Daily Archives: May 20, 2023

AFRL conducts swarm technology demonstration > ONE AFRL … – afrl.af.mil

Posted: May 20, 2023 at 10:42 am

KIRTLAND AIR FORCE BASE, N.M. The Air Force Research Laboratory, or AFRL, conducted a demonstration, April 5, 2023, of its high-power microwave counter drone weapon, the Tactical High-power Operational Responder, or THOR, as it engaged a swarm of multiple targets at the Chestnut Test Site, Kirtland Air Force Base.The THOR team flew numerous drones at the THOR system to simulate a real-world swarm attack, said Adrian Lucero, THOR program manager at AFRLs Directed Energy Directorate. THOR has never been tested against these types of drones before, but this did not stop the system from dropping the targets out of the sky with its non-kinetic, speed-of-light High-Power Microwave, or HPM pulses, he said.Capt. Eric Plummer, a test engineer with AFRLs Directed Energy Directorate, operated the THOR system and has been with the THOR program for nearly two years. He was responsible for aiming the THOR system at the swarm.THOR was exceptionally effective at disabling the swarm with its wide beam, high peak powers and fast-moving gimbal to track and disable the targets, said Lucero. 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} return isMobile; } });As the dangers from drone swarms evolve, leaders from across the Department of Defense are working closely to ensure we are exploring different technologies like directed energy to support the needs of the warfighter in the future against such threats.THOR was extremely efficient with a near continuous firing of the system during the swarm engagement, said Capt. Tylar Hanson, THOR deputy program manager. It is an early demonstrator, and we are confident we can take this same technology and make it more effective to protect our personnel around the world.While AFRL celebrates the success of the demonstration, leaders at Kirtland are recognizing the hard work of their team who have decades of research in high-power electromagnetic technologies.We couldnt have come this far without the perseverance and professionalism of the entire THOR team, said Ken Miller, AFRLs high power electromagnetics division chief. Our scientists, Airmen and contractors worked early mornings and late nights to make this swarm demo...a great success. AFRL is committed to developing such advanced technologies to defend our service members on the front lines.For more information about THOR technology, visit https://afresearchlab.com/technology/directed-energy/successstories/counter-swarm-high-power-weapon/About AFRLThe Air Force Research Laboratory is the primary scientific research and development center for the Department of the Air Force. AFRL plays an integral role in leading the discovery, development and integration of affordable warfighting technologies for our air, space and cyberspace force. With a workforce of more than 11,500 across nine technology areas and 40 other operations across the globe, AFRL provides a diverse portfolio of science and technology ranging from fundamental to advanced research and technology development. For more information, visit http://www.afresearchlab.com. THOR AFRL Tactical High-power Operational Responder

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Shell to use new AI technology in deep sea oil exploration – Reuters

Posted: at 10:42 am

NEW YORK, May 17 (Reuters) - Shell Plc (SHEL.L) will use AI-based technology from big-data analytics firm SparkCognition in its deep sea exploration and production to boost offshore oil output, the companies said on Wednesday.

SparkCognition's AI algorithms will process and analyze large amounts of seismic data in the hunt for new oil reservoirs by Shell, the largest oil producer in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

"We are committed to finding new and innovative ways to reinvent our exploration ways of working," Gabriel Guerra, Shell's vice president of innovation and performance, said in a statement.

The goal is to improve operational efficiency and speed, and increase production and success in exploration. The new process can shorten explorations to less than nine days from nine months, the companies said.

"Generative AI for seismic imaging can positively disrupt the exploration process and has broad and far-reaching implications," said Bruce Porter, chief science officer for Austin, Texas-based SparkCognition.

The technology would generate subsurface images using fewer seismic data scans than usual, helping with deep sea preservation, the companies said. Seismic technology sends sound waves to explore subsurface areas.

Fewer seismic surveys accelerate exploration workflow and would save costs in high-performance computing, they added.

Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Richard Chang

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Thomson Reuters

A New-York-based correspondent covering the U.S. crude market and member of the energy team since 2018 covering the oil and fuel markets as well as federal policy around renewable fuels.Contact: 646-737-4649

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Former Google CEO says AI at ‘center’ of technology competition between US and China – Fox News

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A former Google CEO said during a Congressional hearing on Wednesday that artificial intelligence (AI) is at the "center" of the technology competition between the United States and China.

Eric Schmidt, who was CEO of Google from 2001 to 2011, made the comment during Wednesday's House hearing focusing on strategic competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

"I think the technology competition between China and the U.S. is the defining moment of all of the competitions," Schmidt said. "And of that, artificial intelligence, AI, which is now a lot of people are talking about, is very much at the center of this competition."

Elaborating on his point, Schmidt said that "China is now dedicating enormous resources to outpace the US and technologies, in particular AI."


Former CEO & Chairman of Google and Chainlink Advisor Eric Schmidt speaks at Chainlink's SmartCon 2022 Web3 Conference on September 28, 2022 in New York City. (Eugene Gologursky/Getty Images for SmartContract)

"We're not talking about it tonight, but basically quantum cyber, AI, biology, computer science and new energy are also on the list, and they're all strategic and they're all under attack," he said.

Schmidt said the U.S. is "still ahead" in the technology and innovation race, he said the world is "trying to catch up."

"First, we have to invest in science and technology research, basic and applied at the National Security Commission and AI which you all appointed me the chairman of a while ago," Schmidt said. "Congress must pass technology focused legislation in each year because the race continues apace."

Schmidt also said that the H-1B visa problem needs to be addressed in order to help the country's innovation in technology.


China's national flag is seen in front of cranes on a construction site at a commercial district in Beijing, China, January 26, 2016. (REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon)

Wednesday's hearing sought witness testimony from those who will outline the "pervasive scope of the CCPs economic espionage in the U.S."

The House China committee was approved in an overwhelming bipartisan vote in January to establish the Select Committee on China, which is designed to re-examine the country's strategic competition with China.

China leader Xi Jinpings speech to mark the 100th anniversary of the CCP left experts sounding the alarm over the American press coverage of the communist nation. (Xinhua/Shen Hong via Getty Images)

"We spent decades passing policies that welcomed China into the global system," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said in January. "In return, China has exported oppression, aggression and anti-Americanism. Today, the power of its military and economy are growing at the expense of freedom and democracy worldwide."

McCarthy said there's bipartisan consensus that the era of trusting "communist China" has ended.


The House voted 365-65 to approve the creation of the committee.

Fox News' Peter Kasperowicz contributed to this report.

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Agriculture and technology combine to drive the industrys growth – Times of India

Posted: at 10:42 am

The Indian agricultural industry is one of the leading players in the global market. It has grown significantly over the period of time and technology has a vital role to play in this rapid development. However, the country is yet to reach its optimal potential and the government, as well as analysts, are optimistic that technology will be a gamechanger for the industry.

In India, agriculture is heavily dependent on nature. Unfortunately, conditions like climate and global warming cause disruptions in farming activities. The growing population, the rising demand for food grains, soil degradation and pollution further impact the agri-ecosystem. This puts forth the need to educate farmers about the use of modern technology and innovative approaches to increase productivity and profitability.

Tech solutions driving the growth of the Indian agricultural industry

Over the course of time, technology has facilitated the rapid growth of the agricultural industry. From simple hoes, we have evolved and now use fully mechanized equipment, planters, irrigation machines, harvesters, millers, etc. It is due to technology that we can accurately predict climate and even prepare for unforeseen circumstances, reduce water usage, etc. All such innovations lead to high yields and increased net profits, thereby benefiting both farmers and the produce.

With digitization, agritech has emerged at the forefront and is gaining prominence. Tech innovations are upscaling agricultural activities and are impacting various aspects of agriculture. For instance, mechanization has led to efficient tilling, harvesting and reduction in manual labor. Even irrigation methods and transportation systems have improved, thanks to tech adoption. Lets take a closer look at how technology is transforming the agricultural sector

Weed removal through robotics

New-age technologies help decrease the usage of chemicals. For instance, herbicide use can be reduced significantly by mechanical weed removal with the help of solar-powered and laser-aided robots. Such advanced equipment leverage computer vision to identify the weeds and remove them with laser. Soil solarization is another effective method, wherein the ground is covered with transparent, airtight material (usually plastic), so that the solar energy can heat the field. This way, weeds and pests can be removed easily without using any chemicals. Driven by AI and Robotics, such solutions are the perfect example of the next-gen evolution of agritech.

Use of drones

Drones are helping to increase field capacity, improve efficiency and reduce field operational delays and wastage of pesticides and fertilizers. They also reduce human exposure to hazardous chemicals by facilitating the transition from conventional methods of spraying chemicals and fertilizer application. Drones have made directed and localized spraying of fungicides and insecticides possible over mass spraying of chemicals. Using drones is not only a cost-saving and time-efficacious process but also reduces the transfer of chemicals in the supply chain. In fact, this technology is highly appreciated and promoted by the government. The Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (DA&FW) has released the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to provide concise instructions for the effective and safe usage of drones for pesticides and nutrient application. Additionally, The Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIB&RC) has enlisted the guidelines for registration requirements of pesticides for drone application.

Adopting traditional approach of using jeevamrut

As the trend of sustainable farming is gaining prominence, the need of the hour is to adopt practices that are environmentally-friendly and help improve yield. The usage of Jeevamrut is one such process that works on the principle of sustainability, enhances the quality of the produce and even protects the farm from insect attack.

Indian Vruksh Ayurveda, a part of Agnipurana, is an ancient Indian scripture highlighting the significance of agricultural science. The text deals with the science of plant life, enlisting how we can grow crops naturally and improve their productivity. It also promotes the production and usage of jeevamrut, a kind of traditional Indian bio pesticide. It is an organic manure created with the combination of 12 different ingredients like cow dung, cow urine, jaggery, pulses flour, soil and water. Jeevamrut benefits the plants and boosts soil health. Even today, many farmers prefer using this over chemicals and are, in fact, saving lots of money.

To sum up

From the planting to the harvesting stage, technology has the power to impact yields at all stages of the agricultural process. Today, it is taking charge of some of the major challenges that are impacting the agricultural sector and is helping the industry grow. In fact, India has been able to achieve self-sufficiency in food grain production by harnessing the power of modern methods of agriculture.

Amidst high labor costs, shortage of skilled workforce and food security affecting the agricultural landscape, farmers need technology to cater to the rising demand. When combined with agriculture, technology can bring significant positive impact on the industry, farmers and the produce. As per industry reports, Indian farmers can save $2 billion annually by adopting technology.

But its an undeniable fact that tech adoption is comparatively lower and efforts need to be made to facilitate the same. Simultaneously, we need to understand that the right balance of traditional approaches and modern technologies is essential to boost the agricultural sector. The governments initiatives like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana, Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana, Gramin Bhandaran Yojana, etc., are uplifting farmers and providing them with technical know-how and financial assistance to accept and adopt technological solutions. We need to encourage farmers to adopt these initiatives and strike a balance between leveraging technology and practicing traditional methods.

Views expressed above are the author's own.


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Technology and the Skills Shortage – Financial Times

Posted: at 10:42 am

Developed nations are facing a worker shortage. As pandemic restrictions have loosened, the demand for goods and services has rebounded but the supply of workers remains static.

In the UK, the US and the EU, vacancies have increased to match or outstrip the availability of people. In Britain this is most noticeable in the public sector, especially health and transport, but the shortage afflicts private companies too.

In February the British Chambers of Commerce reported the results of its 2022 survey of 5,600 firms. This showed that recruitment was harder than ever: nearly two in three firms wanted to hire people but eight in 10 of these said finding either skilled or unskilled workers was difficult.

The US has a similar problem. In November, Jay Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, said the labour force was 3.5mn workers shy of pre-pandemic forecasts. He said 2mn of the shortfall could be due to more people retiring early.

Job openings exceeded available workers by 4mn, equal to 1.7 jobs for each jobseeker. In March, the US Chamber of Commerce said the worker participation rate was 62.6 per cent, down from 63.3 per cent in February 2020. The reasons range from illness (an individual or family member) to low pay rates, to a desire to focus on acquiring more skills before re-entering the workforce.

Technology experts are in short supply everywhere but in America in particular the situation is acute, affecting tech businesses and those companies in other sectors that rely on an IT function.

The Computing Technology Industry Association, also known as CompTIA, is a non-profit organisation that supports the US technology industry. It said that 9.1mn people were employed in technology in 2022 six per cent of the US workforce. Some 61 per cent of that total were tech professionals such as software developers and network architects, while the others were in sector support roles.

Basic technological capability is essential for many workers. In the 12 months to August 2022, 10.7mn job postings required computer literacy in occupations from HR to nursing.

In Europe the battle for talent is no less severe.

Annabelle Gawer, director of the centre of digital economy at the University of Surrey, says the digital transformation has affected every company, blurring the line between tech and other sectors. She says that with hiring there is no such thing as the tech sector anymore.

In January a survey by the German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) reported that more than half of 22,000 companies had difficulty hiring people. The situation was more extreme for technical businesses: two-thirds of groups in the electrical equipment, mechanical engineering and carmaking industries could not fill vacancies.

Another survey said the main personnel challenge for nearly a third of respondents was hiring. This situation was expected to continue for the next 12 months. The State of European Tech22 poll, compiled by Atomico, looked at more than 4,000 companies that had raised at least $500,000 from venture investors in the past year. On top of recruitment problems, as many as a quarter of companies expected talent retention to be an issue, up by 66 per cent on 2022.

In the UK the shortfall in tech talent was revealed in the 2023 Hays UK Salary & Recruiting Trends report. Data collated in late 2022 from 13,000 employers and professionals showed that demand for technology experts was expected to remain high. Almost all employers had experienced skills shortages in the past 12 months, and three-quarters had increased workers salaries. Despite this, nearly two-thirds of staff were looking to change jobs. Competition within such a small talent pool was a concern.

A spate of tech job losses 200,000 worldwide and 16,000 in Europe last year, according to Atomico gathered pace in 2023 but this had only a marginal effect on worries over the hiring squeeze.

Gawer says: It may well be that because there has been so much laying off of workers in tech firms that the shortage may ease up a bit and these people find themselves working in other companies.

Such reabsorption could mean that the effect of any excess headcount does not last long. Based on official releases, CompTIA estimates that tech unemployment lifted slightly from just below to just above 2 per cent in January 2023, compared with a rate of slightly below 4 per cent in the broader economy.

Long-term demand for tech talent is not expected to abate. Based on its digital ambitions the EU alone wants 20mn technology specialists, which compares with the 9mn it had in 2021.

All countries aim to plug similar gaps, so importing specialists will be unsustainable. In 82 countries surveyed by Nash Squared for its Digital Leadership Report 2022, 58 per cent of tech company leaders expected their skills needs to increase while 70 per cent said a skills shortage was holding them back, the highest level in 24 years.

The problem is seeded at the early stages of education. The explosive growth of the digital economy has intensified competition for graduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem), worsening the imbalance between supply and demand.

In Britain this feeds into the workplace at entry level. Adzuna, the job search engine, recorded the highest number of tech vacancies in 10 years between January and May 2022. More of these roles were at a senior rather than junior level, suggesting that workers had insufficient routes to gain the experience sought. With too few students taking Stem subjects, the problem is unlikely to improve quickly.

Ideally government policy would address the education deficit, especially as the UK aims to be a science and technology superpower. The skills gap is a long-running issue, as noted at a recent inquiry by the House of Lords.

One problem identified by Baroness Brown of Cambridge, who led the Science and Technology Committee inquiry, is the inadequacy of government oversight of its huge numbers of initiatives.

She says that without data to identify which line to pursue or discard, the governments solution seemed to be to add another initiative...We really need to do a much more thorough analysis of what has worked...and we need government departments to be working together on these things, not working against each other.

Analysis may improve with the creation of the Unit for Future Skills within the Department for Education. Its job is to assess how to report jobs and skills data but this will take time. Time will also be needed to measure the progress of the Department for Science, Innovation and Technology, set up in February.

Policy seems similarly ineffective in the US even though the National Science and Technology Council has had a committee to monitor Stem programmes since 2011.

This issue is not unique to Britain and America. Nearly three-quarters of respondents to the Nash Squared survey said they feel their governments policies are completely ineffective in tackling the digital skills shortage. The Asia Pacific region outperforms, however, with respondents four times more likely to have said that effective policies are in place.

The technology skill deficit applies to broader populations too. Last years report on human capital by the European Commission said only 54 per cent of Europeans had at least basic digital skills, far short of the 2030 target of 70 per cent. In the UK, a Department for Education report in 2022 said that people now needed basic digital capability simply to interact in society.

The Royal Society, the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence, wants to see British children given a more broad and balanced education with maths and science at the heart. Witnesses to Browns House of Lords inquiry said coding was as essential as reading, writing and arithmetic for children aged 5-11.

As well as starting technical subjects earlier, some people believe learning should continue once formal education ends. In January Rishi Sunak, the prime minister, embraced part of this vision when he pledged to make maths a compulsory subject up to the age of 18. This promise will be hard to fulfil, however. The Association of School and College Leaders immediately pointed out that there were too few qualified teachers to meet even the previous targets.

Brown says too few maths and science teachers are university graduates of the subjects they teach, and that this often results in a lack of confidence and enthusiasm on the part of both teachers and students.

She says: I think we have an interest in the subject deficit which if were not careful starts at secondary school, where a lot of these subjects get taught by non-specialist staff.

Teachers find themselves teaching right out of, potentially, their comfort zone, so it doesnt give young people a message that these are really exciting subjects or important, for that matter.

So then they gradually cut themselves off from being able to go on to A-levels and then to degree-level subjects. And of course if we dont inspire them about science and technology, they probably cut themselves off from those apprenticeship routes as well.

It doesnt help that while teachers are required to do teaching-related continuing professional development (CPD), there is no obligation to undertake subject-related CPD, even in areas as fast-moving as technology.

The use of technology in education is now widespread, from basic tools such as video conferencing, which helps with lesson delivery, to AI programs that assist students to learn more effectively and enhance their grades. In the workplace, training and competency assessments are often carried out online, and communication tools improve collaboration and productivity.

Technology can also boost returns on formal learning. Obrizum, a Cambridge scale-up, uses AI to formulate personalised training programmes. These start with an assessment of a learners knowledge and build up from there in a way that is unique to their progress. To eliminate guesswork, users not only have to pick the right answers but also to score their conviction level. This gamification of learning is more effective than any one size fits all training programme.

Such courses give companies data on what their employees know and how well they learn, and they reduce the time taken to achieve better outcomes. Workers knowledge can also be mapped against a companys requirements. With good data, companies can find why certain employees do not perform well and change their processes to achieve better outcomes.

Rose Luckin, professor of learner-centred design at the UCL Knowledge Lab in London, carried out a study with a financial services company that trained traders. They thought the reason so many traders left the business very soon after training was because they needed to do something about the training, she says. We were able to highlight the fact that the [problem lay in] recruiting the right people.

With enough data, studies can also show how employees might be better at a different task, so maybe theyre not going to be the best trader in the world but they might be great at compliance.

Separately another university study revealed which teaching method online or in person, for instance worked well with different students and why. This allowed the university to decide when to intervene to make sure a student learns effectively. AI techniques such as process mining are among the technologies that can extract such data. Still it takes a human to pull it together and say what it might mean, Luckin says.

Better education about tech could solve two impediments to automation lack of expertise and cultural resistance for fear of job losses flagged up in the Nash Squared report. In the first, it needs to be broadly understood that technology is a supplement to human input, not a replacement, and in the second that training can help to reposition workers in roles where they can work with tech, not be replaced by it.

We have to help people understand technology, and particularly AI, because it really is going to be part of their job whatever they do, whether its in a supermarket or on a farm, Luckin says.

Despite misgivings, the use of digital labour has increased markedly in the four years to 2022, the Nash Squared data show. Machine learning and recognition software can be used in repetitive white-collar tasks such as document drafting, while manual labour for example in warehouses is being replaced by robotics.

Luckin focuses on the interface between AI and the white-collar worker, where productivity gains are significant. But she says we should not offload tasks just because we can. We have to look very carefully at what the technology is good at doing and what the human is good at doing and work out where the sweet spot is, because that is where you increase productivity.

ChatGPT does not understand anything it produces and to offload inappropriately to a tool that is so ignorant is dangerous.

Areas where technology is better at a task than humans processing vast quantities of data, for instance are where it can be put to best use, but humans must be involved to understand the output.

ChatGPT, a commercially-available AI chatbot, is upending education. While search engines called into question the value of learning facts why should students remember them when they can use Google? ChatGPT undermines the foundation of the education system.

If an [artificial] intelligence can pass an assessment when it doesnt understand a word it produces then that assessment is wrong, Luckin says.

You have to change the way the assessment is done, she says, adding that ChatGPT could be incorporated if it is used to help students make better judgments about what they believe to be true.

Gordon Pelosse, senior vice-president of employer engagement at CompTIA, lays some of the blame for the technology hiring squeeze at the door of government.

He argues that the push to encourage more Stem students has had a detrimental effect. He agrees that having more Stem graduates is good, but young people now believe you have to have strong Stem skills to enter tech and its misleading.

Pelosse says that widening the search beyond students focused on a career in technology what he calls tech intent to those with general career intent increases the number of potential candidates from 6mn to 50mn.

An obsession with qualifications has also skewed corporate hiring policies. Offering internships, apprenticeships or even on the job training to people without qualifications would provide a more sensible route to roles such as working on a help desk.

Companies that want to increase their options can do so with early intervention, with visits to schools to encourage students and parents to consider career opportunities.

This is especially relevant given that forward-thinking companies should look afresh at the type of people to hire. We dont necessarily need more tech workers in the traditional sense, says Gawer of Surrey university. She believes that as consumer resistance to technology increases, perhaps due to concerns over job automation or surveillance, the demand will be for bilingual people who can operate in the technical world without being divorced from the rest of the enterprise.

She says: I dont think we need more coders because the coders themselves are going to be replaced by robots that can code. What we need is people who consider how technology is used: the commercial, legal, ethical and human resources implications.

Luckin agrees. I think we need to refine what we mean by technical skills. We need to include within that more interdisciplinary skills, more people who understand the technology and the way it impacts on humans. She adds that the need is for people able to talk about technologies in non-technical ways.

Companies that fall behind in these areas will lose out with consumers, especially younger generations that place greater emphasis on values. They also run the risk of falling foul of regulators.

Besides anticipating a new type of technology worker and the skill sets needed, companies can also think laterally about where to find people with technical skills. In a twist used to entice the technology-savvy generation, TikTok has been involved in a campaign to recruit experts, such as gamers, who have less conventional training.

Technology can help with recruitment in other ways. In January, CompTIA launched a free tool developed with Lightcast, the labour market analytics provider. This optimises advertisements based on skills and outcomes rather than qualifications and inputs. The system can produce a posting that helps employers reach a far wider pool.

Pelosse believes it could be transformative. Getting [technology employers] to use it is the next step. Part of that is the recognition of the need: trying to educate employers how they can have bias in their job posting inadvertently by picking certain schools, or how they can fall into the trap of using a degree as a proxy.

The advantage of looking at a wider pool cannot be emphasised too strongly. CyberUp, a non-profit cyber security organisation, says 95 per cent of job openings require five or more years experience, while only 40 per cent of cyber security workers have been in the field that long.

Recruiting with a more open brief can open the door to greater diversity. Apprenticeships supported by the same organisation achieve better representation than industry averages across gender and ethnicity.

Apprenticeships are a viable route to filling roles. Nationalapprenticeship.org, a US project backed at the federal level, says that for every dollar invested in an apprentice the return is $1.47, plus a public return of $28. While Pelosse is pleased at initiatives that chip away at increasing apprenticeships, more could be done to make them widely available. Its a challenge, he says. American employers dont see apprenticeships the same way that the UK and other countries see them.

In Britain, the House of Lords inquiry advised that apprenticeships should be more flexible in terms of the application process, giving workers the option to relocate and allowing the apprenticeship levy to be used by older workers for life-long learning.

Such modifications could also benefit social mobility. In the same inquiry, Robert Halfon, the UK education minister, said that apprenticeships solve so many problems, notably helping people from disadvantaged areas climb the ladder of opportunity.

According to the Financial Times nearly $400bn a year is spent globally on training. Informal or on-the-job learning is not valued despite more than 70 per cent of workers participating in it. This compares with 41 per cent in non-formal training and just 8 per cent in formal training. It is also beneficial for the employer, which is great news for UK companies that collectively invest only half the EU average per worker. The OECD reckons that an hour of informal learning costs $15.50 for an annual return of $55. Formal training lasts longer but involves fewer people. Northern Europe and New Zealand offer the most training of any kind.

Even with the benefits of informal learning, formal training cannot be ignored. According to McKinsey research as many as 375mn workers globally may have to change their occupations in the coming decade, making retraining an essential consideration (on the upside, automation could free up nearly a third of their time for new work).

Investment in training brings benefits to companies beyond those that are experiencing significant change. A 2018 study by LinkedIn found that 94 per cent of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. Younger generations in particular want an employer that cares about wellbeing.

Training is key to keeping a productive workforce and it can be less costly than hiring. According to the World Economic Forum, it would be cheaper to reskill a quarter of all workers in at-risk jobs in the US than it would be to find new ones; this is based on financial considerations alone, never mind societal and other effects. Collaboration such as pooling industry resources could lift this proportion to half of the workforce.

CompTIA may provide an example of how this can be done. The organisation makes use of professionals experience of given roles to create training programmes. There is a job task analysis and then we create questions that test knowledge around the functions of that job, Pelosse says. Member partners provide the expertise to tell us what those people that work in that job everyday need to know. The partner programme has given 3mn certifications to 2mn people.

The carrot of education could be especially useful in enticing opted-out workers to return to the jobs market, especially as many Americans currently outside the workplace give learning new skills as a reason.

One in five companies have looked to recruit overseas because of a shortage of talent at home, according to Remote, the global talent consultant, which polled 1,400 hiring managers. In the UK this strategy may be working if statistics on the post-Brexit immigration of skilled workers are a guide. This is not a long-term solution, however. As Brown points out, we cant go on pinching other countries talent indefinitely.

While communication platforms can aid collaboration and inclusivity, they may also increase inequalities, possibly due to a lack of connectivity or literacy.

As ever, cyber security is a risk. A 2022 report by ISC2 flags up the shortage of expertise. The global cyber security organisation says there are 4.7mn cyber security experts but 3.4mn more are needed. This is not an area that companies can afford to ignore.

It is no longer sufficient simply to be able to operate basic hardware. In an increasingly digital world, people need to be taught about techs limitations as well as how they, personally, can be manipulated by the machines they use to connect and entertain themselves.

Gawer warns that it is dangerous to rely on technology without understanding the tricks used by companies to foster such reliance. The man or the woman on the street needs to understand enough about how technology works so that they keep a sense of agency and sovereignty in decision-making, she says.

Studies are only as good as the questions asked and the quality of the data used. Companies that want insights into their employees and processes must spend time to decide on the right questions as well as to source and clean the data.

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New License Agreement Announced for Next-Generation Base … – BioPharm International

Posted: at 10:42 am

The pin-point system is completely modular, allowing for different components to be selected for optimal performance specific to the gene targets.

Revvity, Inc. announced on May 18, 2023, a new license agreement with AstraZeneca for the technology underlying technology in its Pin-point base editing system, which is a next-generation modular gene editing platform with a strong safety profile.

The Pin-point system and the base editing technology is defined as allowing highly efficient, precise single and multi-gene editing without unintended impact on cell viability or functionality. According to the press release, this newer editing system uses a modified Cas enzyme that only marks one strand of the DNA, which allows for a more controlled approach to gene distribution and base correction.

Different from other editing systems, the pin-point system is completely modular, allowing for different components to be selected for optimal performance specific to the gene targets. Additionally, Revvity has also developed a novel proprietary method to leverage the base editing mechanism to insert genes, like creating an allogeneic CAR-T cell therapy by knocking in a CAR while knocking out immune markers at the same time, according to the press release.

Our fundamental goal for the Pin-point platform is to translate the technology from pre-clinical research into the clinic, and ultimately, impact patient lives, said Alan Fletcher, PhD, senior vice president, Life Sciences at Revvity, in a press release. In that vein, we are delighted to announce this non-exclusive agreement with AstraZeneca to support their creation of cell therapies for the treatment of cancer and immune-mediated diseases.

Source: Revvity

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Orion Governance Licenses Technology from GE to Deliver Next Generation Data Governance Solution – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 10:42 am

Orion will embed certain GE data governance solutions to help ensure enhanced security in todays multi-cloud/hybrid IT landscape

SAN MATEO, May 19, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Orion Governance, a leader in Metadata Management solutions and the provider of the Enterprise Information Intelligence Graph (EIIG), announced today it has signed a license agreement with GE (NYSE:GE) for technology that will support Orion to deliver a next-generation data governance solution. Orion will embed select proprietary tools developed internally by GEs Gas Power business in the EIIG platform to enhance Orions data governance and security capabilities, and GE plans to implement EIIG for certain internal data governance purposes The relevant tools developed by GE include near real-time data access governance against enterprise-defined access rules, a solution for automated infrastructure governance, and a secure data access control program to encrypt and control data extraction.

The goal of licensing technology from GE is to help enterprises better manage, govern, and secure their data in today's hybrid cloud environment, and GEs softwareembedded in Orions EIIG platformwill help us provide our customers with a compelling, holistic, and industry-best data governance solution, said Ramesh Shurma, Founder/CEO at OrionGovernance. GEs solutions will greatly enhance Orion EIIG platforms existing data fabric, data catalog, data lineage, data trust propagation, and active metadata analytics capabilities.

We are excited to work with Orion to license certain proprietary tools developed by software and data teams right here at GE," said Santosh Kudva, Chief Data Officer at GE Gas Power. "We identified significant data governance opportunities in the industry and built various solutions within GE to help address these gaps. Given today's rapidly evolving IT landscape, it's more important than ever to have a comprehensive approach to data governance and security.

Story continues

About Orion Governance

Orion Governance was founded in 2017 with a mission to disrupt the information management space. The companys Enterprise Information Intelligence Graph (EIIG) is a vendor/technology agnostic platform that provides the most comprehensive knowledge graph in the industry. The EIIG has persona-based visualizations to create a self-defined data fabric with detailed data lineage, cataloging, traceability, augmented data quality, and analytics capabilities; ML/AIautomation enables enterprises to take control of their complex IT landscape in near real-time. Customers include Global 5000 companies in banking insurance, retail, healthcare, telecom, and information technology. Key use cases include cloud migration/modernization, automated data governance and regulatory compliance, and cost optimization. Orion is headquartered in San Mateo, California, with global offices in other US cities, Estonia, Sweden, Singapore, Germany, and India. http://www.oriongovernance.com

About GE Gas Power

GE Gas Power is a world leader in natural gas power technology, services, and solutions. Through relentless innovation and continuous collaboration with our customers, we are providing more advanced, sustainable and efficient power that people depend on today and building the energy technologies of the future. With the worlds largest installed base of gas turbines and more than 670 million operating hours across GEs installed fleet, we offeradvanced technology and a level of experience thats unmatched in the industry to build, operate, and maintain leading gas power plants. For more information, visit the company's website atwww.gepower.com. Follow GE Power on Twitter @GE_Power and on LinkedIn at GE Power.

GE Gas Power is part ofGE Vernova, a dynamic accelerator comprised of our Power, Renewable Energy, Digital, and Energy Financial Services businesses, focused on supporting customers transformations during the global energy transition.

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World needs to be ‘vigilant’ as AI technology improves and … – KTVZ

Posted: at 10:42 am

By Tom Yun

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Toronto, Ontario (CTV Network) A UN adviser says the world needs to be vigilant as artificial intelligence technology improves, allowing for more realistic-looking deepfakes.

Deepfakes refer to media, typically video or audio, manipulated with AI to falsely depict a person saying or doing something that never happened in real life.

A digital twin is essentially a replica of something from the real world Deepfakes are the mirror image of digital twins, meaning that someone had created a digital replica without the permission of that person, and usually for malicious purposes, usually to trick somebody, California-based AI expert Neil Sahota, who has served as an AI adviser to the United Nations, told CTVNews.ca over the phone on Friday.

Deepfakes have been used to produce a wide variety of fake news content, such as one supposedly showing Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy telling his country to surrender to Russia. Scammers have also used deepfakes to produce false celebrity endorsements. In one instance, an Ontario woman lost $750,000 after seeing a deepfake video of Elon Musk appearing to promote an investment scam.

On top of scams and fake news, Sahota notes that deepfakes have also been widely used to create non-consensual pornography. Last month in Quebec, a man was sentenced to prison for creating synthetically generated child sexual abuse imagery, using social media photos of real children.

We hear the stories about the famous people, it can actually be done to anybody. And deepfake actually got started in revenge porn, he said. You really have to be on guard.

Sahota says people need to have a keen eye for videos and audio that appear off, as it could be a sign of manipulated media.

You got to have a vigilant eye. If its a video, you got to look for weird things, like body language, weird shadowing, that kind of stuff. For audio, you got to ask Are they saying things they would normally say? Do they seem out of character? Is there something off?' he explained.

At the same time, Sahota says policymakers need to do more when it comes to educating the public on the dangers of deepfakes and how to spot them. He also suggests there should be a content verification system using digital tokens to authenticate media and snuff out deepfakes.

Even celebrities are trying to figure out a way to create a trusted stamp, some sort of token or authentication system so that if youre having any kind of non-in-person engagement, you have a way to verify, he said. Thats kind of whats starting to happen at the UN-level. Like, how do we authenticate conversations, authenticate video?

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After Losing Son, Ridgefield Mother Pushes For Technology to Prevent Hot Car Deaths – NBC Connecticut

Posted: at 10:42 am

L.L. Bean has just added a third shift at its factory in Brunswick, Maine, in an attempt to keep up with demand for its iconic boot.

Orders have quadrupled in the past few years as the boots have become more popular among a younger, more urban crowd.

The company says it saw the trend coming and tried to prepare, but orders outpaced projections. They expect to sell 450,000 pairs of boots in 2014.

People hoping to have the boots in time for Christmas are likely going to be disappointed. The bootsare back ordered through February and even March.

"I've been told it's a good problem to have but I"m disappointed that customers not gettingwhat they want as quickly as they want," said Senior Manufacturing Manager Royce Haines.

Customers like, Mary Clifford, tried to order boots on line, but they were back ordered until January.

"I was very surprised this is what they are known for and at Christmas time you can't get them when you need them," said Clifford.

People who do have boots are trying to capitalize on the shortage and are selling them on Ebay at a much higher cost.

L.L. Bean says it has hired dozens of new boot makers, but it takes up to six months to train someone to make a boot.

The company has also spent a million dollars on new equipment to try and keep pace with demand.

Some customers are having luck at the retail stores. They have a separate inventory, and while sizes are limited, those stores have boots on the shelves.

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After last year’s fan violence in Queretaro, has Fan ID technology ensured safety for Liga MX fans? – ESPN – ESPN

Posted: at 10:42 am

Cesar HernandezMay 19, 2023, 12:15 PM ET8 Minute Read

QUERETARO, Mexico -- More than a year since a fan riot left 26 injured during a Liga MX match at Estadio Corregidora in March 2022, emotional scars remain.

"Really, really sad, all the fights and images," lamented Martin, a rideshare driver as he drove up a small hill to the venue where brawls in the stands spilled onto the pitch during Queretaro's match vs. Atlas on March 5, 2022. "Soccer is just a game."

In what was one the darkest days in Mexican soccer, Queretaro fans -- some wielding parts of advertisement boards, metal gates, and chairs as crude weapons -- clashed with outnumbered Atlas supporters. Seeking safety, hundreds of families and attendees ran onto the field to avoid the chaos, with some parents removing jerseys off their children that could possibly identify them as Atlas fans.

Shocking videos and photos were posted on social media that showed unconscious bodies lying in pools of blood, while being beaten and stripped.

"We were cornered and what they did was open the gate of the stadium to the field. We ran down and from there it was chaos. Everyone started running, we didn't know where to go. We didn't know if they were going to hit us," one fan told ESPN Mexico after the incident.

With a reported attendance of 14,463 that day -- which could have been higher in a stadium with a capacity of 34,000 -- Queretaro state governor Mauricio Kuri said in the aftermath that the number of security personnel "was insufficient" with only 290 guards present of the 400 requested.

Officials stated that no one died that day, but that has been disputed by unverified reports of deaths at the stadium. Numerous arrests followed, including four law enforcement officers for "unjustified omission of their duties."

Three days after the incident, Liga MX issued a number of sanctions and bans. Queretaro's home games were played behind closed doors for one year, while the club's barras (supporter groups) were suspended for three years from the stadium and one year at away matches.

In addition, Queretaro's ownership group was suspended for five years from league-related activities, and given a fine of 1.5 million pesos ($84,000 USD). The league then transferred the club's ownership to Grupo Caliente, which also owns Liga MX side Club Tijuana.

While incidents of fan violence at Liga MX matches have occurred at least once a year since 2013 (outside of the period from 2020-21 impacted by the coronavirus pandemic), the images from the Queretaro-Atlas match brought widepread condemnation, including from FIFA.

"Measures will be implemented that will mark a 'before and after' in the protocols that must be observed and followed," Liga MX president Mikel Arriola said after the riot. "We are facing the problem head-on, with the aim of changing this negative image from [that game]."

With Mexico set to co-host the 2026 men's World Cup alongside the U.S. and Canada, the incident in Queretaro put the issue of fan safety in the spotlight. After the riot, Arriola admitted that co-hosting duties could have been "at risk if Mexico didn't resolve and didn't show a capacity" of addressing the issue.

In November 2022, the league announced it would implement a "Fan ID" technology that utilized online registration and facial recognition software at stadiums for security, and thereby not allowing fans to enter anonymously.

Domingo Guerra, a vice president for Incode, the company that developed the Fan ID software, described the technology being akin to security measures seen at other venues. Fans needed to register on a website with their email, upload a photo of themselves and also scan a form of identification.

"Imagine if you're going to an event or a club and there's a bouncer outside, they will check your ID to make sure you can go inside. At a very high level, that's what our technology is doing," Guerra told ESPN. "It's going to verify that it's a real person with a real ID and then keep that [information] locally on the person's device."

According to Guerra, "if something ever goes wrong, God forbid another kind of incident like what happened last year, then [Liga MX] can decide to block certain people from going into any stadium, any game."

The technology went into effect for Queretaro's match on March 19 vs. FC Juarez, when the one-year ban on the general public was lifted. The technology then became mandatory on April 16 for attendees across all Liga MX stadiums.

In a March 4 news conference ahead of the Corregidora's reopening, Arriola said that: "With what we've learned in Queretaro, we're very certain that it will go from being the worst example to being a safe and reliable stadium because the fans deserve it."

On March 9, Queretaro announced that they had "satisfactorily complied with the protocols, procedures, and specifications outlined by Liga MX and the Queretaro state government for the reopening of the Estadio Corregidora" and reopened for the March 19 match.

Liga MX did not respond to several requests by ESPN to speak with Arriola about the league's ongoing fan safety measures, but the league said in a statement in April that more than 760,400 attendees had signed up for Fan ID.

Security and law enforcement patrolled nearly every corner and road leading to the stadium ahead of the April 2 match between Queretaro and Pumas, the second home game with fans since the ban had lifted.

Along with an imposing police presence, fans walked past substantial lettering of "Tolerancia" (Tolerance) written across the the venue, a surface-level update to the venue that was painted months after the riots.

One Queretaro supporter, wearing the jersey of Brazilian legend Ronaldinho -- who briefly played with Los Gallos Blancos from 2014-15 -- felt at ease with the heightened amount of law enforcement.

"Honestly from what I've seen, I do feel safer. You do notice a lot more security and also the simple fact that there's municipal and state patrols. The difference is much more noticeable," said Salvador Jimenez, a local resident who was visiting for the first time since the stadium reopened.

"I was initially a little worried, but everything is feeling safe," he added. "Soccer should be something beautiful and not something that we have to be afraid of."

Another person in attendance, who only identified as Daniel, said he was at that game where the riots broke out last year.

"I was here that day that it happened," he said. "I was in a state of shock, you didn't know what to do, but I never felt in danger because I was there among my own [Queretaro supporters]. If it was the reverse, it would have been ugly."

As he entered the stadium's main gate he added: "I'm very happy, we needed a little excitement here in Queretaro and to provide support for our local team."

To the credit of numerous Fan ID support staff walking around Queretaro's stadium, the process appeared to be a straightforward one with little-to-no issues even minutes before kick-off.

As the game went on, an announced crowd of 17,890 cheered with anxious energy. The match seemed destined toward a scoreless draw before Queretaro winger Pablo Barrera's cross in the 86th minute deflected off Pumas defender Miguel Barbieri and into the back of visitors' net, sending the home crowd into a frenzy of roaring cheers and emotions.

Adding more drama to the situation, the goal was initially ruled offside, before a video assistant referee confirmed that the goal had counted, leading to even more exuberant celebrations. The party continued into injury time, where Queretaro held on for a narrow 1-0 victory.

Despite the on-field heroics and the all the safety measures leading up the game, altercations did break out in the stands. With police using laser pointers to identify offenders in the stands, six fans were ejected due to "disturbing the peace" in the match. No other incidents were reported.

Despite the new security measures and a "zero-tolerance policy," there were still incidents of fan violence across the league. In the first week of the Fan ID's league-wide use, a total of 16 fans were banned from stadiums, including seven fans from Monterrey's match on April 16 match against Santos Laguna.

On April 21, when images emerged of a Tijuana supporter kicking a visiting Leon fan in the head outside of the Estadio Caliente, Fan ID was used to identify three persons involved in the fight. One individual was given a five-year Liga MX stadium ban, while two others were given a two-year Liga MX stadium ban. Since then, there have not been any reported incidents of fan violence.

With all that in mind, has the league done enough to avoid another major scene like the one seen in March 2022? The issue with barras, who were blamed for the March 2022 incident, won't go away either -- especially since the league didn't entirely ban the Queretaro groups.

Though it's important to stress that a very strong majority of Liga MX matches are safe and typically have fans from opposing teams sitting side-by-side, there are no guarantees that the league has entirely stamped out problems that can emerge, even with Fan ID. Liga MX has taken steps in the right direction, but like the emotional scars that remain from last year, so do concerns about whether fan violence can be stopped.

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