Artificial Intelligence Is Setting Up the Internet for a Huge Clash With Europe

GettyImages-589938799.jpg

Neural networks are changing the Internet. Inspired by the networks of neurons inside the human brain, these deep mathematical models can learn discrete tasks by analyzing enormous amounts of data. They’ve learned to recognize faces in photos, identify spoken commands, and translate text from one language to another. And that’s just a start. They’re also moving into the heart of tech giants like Google and Facebook. They’re helping to choose what you see when you query the Google search engine or visit your Facebook News Feed.

All this is sharpening the behavior of online services. But it also means the Internet is poised for an ideological confrontation with the European Union, the world’s single largest online market.

In April, the EU laid down new regulations for the collection, storage, and use of personal data, including online data. Ten years in the making and set to take affect in 2018, the General Data Protection Regulation guards the data of EU citizens even when collected by companies based in other parts of the world. It codifies the “right to be forgotten”, which lets citizens request that certain links not appear when their name is typed into Internet search engines. And it gives EU authorities the power to fine companies an enormous 20 million euro—or four percent of their global revenue—if they infringe.

But that’s not all. With a few paragraphs buried in the measure’s reams of bureaucrat-speak, the GDPR also restricts what the EU calls “automated individual decision-making.” And for the world’s biggest tech companies, that’s a potential problem. “Automated individual decision-making” is what neural networks do. “They’re talking about machine learning,” says Bryce Goodman, a philosophy and social science researcher at Oxford University who, together with a fellow Oxford researcher, recently published a paperexploring the potential effects of these new regulations.

Hard to Explain

The regulations prohibit any automated decision that “significantly affects” EU citizens. This includes techniques that evaluate a person’s “performance at work, economic situation, health, personal preferences, interests, reliability, behavior, location, or movements.” At the same time, the legislation provides what Goodman calls a “right to explanation.” In other words, the rules give EU citizens the option of reviewing how a particular service made a particular algorithmic decision.

Both of these stipulations could strike at the heart of major Internet services. At Facebook, for example, machine learning systems are already driving ad targeting, and these depend on so much personal data. What’s more, machine learning doesn’t exactly lend itself to that “right of explanation.” Explaining what goes on inside a neural network is a complicated task even for the experts. These systems operate by analyzing millions of pieces of data, and though they work quite well, it’s difficult to determine exactlywhy they work so well. You can’t easily trace their precise path to a final answer.

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, an Oxford expert in Internet governance who helped draft parts of the new legislation, says that the GDPR’s description of automated decisions is open to interpretation. But at the moment, he says, the “big question” is how this language affects deep neural networks. Deep neural nets depend on vast amounts of data, and they generate complex algorithms that can be opaque even to those who put these systems in place. “On both those levels, the GDPR has something to say,” Mayer-Schönberger says.

Poised for Conflict

Goodman, for one, believes the regulations strike at the center of Facebook’s business model. “The legislation has these large multi-national companies in mind,” he says. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment on the matter, but the tension here is obvious. The company makes billions of dollars a year targeting ads, and it’s now using machine learning techniques to do so. All signs indicate that Google has also applied neural networks to ad targeting, just as it has applied them to “organic” search results. It too did not respond to a request for comment.

Both of these stipulations could strike at the heart of major Internet services. At Facebook, for example, machine learning systems are already driving ad targeting, and these depend on so much personal data. What’s more, machine learning doesn’t exactly lend itself to that “right of explanation.” Explaining what goes on inside a neural network is a complicated task even for the experts. These systems operate by analyzing millions of pieces of data, and though they work quite well, it’s difficult to determine exactlywhy they work so well. You can’t easily trace their precise path to a final answer.

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, an Oxford expert in Internet governance who helped draft parts of the new legislation, says that the GDPR’s description of automated decisions is open to interpretation. But at the moment, he says, the “big question” is how this language affects deep neural networks. Deep neural nets depend on vast amounts of data, and they generate complex algorithms that can be opaque even to those who put these systems in place. “On both those levels, the GDPR has something to say,” Mayer-Schönberger says.

Poised for Conflict

Goodman, for one, believes the regulations strike at the center of Facebook’s business model. “The legislation has these large multi-national companies in mind,” he says. Facebook did not respond to a request for comment on the matter, but the tension here is obvious. The company makes billions of dollars a year targeting ads, and it’s now using machine learning techniques to do so. All signs indicate that Google has also applied neural networks to ad targeting, just as it has applied them to “organic” search results. It too did not respond to a request for comment.

Neural networks themselves defy easy explanation, which likely makes some kind of conflict inevitable.

But Goodman isn’t just pointing at the big Internet players. The latest in machine learning is trickling down from these giants to the rest of the Internet. The new EU regulations, he says, could affect the progress of everything from ordinary online recommendation engines to credit card and insurance companies.

European courts may ultimately find that neural networks don’t fall into the automated decision category, that they’re more about statistical analysis, says Mayer-Schönberger. Even then, however, tech companies are left wrestling with the “right to explanation.” As he explains, part of the beauty of deep neural nets is that they’re “black boxes.” They work beyond the bounds of human logic, which means the myriad businesses that will adopt this technology in the coming years will have trouble sussing out the kind of explanation the EU regulations seem to demand.

“It’s not impossible,” says Chris Nicholson, the CEO and founder of the neural networking startup Skymind. “But it’s complicated.”

Human Intervention

One way around this conundrum is for human decision makers to intervene or override automated algorithms. In many cases, this already happens, since so many services use machine learning in tandem with other technologies, including rules explicitly defined by humans. This is how the Google search engine works. “A lot of the time, algorithms are just part of the solution—-a human-in-the-loop solution,” Nicholson says.

But the Internet is moving towards more automation, not less. And in the end, human intervention isn’t necessarily the best answer. “Humans are far worse,” one commenter wrote on Hacker News, the popular tech discussion site. “We are incredibly biased.”

European courts may ultimately find that neural networks don’t fall into the automated decision category, that they’re more about statistical analysis, says Mayer-Schönberger. Even then, however, tech companies are left wrestling with the “right to explanation.” As he explains, part of the beauty of deep neural nets is that they’re “black boxes.” They work beyond the bounds of human logic, which means the myriad businesses that will adopt this technology in the coming years will have trouble sussing out the kind of explanation the EU regulations seem to demand.

“It’s not impossible,” says Chris Nicholson, the CEO and founder of the neural networking startup Skymind. “But it’s complicated.”

Human Intervention

One way around this conundrum is for human decision makers to intervene or override automated algorithms. In many cases, this already happens, since so many services use machine learning in tandem with other technologies, including rules explicitly defined by humans. This is how the Google search engine works. “A lot of the time, algorithms are just part of the solution—-a human-in-the-loop solution,” Nicholson says.

But the Internet is moving towards more automation, not less. And in the end, human intervention isn’t necessarily the best answer. “Humans are far worse,” one commenter wrote on Hacker News, the popular tech discussion site. “We are incredibly biased.”

The conundrums presented by the new EU regulations won’t just apply to the biggest tech companies. They’ll extend to everything.

It’s a fair argument. And it will only become fairer as machine learning continues to improve. People tend to put their faith in humans over machines, but machines are growing more and more important. This is the same tension at the heart of ongoing discussions over the ethics of self-driving cars. Some say: “We can’t let machines make moral decisions.” But others say: “You’ll change your mind when you see how much safer the roads are.” Machines will never be human. But in some cases, they will be better than human.

Beyond Data Protection

Ultimately, as Goodman implies, the conundrums presented by the new EU regulations will extend to everything. Machine learning is the way of the future, whether the task is generating search results, navigating roads, trading stocks, or finding a romantic partner. Google is now on a mission to retrain its staff for this new world order. Facebook offers all sorts of tools that let anyone inside the company tap into the power of machine learning. Google, Microsoft, and Amazon are now offering their machine learning techniques to the rest of the world via their cloud computing services.

The GDPR deals in data protection. But this is just one area of potential conflict. How, for instance, will anti-trust laws treat machine learning? Google is now facing a case that accuses the company of discriminating against certain competitors in its search results. But this case was brought years ago. What happens when companies complain that machines are doing the discriminating?

“Refuting the evidence becomes more problematic,” says Mayer-Schönbergerd, because even Google may have trouble explaining why a decision is made.

[Source:- Marie Clair]

Pippa’s engaged! How hedge fund beau went down on one knee and pulled out a ring. Now for the poshest wedding since Kate’s

Heads down against the breeze that blows across the peaks of the Lake District on the sunniest of days, the couple had their eyes on a distant hill.

Like other weekend walkers out on the fells last Saturday, Pippa Middleton and her boyfriend James Matthews paused to enjoy the magnificent views from the summit and to catch their breath.

But as Pippa took in the scenery, her romantic beau was dropping to his knees and preparing an even more spectacular sight – drawing out a stunning diamond ring from deep within a pocket.

Kneeling before her James asked Pippa to marry him. And within a moment she said ‘yes’ and suddenly Britain’s most eligible young woman was off the market.

Pippa Middleton was spotted leaving her house today wearing a big smile - and an even larger diamond

Edit

Pippa wears her new diamond ring

Pippa Middleton was spotted leaving her house today wearing a big smile – and an even larger diamond

 Newly engaged Pippa Middleton flashed the massive rock as she left her home in London this morning 

 Newly engaged Pippa Middleton flashed the massive rock as she left her home in London this morning

Less than a year after she began properly dating the handsome hedge fund manager (they were briefly an item in 2012) the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister is now engaged to be married.

Their wedding – almost certain to be held next year – will be the most glamorous and talked about match since Kate Middleton’s to Prince William five years ago.

Pippa’s engaged! How hedge fund beau went down on one knee and pulled out a ring. Now for the poshest wedding since Kate’s

Then in 1999 – the year of the death of his brother – James launched his own firm Eden Rock Capital Management, named after his parents’ hotel and based in Mayfair.

It quickly achieved success as a fund which invested in other hedge funds. By 2004 the firm looked after £131 million worth of investments. In 2007, the figure had risen to £1.1 billion.

The firm has an office in Bermuda and runs a network of overseas subsidiaries, some of them in tax havens. One subsidiary Solid rock Management is based in the British Virgin Islands.

But according to a close friend there is nothing opaque about his business. ‘James pays his tax in the UK. His hedgefund is run as a partnership and the profits are distributed to the partners.’

The money he has made has provided an enviable lifestyle. In the early 2000s he lived in a property close to the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square before selling it and buying a house in Notting Hill whose previous owners included entrepreneur Nick Jones and his wife Kirsty Young, host of Desert Islands Discs.

Two years ago he paid £17 million for his current home in one of Chelsea’s smartest streets. Earlier this year he applied for planning permission to add ‘his and her’ dressing rooms off the master bedroom. He has his own private plane, a £3 million Pilatus PC-12 on which he whisked Pippa for a weekend away to Corsica in May

They were seen on a string of dates and since the end of December have been virtually inseparable. At New Year they spent eight nights on St Barts, the upmarket and super rich Caribbean island where James’s parents own a fashionable hotel, the Eden Rock

They were seen on a string of dates and since the end of December have been virtually inseparable. At New Year they spent eight nights on St Barts, the upmarket and super rich Caribbean island where James’s parents own a fashionable hotel, the Eden Rock.

While James is said to be both serious and grounded, his brother Spencer is anything but. In a memoir Spencer claimed to have slept with 1,000 women, and dabbled with cocaine and LSD. Last year he drew more headlines after qutting I’ m a Celebrity….blaming an addiction to steroids.

Of one thing we can be certain James’s business acumen came from his father David. Raised in South Yorkshire by a former miner who had taken over a local garage, he first worked as a mechanic before taking up motor racing.

A glamorous figure – his first wife Nina was also a driver – he was forced into retirement after suffering serious injuries when he crashed at 130mph at Silverstone.

 ‘I would say she’s the lucky one. He’s one hell of a catch

He then turned his hand to the second hand car business. His firm was taken over by bus and coach manufacturers Plaxton’s which he then took over. In 1989 he engineered a second merger with giant car retailer Henlys leaving him in charge of a FTSE top 500 company. He left after buying the Eden Rock in 1995.

Later this summer James will accompany his fiancée to Switzerland where she is aiming to climb the Matterhorn – although he will not be making the attempt with her.

‘Many people will say what a lucky guy James is for landing Pippa,’ says a close friend, ‘I would say she’s the lucky one. He’s one hell of a catch.’

Last night a close friend of the couple told the Daily Mail: ‘I can confirm that Pippa and James are engaged. They are saying nothing more at this stage.’

 

James Matthews' younger brother Spencer, pictured with Madeline McQueen in Dublin in 2012, has found fame of his own as the resident love rat on Made In Chelsea
 [Source:-Daily Mail]

Taylor Swift defends herself in latest salvo in Kanye battle

NEW YORK — It’s Taylor vs. Kanye, part 242, with a dash of Kim Kardashian.

West’s famous wife stirred the pot of beef between Taylor Swift and Kanye West on Sunday, when on Snapchat, she posted video of a phone call between the rapper and pop superstar about his song “Famous,” in which he rapped: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex, Why? I made that bitch famous.”

Upon its release in February, West was condemned by many for the line. He insisted that Swift had given her blessing to the lyric, but she denied ever hearing the lyric.

On Twitter on Sunday, Kardashian teased: “Do u guys follow me on snap chat? u really should ;-)”

Then, she unleashed a series of Snapchat videos that threatened to break the internet.

On them, a smiling West tells Swift that he’s working on a song and wants to use the lyric: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex.”

In response, Swift is heard saying she worries about overexposure, but West says the lyric would be good exposure. In the end, she appears to give her blessing.

“It’s like a compliment,” she says. “I really appreciate you telling me about it, that’s really nice.”

“I just had a responsibility to you as a friend. Thanks for being so cool about it,” he responds.

Swift also is heard saying that it’s a tongue-in-cheek line anyway, and that she would let people know she knew about it in advance She also says, “I’m always going to respect you.”

But when the song came out, the entire line was: “I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex, Why? I made that bitch famous.” In a statement released at the time, Swift’s rep said: “Kanye did not call for approval, but to ask Taylor to release his single ‘Famous’ on her Twitter account. … She declined and cautioned him about releasing a song with such a strong misogynistic message. Taylor was never made aware of the actual lyric.”

Many on social media took glee in the leaked audio recordings on Sunday, and suggested that it proved Swift had lied. But in an Instagram post, Swift said that the audio actually proved that she had never approved the use of the word “bitch.”

“Where is the video of Kanye telling me he was going to call me ‘that bitch’ in his song? It doesn’t exist because it never happened. You don’t get to control someone’s emotional response to being called ‘that bitch’ in front of the entire world.

“Of course I wanted to like the song. I wanted to believe Kanye when he told me that I would love the song. I wanted us to have a friendly relationship. He promised to play the song for me, but he never did. While I wanted to be supportive of Kanye on the phone call, you cannot ‘approve’ a song you haven’t heard. Being falsely painted as a liar when I was never given the full story or played any part of the song is character assassination.”

This is the latest chapter in a long feud between the pair that now dates back seven years, when West took the stage as a then 19-year-old Swift beat Beyonce for an MTV Video Music Award. West came on stage as Swift was accepting her award and said, “Yo Taylor, I’m really happy for you, I’mma let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!”

The infamous moment cast West as a villain, and damaged his image; Swift, already a multiplatinum star, went on to more fame. The feud continued for years, but the pair made up last year, with West, Kardashian and Swift publicly trading hugs and smiles in public.

Cut to earlier this year, when “Famous” was released, the feud was back on, and Swift even took a dig at West when she accepted her Grammy for album of the year for “1989”: “There will be people along the way that will try to undercut your success or take credit for your accomplishments or your fame.”

In her Instagram post Sunday, Swift seemed as weary of the public battle as many in the public have become: “I would very much like to be excluded from this narrative, one that I have never asked to be a part of, since 2009.”

[Source:-Ct News]

HPC Pioneers to Speak at ORNL Led OpenSHMEM Workshop

OpenSHMEM 2016, the leading workshop on OpenSHMEM research and related technologies, will be held on August 2 – 4, 2016 in Baltimore, MD. Each year of this workshop, we have engaging speakers and constructive discussions, and we expect no less from this year. The 2016 workshop will feature two dynamic keynote talks.

The first keynote talk, “GPUs, NVLink, and the Dawn of a New SHMEM Golden Age”, will be presented by Steve Oberlin. Steve has been innovating in high-performance computing (HPC) since 1980, when he joined Cray Research bringing up CRAY-1 supercomputers. Career highlights include working for Seymour Cray designing the CRAY-2 and CRAY-3 vector supercomputers, and leading the architecture and design of Cray Research’s first massively parallel processors, the T3D (the first SHMEM machine) and T3E. In the early 21st Century, Steve stepped away from HPC to co-found and lead a couple of cloud computing start-ups, but returned to his first love in 2013, joining NVIDIA as the CTO for Accelerated Computing

The second keynote talk, “IBM’s Directions for Data Centric Systems”, will be presented by James C. Sexton. Dr. James Sexton is and IBM Fellow and Director of the Data Centric Systems department at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center in New York. Dr. Sexton received his Ph.D. in Theoretical Physics from Columbia University, NY. His areas of interest lie in High Performance Computing, Computational Science, Applied Mathematics and Analytics. Prior to joining IBM, Dr. Sexton held appointments as Lecturer then Professor at Trinity College Dublin, as postdoctoral fellow at IBM T. J. Watson Research Center, at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton and at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. He has held adjunct appointments as Director and Founder of the Trinity Center for High Performance Computing, as a Board Member for the Board of Trinity College Dublin, as Senior Research Consultant for Hitachi Dublin Laboratory, and as a Hitachi Research Fellow at Hitachi’s Central Research Laboratory in Tokyo. Dr. Sexton has over 70 publications and has participated on three separate Gordon Bell Award winning teams.

We have also invited Dr. Dhabaleswar K. (DK) Panda to share his extensive experience and knowledge implementing message passing libraries. This talk is entitled “Designing OpenSHMEM and Hybrid MPI+OpenSHMEM Libraries for Exascale Systems: MVAPICH2-X Experience”. DK Panda is a Professor and University Distinguished Scholar of Computer Science and Engineering at the Ohio State University. He has published over 400 papers in the area of high-end computing and networking. The MVAPICH2 libraries with support for MPI and PGAS on IB, Omni-Path, iWARP, RoCE, GPGPUs, Xeon Phis and virtualization (http://mvapich.cse.ohio-state.edu), are currently being used by more than 2,600 organizations worldwide (in 81 countries). This software is empowering several InfiniBand clusters (including the 12th, 15th, and 31st ranked ones) in the TOP500 list. As of June ’16, more than 379,000 downloads have taken place from this project’s site. This software is also being distributed by many InfiniBand, Omni-Path, iWARP and RoCE vendors in their software distributions. He is an IEEE Fellow.

We invite you to attend the OpenSHMEM Workshop, an annual event dedicated to the promotion and advancement of the OpenSHMEM programming interface and to helping shape its future direction. It is the premier venue to discuss and present the latest developments, implementation technologies, tools, trends, recent research ideas and results related to OpenSHMEM. This year’s workshop will explore the ongoing evolution of OpenSHMEM to interoperate with other programming models and hybrid architectures. The focus will be on future extensions to improve OpenSHMEM on current and upcoming architectures keeping in mind the trend towards accelerators. Although, this is an OpenSHMEM specific workshop, we welcome ideas used for other PGAS languages/APIs that may be applicable to OpenSHMEM.

To register, visit the OpenSHMEM 2016 website and follow the registration link. Registration will close on July 18, 2016 at 5pm ET.

[Source:-HPC]

SoftBank agrees to buy mobile chip giant ARM for $32 billion

Japan’s SoftBank will acquire UK chip design company, ARM Holdings, to cash in on growing demand for processors and other technologies for the internet of things and mobile markets.

SoftBank is paying £24.3 billion (US$32 billion) in cash for the chip company that licenses its designs to a large number of chip suppliers to smartphone makers and to the emerging IoT market.

The Japanese company will retain ARM’s headquarters in Cambridge and plans to double the number of employees in the U.K. over the next five years, when it will also increase the company’s headcount outside the U.K.

ARM, with 4,064 employees,  will be an independent business within SoftBank, which will pay for the acquisition from existing cash resources and a loan facility.  SoftBank said it intends to retain the current ARM organization including the existing senior management team, brand, and partnership-based business model and culture.

SoftBank has invested in a number of media and technology companies, including Internet retailer Snapdeal in India and ride-hailing app company Didi Chuxing in China. It also acquired Sprint Nextel in 2013.

mg 6666

GSMA

Simon Segars, CEO of ARM, speaks at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Feb. 23, 2016.

The acquisition of ARM would place the company in a market where it would be an upstream supplier to some of the biggest names in the tech industry as licensees of ARM’s designs like Qualcomm gear up to supply chips to the connected devices market.

“ARM will be an excellent strategic fit within the SoftBank group as we invest to capture the very significant opportunities provided by the ‘Internet of Things,'” said SoftBank Chairman and CEO, Masayoshi Son, in a statement Monday.

ARM and partners have been looking at new opportunities in markets such as robotics, connected vehicles and smart cities. It acquired recently Apical, a provider of imaging and embedded computer vision technology for next generation devices to understand and act intelligently on information from their environment. Apical’s technology will complement the ARM Mali graphics, display and video processor roadmap, ARM said in May.

ARM has been successful in the small devices market, which requires low-power processors that consume far less battery than traditional microprocessors used in bigger gear like PCs, a market in which Intel has been dominant.

“ARM has long-term contracts with its customers so I wouldn’t expect anything to change quickly, but all bets are off for the next generation architecture,” said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategies.  In the long-term SoftBank could restructure anything they wish and could invest more than ARM did to drive the enterprise products forward, he said.

“This could ultimately impact mobile tech giants Apple, Qualcomm, and Samsung. I’m surprised ARM wasn’t purchased sooner,” Moorhead added.

[Source:- PC World]

7 things I wish I’d known about making a tech start-up a success

Laptops

Shara Tochiah specializes in consulting for startups. She has worked internationally across the fitness, hospitality, retail & technology sectors and has founded start ups of her own in the past. Her latest venture DOSE is London’s answer to health and hedonism. Here, she reveals her best tips for making a start-up succeed and how to avoid the mistakes most start-ups make first time round.

image: http://marieclaire.media.ipcdigital.co.uk/11116/000093cdd/f1a7_orh1000w646/Shara-Tochia-lndscape.jpg

1. Don’t do it alone. Founding a business is lonely for a long time working longer hours than any other job & always putting your work first. Understanding the value in co-founders with different skills sets is integral to the long term success of your business. For example I’m good at relationship building & marketing collaboration, however, I am not a creative or writer. I found this really hard first time round when I was setting up Fitness Freak, my previous business, but I learned from my experience. My co-founder now is an excellent creative and writer and together we’re a great package.

2. Validate your idea with customers. All the time. Not just with your friends but with research and focus groups at every stage, which are hugely beneficial to validate your idea. There are many great website that review market trends such as WGSN & Mintel to validate what you are doing and setting up a focus group is simple inviting purchasing customers from your database.

3. Find the right investors. If you are going to raise money for your business in the early stages, raise money from investors that can add value to your business. For example an investor that has founded a business in a similar industry or run a business with asimilar revenue model can provide so much advice and guidance versus just someone with deep pockets.

4. Build something unique. Whether it’s a brand or product or both, build something different. Look at other brands for inspiration but don’t copy. Know your USP at every stage. For example when I launched Fitness Freak, it was the first of it’s kind in the UK market so I looked to the US business Class Pass (then Classtivity) for inspiration.

5. Focus, focus, focus. It’s so easy to get lost in investors, friends and even customers opinions. Focus on your vision and goal. Keep strong and believe in yourself.

6. Retention is key. Getting customers is hard, but keeping them coming back is even harder and the most important. Setting up a CRM system which can communicate targeted e-mails based on purchase behaviour can be an excellent investment for your business in order to entice a customer to return to buy.

7. Get your legals in order. Protect yourself and your company as soon as you can. You can get information on copyright for your product or protect your idea by visiting startups.co.uk and so much more key information for starting a business.
[Source:- Marie Clair]

From Rebranding Ashley Madison To Coworking Trends: This Week’s Top Leadership Stories

<p>These are the stories you loved in Leadership for the week of July 11.</p>

This week we learned how the disgraced dating site Ashley Madison is trying to get back on its feet, what it takes to make a new habit change last for the long haul, and whether a second Brexit referendum has any chance of coming to fruition as Prime Minister Theresa May takes the reigns in the U.K.

These are the stories you loved in Leadership for the week of July 11:

1. THE SECRETS OF PEOPLE WHO MANAGE TO STICK TO HABIT CHANGES

Congratulations on finally kicking that bad habit and taking up a healthier one! Now comes the real challenge: making that change last. Let these masters of long-term habits show you how it’s done.

2. ARE EMPTY HIGH-END RESTAURANTS THE NEXT COWORKING TREND?

Most coworking spaces try to offer users competitive rates, but from paying rent to providing furniture, they’ve got their own overhead to account for. That’s why some restaurants and coffee shops are opening their doors to freelancers during off-hours—often for less than a WeWork membership.

3. WHY ASHLEY MADISON THINKS IT CAN REDEEM ITSELF

The dating site for cheaters has courted controversy since its very beginning, but now Ashley Madison finds itself in survival mode as it tries to regain trust (ironically enough) after a devastating attack by hackers made users’ information public last year. Here’s an inside look at those efforts.

4. IS A BREXIT DO-OVER VOTE LIKELY?

Now that Theresa May is Britain’s new prime minister, attention turns to the government’s efforts to negotiate a way out of the European Union. That hasn’t tamped down widespread calls for a revote, though—the prospects for which, like much else in the U.K. right around now, are looking uncertain.

5. 7 WAYS TO USE LINKEDIN TO LAND SPEAKING GIGS

Want to court speaking opportunities using the LinkedIn profile you already have? It may be easier than you think if you just remember that the platform is essentially a search engine. Here’s how to optimize your account in order to get picked up in event organizers’ searches for speakers.

[Source:- FC]

Buoyant job market, skills and training issues responsible for restless employees – Report

Buoyant job market, skills and training issues responsible for restless employees – Report

One-in-two employees in marketing and communications roles believe their jobs require different skills today than when they were hired.

The latest ‘Hudson Report’ into hiring trends shows a buoyant job market with a positive hiring outlook but also reveals 44% of professionals are looking for a new role.

The report tracked the hiring intentions of 2000 employers and attitudes of 1330 employees in various sectors and disciplines, and also offers a number of insights into marketing and communications roles.

Across the whole study, one-in-three employers plan to increase hiring, a higher amount than the previous four years.

44% of employees are actively looking for new opportunities, up from 26% last year. A further 32% are open to hearing about new opportunities. Only 24% are content to stay put.

“The number of employees with their eyes on the exit has jumped significantly since last year. More professionals are convinced that the buoyant job market is here to stay, and are considering how they can build their career in this environment,” says Dean Davidson, executive general manager, Hudson Recruitment Australia and New Zealand.

“This should sound alarm bells for employers, who will need to redouble their retention efforts and be ready to manage an uptick in staff departures,” he says.

Skills and training issues may explain restlessness among employees.

60% of employees in the study feel more pressured to learn new skills than two years ago, and one-in-two don’t feel supported by management to improve their existing skills.

“Professionals keenly understand that their skills are crucial to their success and employability. We are living in a time of unprecedented disruption: technology evolves fast, change is a constant and employees know they need to keep up,” says Davidson.

“Employers need to meet them in the middle. Skills development is crucial to ensuring individuals can perform, progress and deliver for the business, yet this continues to be a blind spot for employers, evidenced by the fact that less than half have a defined strategy to train their people.”

 

The top 10 hard skills selected by employers in marketing and communications roles for the year ahead are:

  1. Data analytics,
  2. consumer insights analytics,
  3. digital,
  4. content marketing and writing,
  5. project management,
  6. eCommerce,
  7. marketing brand,
  8. community engagement,
  9. business development and/or sales, and
  10. email marketing and/or automation.

 

The top 10 soft skills selected by employers are:

  1. Stakeholder engagement,
  2. digital literacy,
  3. innovative thinking,
  4. resilience,
  5. negotiation and influencing,
  6. drive for results,
  7. critical thinking,
  8. driving and managing change,
  9. learning agility, and
  10. data literacy.

[Source:- Marketing]

Syphilis and gonorrhoea ‘still on the rise’ in England

Condoms

Syphilis and gonorrhoea sexually transmitted infections are continuing to rise in England, new figures show.

Between 2012 and 2015, cases of syphilis increased by 76%, from 3,001 to 5,288, while gonorrhoea infections rose by 53%, from 26,880 to 41,193, Public Health England data reveals.

The rise was notable among men who have sex with men.

At the same time, rates of genital warts decreased, thanks to a vaccination campaign.

Rates of sexually transmitted infections as a group also went down slightly, totalling 434,456. But experts say this could be because fewer people came forward for testing.

Chlamydia was the most commonly diagnosed STI, accounting for nearly half of the cases diagnosed in 2015.

GonorrhoeaImage copyrightSPL
Image captionCases of gonorrhoea have been increasing in recent years

Young people are routinely offered chlamydia screening, but only 13% of young men and 32% of young women were tested in 2015.

The large fall in genital warts – a 7% drop – was seen in young women, and experts say this was probably because of the national human papilloma virus vaccination programme.

All girls aged 12 to 13 are offered the jab as part of the NHS childhood vaccination programme.

The FPA charity’s chief executive, Natika Halil, said boys should be offered the vaccine too, which is something ministers are considering.

Genevieve Edwards, of Marie Stopes UK, said the statistics should “set alarm bells ringing” about the availability of sexual health services for young people and men who have sex with men.

“We have to keep a focus on preventing sexual ill health, and providing prompt diagnosis and treatment to those who need it,” she added.

The British Association for Sexual Health and HIV said the continued rise of gonorrhoea was extremely disturbing, given the further spread of drug-resistant infections.

Dr Gwenda Hughes, head of STI surveillance at PHE, said: “We need to do more to raise awareness about STIs and how they can be prevented, especially the effectiveness of using condoms.

“We recommend that anyone having sex with a new or casual partner uses condoms and tests regularly for HIV and STIs.”


STIs

  • Gonorrhoea – a bacterial infection that may go unnoticed but can cause pain or burning when you urinate and a white, yellow or green discharge
  • Syphilis – a bacterial infection that initially causes highly infectious sores but can go on to cause serious conditions such as heart problems
  • Chlamydia – a bacterial infection that is often symptomless but can cause pain and an unusual discharge. Untreated, it can harm fertility
  • Genital warts – small, fleshy growths caused by a virus that although usually symptomless ,are very contagious. The wart virus – HPV – has been linked to cervical cancer which is why girls are offered a vaccine
  • Herpes – a virus that causes painful blisters and sores
  • HIV – a virus spread by unprotected sexual intercourse as well as contact with infected blood
  • Trichomoniasis – an STI caused by a parasite. It rarely causes symptoms in men but in women can cause an unusual discharge
  • Pubic lice – crawling lice that are spread by close physical contact
  • Scabies – small mites that burrow into the skin and are spread by close physical contact

[Source:- BBC]

What’s Hot and What’s Not in Employee Job Benefits

What's Hot and What's Not in Employee Job Benefits

Over-the-top employee benefits like companies that pay for employees’ weddings get a lot of publicity, but what kinds of benefits are smaller companies really offering? The latest SHRM survey, which primarily polled smaller businesses, has some insights into what types of benefits are hot (and not).

According to the SHRM, the top three benefits employees say matter most to their job satisfaction are paid time off (63 percent), healthcare/medical benefits (62 percent) and flexibility to balance life and work issues (53 percent). Although benefits can be costly to offer—the report says they account for over 31 percent of the cost of employee compensation, on average—they are essential to attract and keep workers. The majority (60 percent) of companies in the survey say the number of benefits they offer hasn’t changed from last year, while one-third have increased benefits, continuing a trend from the prior year.

Hot Trends in Employee Job Benefits

Hot: Telecommuting
Not: Job sharing

In the past 20 years, the number of companies offering telecommuting as a benefit has tripled, from 20 percent to 60 percent. Other benefits providing work-life balance—including flextime and compressed workweek—haven’t changed in popularity. Job sharing, however, dropped from 24 percent of companies offering it in 1996 to 10 percent this year.

Hot: Bonuses
Not: Raises

Employees love raises, and it’s true that annual raises are an important part of most companies’ compensation plans. However, in the last five years, many businesses have shifted their focus to bonuses rather than raises as a way of controlling payroll costs. More than half of companies surveyed offer non-executive bonus plans. There have also been increases in the number of companies offering spot bonuses or signing bonuses for both execs and non-execs, and retention bonuses.

Hot: Wellness
Not: On-site Health Screening

Healthcare insurance is pretty much a given, with more than 95 percent of companies surveyed also offering dental insurance and prescription drug coverage. Some 87 percent provide vision insurance, while 85 percent offer mental health coverage. Wellness benefits are growing in popularity, now offered by 72 percent of companies compared with 54 percent in 1996. The most common wellness benefits are wellness resources and information, wellness programs and on-site flu vaccinations. Declining in popularity: on-site health screenings for things like high cholesterol or glucose testing. Another growing trend: about one-fourth of companies now offer healthcare services, such as diagnosis and treatment recommendations, by phone or videoconference.

Hot: Paid time off
Not: Sabbaticals

Nearly all companies (97 percent) either provide paid vacation leave or paid time off plans that combine vacation time, sick time and personal time. In addition, 97 percent offer paid holidays. Less popular: Just 26 percent provide paid maternity leave beyond what state law or short-term disability benefits mandate, and 21 percent offer paid paternity leave. Unpaid sabbaticals dropped in popularity, offered by just 12 percent of companies, down from 27 percent in 1996.

Hot: Families

Family-friendly benefits are on the rise. Nearly four out of 10 companies have an on-site lactation/mother’s room, one-fourth let employees bring their children to work in an emergency, and one-fourth provide benefits other than health insurance to same-or opposite-sex domestic partners.

Hot: Retirement Plans

Retirement benefits remain pretty much unchanged in the past 20 years. Nine out of 10 companies have a 401(k) or similar defined contribution retirement plan; of those, 74 percent offer an employer match. There has been an increase in the number of companies offering a Roth 401(k) plan in the past few years.

What’s new?

New benefits measured in the survey for the first time this year include executive coaching (offered by 16 percent of companies), a stipend or subsidy for using employee-owned technological devices for work (12 percent) and automatically enrolling employees into a defined contribution retirement savings plan (21 percent).

What’s the takeaway for your business?

• You need good benefits to be competitive. Overall, the survey reports, the percentage of company offering basics such as health insurance and retirement plans has not changed substantially in the past 20 years.
• Flexible work arrangements are especially valuable in attracting Millennial and 55+ year old employees, two extremely desirable groups for most businesses.
• A good wellness program can help cut the cost of healthcare benefits, which is typically the most expensive component of any benefits program.
• Providing career development benefits not only attracts and retains employees, but can also help your business build the skills you need your staff to have. Almost nine out of 10 companies surveyed now pay employees’ professional membership dues, up from 65 percent in 1996.

[Source:- Small Business Trends ]