthening of these ties through the ongoing series of people-to-people exchanges across the provinces and cities of India.The New Development Bank’s approval of its first set of loans also drew praise from the assembled leaders. The first loans as well as the successful issuance of the Bank’s first funded programmes in the renewable and green energy sectors. Leaders applauded the Bank’s potential as a source for bridging finance for infrastructure projects.Universal access to energy and energy security are critical to shared prosperity and the future of the planet. They acknowledged the importance of affordable, clean and renewable energy to sustainable development.The success of the G20 Hangzhou Summit earned the Chinese government plaudits from the BRICS leadership. They applauded the emphasis placed on a development agenda and encouraged all G20 members to strengthen macroeconomic cooperation, promote innovation, robust and sustainable trade and investment growth.BRICS governments reaffirmed their commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. BRICS leaders expect that the agenda in China would encourage a new vison of inclusive growth from G20 governments. In this regard, they welcomed the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialisation in Africa and Least Developed Countries.Cooperation and ongoing dialogue with other emerging market economies would be strengthened. Fostering innovation between interconnected, inclusive and invigorated usher in a new era of global growth and sustainable development.International cooperation would blunt the threat of international terrorism and the risk of destabilization these heinous acts represent. BRICS leaders united to condemn terrorist violence that continue to disrupt global peace and security and undermine social and economic confidence.In expressing sympathy and support to innocent victims, they reiterated their commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. There can be no justification for terror or violence whether based on ideology, religion, politics, race or ethnic identity. They emphasised that a united effort guided by international law, with the United Nations playing a central role, was needed to combat terrorism.last_img read more

Smart Speakers Are Useful and Fun, but Don’t Let Them Reign as the Queen of All Knowledge

first_imgVince Lynch is CEO of IV.AI, a global AI company that helps businesses better connect with their customers. It processes 150 languages so all customers can be heard regardless of their origin. Clients include SMBs and larger companies such as Netflix, Toyota, Estée Lauder, Telefonica, and Capital One. When we were asked to help promote the “Resident Evil” film franchise for Sony Pictures a couple of years ago, we came up with the idea of altering the fictional artificial intelligence character (The Red Queen) into a real AI character — for which the fans could interact. It was a fun concept that was quite successful, but it created some serious challenges and reminded us how hard it is to build truly meaningful AI.Creating AI, including smart speakers like Alexa and smartphone assistants like Siri, is challenging. These devices offer a helpful utility function and are good for amusement, but they are created and trained by humans, which can introduce biases and a power dynamic that should be addressed.The Red Queen AIEngagement was what we were aiming for when we started on the Red Queen AI. We began by collecting all the scripts that had been created by the writers of the films in the series. We trained the AI to learn the character using natural language processing techniques and then generated new dialogue written entirely by the AI to see how it would work.The first few AI outputs were a nightmare. There wasn’t enough training data in the model, so the new AI version of the character was overly aggressive. We needed more data to soften the harsh villain character and enable it to work for a wider audience.The film character’s catchphrase was “You’re all going to die down here,” but the first version of the AI couldn’t quite get it right. It gave us some pretty funny results, including “You must die” and “Your death is here.” As you might imagine, it could be a bit heavy out of context and could have hindered our ability to reach a new audience that hadn’t seen the previous films.To add more training data and to make the AI smarter, we decided to tap into literature by authors like Charles Dickens and Shakespeare so the AI could learn from the more gentle communication styles of classic villains. Then, we added real conversations from police engagements with criminals to provide more realism and modern communication, as well as examples of people on psychoactive drugs recounting the things they saw, which ended up providing some rather creative dialogue.We trained and retrained, and finally settled on the AI’s output: “I’m not sure I’m done playing with you yet.” This statement would then appear more playful and not as murderous. Plus it worked for the context of the engagement, which allowed people back into the game.Everyone was happy with the end result, and the game was a hit. But it’s important to note that our decisions about which training data to use had biases. The decisions of the writers as to what made a good villain had biases. All of those biased slants can be OK when the aim is entertainment — but they should be approached with caution for more serious conversations managed by voice assistants, such as for healthcare, finances, and nutrition.The Challenges of AI AssistantsThe creators of AI assistants are often a small, homogenized group of people behind the curtain who decide what answers are true (or the most accurate) for billions of people. These arbitrary statements create a distorted view of reality that users of AI assistants might take as gospel.For instance, more than a year ago, Alexa was accused of a liberal bias. And last January, a video went viral when someone asked Google Home who Jesus was and the device couldn’t answer but could tell users who Buddha was. The company explained that it didn’t allow the device to answer the question because some answers come from the web, which might prompt a response a Christian would find disrespectful.As the use of smart speakers continues to climb, so do expectations. The number of smart speakers in U.S. homes increased 78% from December 2017 to December 2018 to a whopping 118.5 million, according to “The Smart Audio Report.” But users need to be mindful of the way the AI platforms work.Digital assistants have the potential to limit the scope of what products and platforms we use.After all, when one device (and, therefore, one company) owns the road to external knowledge, that company can act unethically in its own interest.For example, if I ask Siri to play a song by The Beatles, the device might automatically play the song from Apple Music instead of my Spotify library. Or I might ask Alexa to order AA batteries, and Alexa could happily order Amazon’s own brand.Combatting the Limited Scope of AI DevicesIn free markets, where competition is supposed to benefit consumers, these flaws can present significant obstacles. The companies that own the speakers could conceivably gain even more control over commerce than they already have.To combat this, users should be as transparent as possible with their requests to AI devices. “Play The Beatles on Spotify” or “Order the cheapest AA batteries,” for instance, are more thorough instructions. The more aware users are of how companies engage with them, the more they can enjoy the benefits of AI assistants while maintaining control of their environment.You can also ask an AI device to communicate with a specific company when you are buying items. For instance, Best Buy offers exclusive deals that you can only get when ordering through your smart speaker. You can also get updates on your orders, help with customer service needs, and updates on new releases.Users should remember that AI assistants are tools, and they need to think about how they manage them in order to have a good experience.And users should report responses if assistants make them feel uncomfortable so the makers of these devices and skills can improve the experience for everyone. Natural language processing requires a considered focus, as the potential benefits are just as significant as the liability of things going wrong.As for our natural language processing and the Red Queen, we discovered that some users were signing off at night with “Good night, Red Queen,” which means she clearly wasn’t too aggressive in the end. Follow the Puck A Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… Related Posts Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Vince LynchCEO of IV.AI Tags:#AI#artificial intelligence#digital assistant#smart speakers AI: How it’s Impacting Surveillance Data Storagelast_img read more

Citizenship Bill won’t directly benefit NRC excludees: Home Ministry official

first_imgNon-Muslims excluded from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam would not immediately or directly benefit from the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, a senior Home Ministry official said.The comment by the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, comes as the Centre faces a backlash in the northeast, including in BJP-ruled Assam, over the Bill. Those vehemently opposed to the Bill fear that it would make it possible for the government to grant Indian citizenship mostly to illegal Hindu migrants from Bangladesh in Assam, who came after March 1971, in violation of the agreement of the Assam Accord, 1985. Almost 40 lakh people were excluded from Assam’s final draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) that was published on July 30 last year. The NRC is a Supreme Court monitored exercise that was carried out in the backdrop of the Assam Accord. Almost 30 lakh of those excluded from the NRC have filed claims to be included in the list of citizens. Government officials would now examine these claims and the final NRC would be published later.The future of those people whose nationality was “indeterminate” was yet to be decided, the official said.“Those who will not make it to the final NRC, does not mean they will immediately get citizenship,” the official asserted. “There will be legal hurdles because in their application for NRC they claimed to be Indians. You cannot suddenly change your stand. There won’t be a blanket citizenship offer.”The Intelligence Bureau (IB) told a joint parliamentary committee on the Citizenship Bill that those who have come to India from the three countries under reference due to religious persecution but have not declared so at the time of their arrival in India “will have to prove that they came to India due to religious persecution, if they had not declared so at that time of their arrival in India.”The law seeks to grant Indian citizenship to members of six communities — Hindus, Christians, Parsis, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs — who came to India till December 31, 2014. It also reduces the mandatory requirement of 12 years stay in India to seven years to be eligible for citizenship if they do not possess any document.“The Bill is not only for Assam, it’s for the entire country. There are many people who came from the three countries due to religious persecution,” said the official.The official added that the application for citizenship would be approved only after the concerned State government cleared it.last_img read more