75 flights cancelled at Mumbai airport

first_imgMumbai: As many as 75 flights have been cancelled at the Mumbai airport on Wednesday following the closure on the main runway after a SpiceJet plane skidded and overshot two days ago, an official said. The Mumbai airport operator has obtained NOTAM (notice to airmen) till midnight for the main runway, where Air India engineers and technicians are working to remove the Boeing 737-800 aircraft that skidded on Monday night. The NOTAM is given to pilots and includes information on potential hazards on a flight route. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! “A total of 75 flights have been cancelled till late this evening. While 40 arrivals have been cancelled by various operators, 35 flights that depart from here are also not being operated due to partial operations,” the official said. “Besides cancellations, the operations are going on smoothly.” The operations from the secondary runway are being carried out since Monday night, the official said, adding that the aircraft recovery would take some more time. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killed The main runway of the Mumbai airport is likely to remain closed for flight operations till Thursday. Heavy rains in the city had disrupted operations at the airport Tuesday. The airport has obtained NOTAM for the main runway, which was ending on Wednesday noon, for another 12 hours from the Airports Authority of India (AAI), the official added. A team of engineers and technicians from Air India has started work to remove the stuck SpiceJet plane with the disabled aircraft recovery kit (DARK). The kit, used to remove stuck aircraft, is only available with the national carrier. “A 150-metre long ramp is being prepared to push the aircraft out of the grassy area,” an official of the Mumbai International Airport Limited (MIAL), the airport operator, had said. The Mumbai airport has two runways and the second one can handle only up to 35 aircraft movements per hour, while the main runway can handle 48 plane movements during the same period, according to MIAL. The airport is the second busiest in the country, handling around 1,000 arrivals and departures per day. Monday’s incident occurred a day after another SpiceJet aircraft veered off the runway at the Surat airport due to heavy rainfall.last_img read more

Solskjaer says only minority of United fans want Pogba out

first_imgShanghai: Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer risked angering Manchester United fans on Wednesday, saying it was only a “loud minority” who have turned against Paul Pogba. The French midfielder has made clear his determination to leave the Premier League giants, with Real Madrid and his former club Juventus both said to be interested. But Solskjaer has made clear that he wants to keep the World Cup winner, as he attempts to steer the Old Trafford club back into the Champions League. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThe 26-year-old Pogba’s publicly stated wish to leave and his tepid displays at the end of last season have infuriated many United supporters. At United’s final game last term, a 2-0 defeat to already relegated Cardiff City at home, a section of fans barracked Pogba. Asked if he expected even more of a backlash against the Frenchman when the season begins, Solskjaer said: “I think our fans know what Paul has given the club and can give us.” The Norwegian, who will need a fast start to convince doubters he’s the right man for one of the biggest jobs in football, said: “Of course there are some loud and small minority (against Pogba), but Paul has been absolutely top in the group. “Me and the players will testify to that — that he’s never ever been a problem and we are just grateful that he performs as well as he does,” said the manager, speaking on the eve of a friendly against Tottenham Hotspur in Shanghai. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterSolskjaer meanwhile urged patience and denied that he was frustrated by the club’s failure to sign more players this summer. United have bought winger Daniel James and full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka. But they are yet to seal a deal for Leicester City defender Harry Maguire and Solskjaer is also reportedly eyeing Portuguese playmaker Bruno Fernandes. “I am very happy with the two mentioned (James and Wan-Bissaka), we have got to be patient,” said the 46-year-old former United predator. “It’s a long haul and very important we get the right ones (players) in, we can’t just jump on a different path when you hit a hurdle.”last_img read more

Nova Scotias justice minister concerned over sex predators release to US

first_imgHALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s justice minister is expressing concern over a Parole Board of Canada decision to release a notorious convicted killer and sexual predator back to the United States.Mark Furey says he will write a letter to his federal counterpart, David Lametti, about the release of William Shrubsall, who was declared a dangerous offender in 2001 following violent sexual assaults against women in Halifax.The chief Crown attorney for Halifax, Paul Carver, has questioned the logic of the parole board’s decision, while a former lead police investigator in the case, Tom Martin, called it “borderline negligence.”The minister says Shrubsall’s crimes were horrendous and he knows from his past experience as an RCMP officer that “victims are retraumatized by these very circumstances.”The 47-year-old Shrubsall was returned this week to authorities in Upstate New York, where he will serve a sentence for sexual abuse, but could be eligible for parole in two years and four months for that offence.Furey says although he’s routinely written to federal cabinet ministers on behalf of the province before, it’s the first time he’s written about a parole board decision.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Tamsen Fadal To CoHost United Cerebral Palsy Of New York City 70th

first_imgGary Geresi, President of the Board of Directors of United Cerebral Palsy of New York City (UCP of NYC), announced today that UCP of NYC will celebrate its 70th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, March 9th at the New York Hilton.“This is an opportunity to celebrate our unique and outstanding 70 year history of ground breaking services and pioneering advocacy with our families, friends and our staff, as well as renew plans for how we will meet the challenges of the next generation,” said Edward R. Matthews, CEO of UCP of NYC.The UCP of NYC 70th Anniversary Gala will be co-hosted by Tamsen Fadal, eight-time Emmy winning Anchor of PIX 11 News & best-selling author, and Mike Woods, Meteorologist, Fox 5’s Good Day New York. Susan Lucci, Emmy Award-winning actress and New York Times best-selling author, will make a special appearance at the gala.Tamsen Fadal, Mike Woods and Susan Lucci are all longtime supporters of UCP of NYC’s major events that help fundraise for important UCP of NYC programs and services, including Women Who Care Awards Luncheon and the Santa Project Party that benefits the Children’s Programs.Susan Lucci has been a dedicated supporter of UCP of NYC since 2006 when she was honored with the UCP of NYC Women Who Care Award. For the past three years, Lucci has hosted the Women Who Care Awards Luncheon benefiting UCP of NYC. She is also a three time celebrity presenter at Women Who Care, and has narrated a PSA for the agency about the importance to women with disabilities to getting breast cancer screenings.“UCP of NYC is extremely grateful for Tamsen, Mike, and Susan’s long term ongoing support and concern for our organization. They truly exemplify the generosity of spirit of New Yorkers” says Edward R. Matthews, CEO of United Cerebral Palsy of New York City.“I am delighted to co-host the UCP of NYC 70th Anniversary Gala with Mike Woods,” says Tamsen Fadal. “UCP of NYC reaches thousands of families and individuals with disabilities throughout New York City. I am continually impressed by UCP’s role as the agent of change in lives of thousands of New Yorkers living with disabilities.”“I am thrilled to co-host the UCP of NYC 70th Anniversary gala with its longtime supporter Tamsen Fadal,” says Mike Woods. I am a big supporter of UCP of NYC and their vital ongoing work to provide programs and services for children, families, and adults living with a variety of challenges.”“I am very touched by United Cerebral Palsy of New York City’s impact as a lifeline for thousands of children, families, and adults with disabilities,” says Susan Lucci. “I am particularly impressed by the comprehensive nature of their ongoing programs and services which encompass so many different aspects of health, education, living, assisted technology, and the arts.”Find out more here.last_img read more


first_imgAdvertisement Advertisement Advertisement In addition to this recent accolade, Valerie Creighton was featured as one of the 20 most powerful women in global television by The Hollywood Reporter in 2016. That same year, she was also awarded the Saskatchewan Order of Merit for her lifelong service to her home province. In 2017, she was recognized with the Honorary Maverick Award by the Female Eye Film Festival.About the Canada Media FundThe Canada Media Fund (CMF) fosters, develops, finances and promotes the production of Canadian content and applications for all audiovisual media platforms. The CMF guides Canadian content towards a competitive global environment by fostering industry innovation, rewarding success, enabling a diversity of voice and promoting access to content through public and private sector partnerships. The CMF receives financial contributions from the Government of Canada and Canada’s cable, satellite and IPTV distributors. Please visit cmf-fmc.ca. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Toronto, June 4, 2018 – Valerie Creighton, President and CEO of the Canada Media Fund (CMF), has been inducted into Playback’s 2018 Canadian Film and TV Hall of Fame in the Industry Builder Category. The Playback feature includes industry leaders who have left their mark on Canadian film and television in the creative, talent, and other categories. United in their ambition, talent and determination, the industry leaders inducted into Playback’s Hall of Fame have shaped Canadian film and television into its current form.“Delivering change is never easy, but I am very proud of what we’ve accomplished at the Canada Media Fund on gender balance and the initiative with our partners to establish the Indigenous Screen Office, as well as our ongoing support for exceptional Canadian television and digital content in an ever-changing media landscape,” said Valerie Creighton. “I would like to thank Playback Magazine for their recognition. I am truly touched by this induction into Playback’s Hall of Fame.”“None of what we’ve accomplished at the Canada Media Fund could have happened without the invaluable guidance of the Board of Directors, the extraordinary support of my team, as well as the trust and advice of the industry, and our public and private funders,” she added. Login/Register With: Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Supermodel and UN advocate Gisele Bündchen backs access to energy in Kenya

13 January 2012Supermodel and United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Gisele Bündchen has visited Kenya to experience firsthand the reality of energy poverty and to see how lives are being transformed in the East African country by making sustainable energy accessible to those not connected to the national grid. “Energy affects everything,” the Brazilian fashion icon and Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Environment Programmes (UNEP) said yesterday at a news conference in the capital, Nairobi, where the agency is based. “Children can study at night when they have access to electricity. If we can bring electricity to everyone, we can help people to survive,” she said.“It’s unjust if people do not have access to electricity. Energy for all is achievable. Just two per cent of global investment is needed,” she added, speaking a week before the global launch of the International Year of Sustainable Energy for All.She visited Kibera, East Africa’s largest slum, to see biogas centres where human waste is used to produce power and Kisumu in the west, where she took part in collecting firewood and learned about fuel-efficient stoves. She also travelled to the Mount Kenya region in central Kenya, where a micro hydro-electric power station is supplying electricity to over 2,000 households.One in five people on the Planet do not have access to electricity. In Sub-Saharan Africa some 70 per cent of the population have no electricity, while in Kenya only 18 per cent of households have power.Many families across the world still depend on firewood for cooking, which produces toxic smoke that harms the health of women and children.“We don’t hear about this and yet the solutions are so simple,” said Ms. Bündchen, who has recently been named the ‘world’s greenest celebrity.’UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner, called for a change of thinking on energy. “In Africa two thirds of the population still do not have access to energy. There are solutions at the local and community levels. I have a dream that with photovoltaic energy we can build grids up from the bottom and that one day we will see rural areas generating electricity and selling energy to the cities,” he said.Kenya is increasingly developing its geothermal, wind, solar and hydro power resources at the local level.UNEP is working to realize and to accelerate the use of renewable energy within the overall theme of a Green Economy, with a special emphasis on Africa, and Kenya in particular.The new UN office complex in Nairobi, which Ms. Bündchen visited and which houses UNEP and the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), has 6,000 square metres of solar panels and generates as much electricity as its 1,200 occupants consume. read more

PPF condemns incident at Lake House

According to Free Media Movement (FMM), on December 13th a group of United National Party (UNP) supporters gathered outside the Lake House after the Supreme Court’s decision on the dissolution of Parliament. The Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF), in a letter to President Maithripala Sirisena, has expressed concern over the disruptive incident taken place at the Lake House.PPF Secretary General Owais Aslam Ali has condemned this incident and termed it an attack on media organizations. PPF also called on the authorities to immediately investigate the matter. After the verdict of October 26, the tense situation regarding the democracy and media freedom has been ended in the country. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Myanmar Annan UN human rights officials hail release of Daw Aung San

Calling today’s move a major development in Myanmar’s national reconciliation process, a UN spokesman said that Mr. Annan “warmly welcomes the restoration of freedom of movement” for Ms. Suu Kyi, the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy (NLD).Ms. Suu Kyi’s release comes shortly after the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy, Razali Ismail, concluded his seventh mission to Myanmar on 26 April and “provides fresh momentum to the 19-month-old confidence building and national reconciliation process between the Government and NLD,” the UN statement said.”The Secretary-General extends his best wishes to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who will resume her normal political activities as the leader of a lawful party,” the statement added. “He remains ready to assist in the efforts of the Government and the NLD to find ways to push ahead the process of national reconciliation and democratization, acceptable to all parties in Myanmar.”Meanwhile, Mary Robinson, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Paulo Pinheiro, the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation in Myanmar, issued a joint statement commending the Government for taking “this important step towards advancing the political dialogue and the process of national reconciliation.”The two officials said they sincerely hoped that Ms. Suu Kyi would be able to resume fully her normal activities as a leader of a legal political party and that her release would be followed by the discharge of all other political prisoners in Myanmar.They also paid tribute to the “outstanding efforts” of the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy that have contributed to the progress of confidence-building talks.”The release of Aung San Suu Kyi attests that principled engagement with the Government of Myanmar has been effective in supporting the best interests of the Myanmar people and the promotion and protection of their human rights,” the statement said. “Both the High Commissioner and the Special Rapporteur are ready to discuss with the Government of Myanmar possible cooperation endeavours that would enhance the promotion and protection of human rights in Myanmar.” read more

Security Council imposes sanctions on three Ivorians

Named in a Council announcement was Charles Ble Goude, described as the leader of the Young Patriots, who publicly advocated violence against UN installations and personnel and against foreigners.The sanctions against Mr. Goude were also justified by his “direction of and participation in acts of violence by street militias, including beatings, rapes and extrajudicial killings; intimidation of the United Nations, the International Working Group (IWG), the political opposition and independent press; sabotage of international radio stations; obstacle to the action of the IWG, the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI), the French Forces and to the peace process as defined by resolution 1633 (2005).”That resolution established the ministerial-level International Working Group and the Mediation Group, both co-chaired by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Pierre Schori, in implementing the road map to peace and unity. It supported several peacemaking decisions on the situation by the African Union’s Peace and Security Council and demanded an end to all incitement to hatred and violence in the country’s communications media.A second Ivorian, Eugène Ngoran Kouadio, though not named as a Young Patriot, was accused of the same activities.The third person put under sanctions was Martin Kouakou, the Corporal Commandant of the Forces Nouvelles, Korhogo Sector, which had fought the Government in the two-year civil war and now controls the northern half of the country. “Forces under his command engaged in recruitment of child soldiers, abductions, imposition of forced labour, sexual abuse of women, arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial killings, contrary to human rights conventions and to international humanitarian law; obstacle to the action of the IWG, UNOCI, French Forces and to the peace process” as defined by the same resolution, the Council said.Meanwhile, Mr. Schori said that on Friday in Yamoussoukro, the country’s political capital, the first meeting of representatives of the UN, donor countries and the Government would discuss the country’s road map. Mr. Schori held talks with President Laurent Gbagbo, and after the meeting told reporters that they had addressed options for ending the crisis, learning lessons from it and permitting UN system representatives to be secure and to benefit from a spirit of cooperation.“We are here at the invitation of the Government, therefore one must be protected also. In the same way, on our side, we must provide assistance in many fields,” Mr. Schori said. On his way back to Côte d’Ivoire, after briefing the Security Council in New York on 27 January, Mr. Schori said he had paid a visit to the new President of the continent-wide African Union, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo, to discuss the crisis. He also looked in on those of his UN colleagues who had been evacuated to Banjul, Gambia, during the “Young Patriot” attacks on UN offices in Côte d’Ivoire. read more

Annan calls on all sides in Indonesias Aceh province to respect landmark

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today welcomed the first local election in Indonesia’s Aceh province since last year’s peace deal was signed between separatists and the Government, as he called on all sides to abide by the poll results and build on the agreement that ended almost 30 years of conflict.“The Secretary-General is encouraged by the orderly conduct of the 11 December 2006 local elections in Indonesia’s Aceh province… [he] calls on all parties to respect the results of these elections in order to help consolidate the peace process, which aims to build a secure and prosperous Aceh within a united and democratic Indonesia,” his spokesman said in New York.Indonesia’s Government and the separatist Free Aceh Movement signed a preliminary peace agreement in July 2005, followed a month later by a Memorandum of Understanding, which covers a wide array of issues ranging from the governing of the province and security arrangements to human rights issues. read more

IMF chief Lagarde named key witness in investigation of payoff to French

IMF chief Lagarde named key witness in investigation of payoff to French business tycoon AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Jamey Keaten, The Associated Press Posted May 24, 2013 3:55 pm MDT PARIS – After two days of intense questioning from French magistrates, International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde said Friday a court named her as a key witness in an investigation into a controversial payoff to an outspoken businessman that was arranged while she was France’s finance minister — stopping short of charging her outright.Lagarde, seemingly relieved and insisting it’s time to return to work, said the Paris court handed her the status of “assisting witness” in its probe of her role in a 400 million euro ($520 million) pay-off to a flamboyant tycoon, Bernard Tapie. Under French law, that status means she still could be later charged in the case, but can have legal representation and access to court files as the probe continues — a process that could take months or even years.The case centres on the payment made to Tapie, a well-connected magnate, in a private arbitration process to settle a dispute with state-owned bank Credit Lyonnais over the botched sale of Adidas in the 1990s. The deal is seen by many in France as an example of the cozy relationship between big money and power in France.Investigators opened an inquiry in 2011 into possible charges of “complicity to embezzlement of public funds” and “complicity to forgery.” The probe may not result in a trial. If it does, and if Lagarde were to be charged and then convicted, she could face up to 10 years in prison, according to prosecutors.Tanned, relaxed and seemingly unfazed, Lagarde said in a brief statement to reporters outside the court that the questioning had allowed her to “demonstrate that I have always acted in the best public interest and in accordance with the law … Now, it’s time for me to go back to work in Washington, and I will of course be briefing my board.”Still, Friday’s decision by the special court for government ministers prolongs the legal question-mark over her head.At the very least, the closed-door hearings took Lagarde away from her international duties. So far, the Washington-based IMF has stuck by her. She has earned praise for her negotiating skills as its managing director during Europe’s debt crisis, and is seen as a trailblazer for female leaders.After the ruling, IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said in a statement: “The Executive Board has been briefed on this matter several times and on each occasion expressed confidence in the Managing Director’s ability to effectively carry out her duties. The Board will be briefed again in the coming days.”Lagarde lawyer Yves Repiquet said “assisting witness” was “the best possible status she could get” because under French law, she could not be considered as a simple witness. Being an assisted witness affords her access to the legal files in the case, and allows her right to have a lawyer — attributes not afforded a simple witness under the law, he said.“My reaction is one of satisfaction, because — as I have always said — Madame Lagarde has two weapons: the truth, and her conscience,” he told The Associated Press by phone, acknowledging that the 24 hours at the court over two days was long. “It took a while, if only to transcribe, re-read, and validate her answers.”“Her legal fate is not definitively decided, but still … it’s not finished, but it’s not going to hover over her,” Repiquet said. “We can very much have peace of mind.”When the payment was made, Tapie was close to then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who was then Lagarde’s boss. Critics say the deal was too generous to Tapie at the expense of the French state, and that the case shouldn’t have gone to a private arbitration authority because it involved a state-owned bank.Lagarde and the IMF were aware of the probe when she took over as managing director of the fund from Dominique Strauss-Kahn in 2011. In March, French investigators searched Lagarde’s Paris home. Her lawyer said at the time that she welcomed the search as a step toward proving her innocence.The case could also tarnish France’s image: Strauss-Kahn is also French. He resigned after a New York hotel maid accused him of trying to rape her.___Angela Charlton and Bastien Inzaurralde in Paris, and Marjorie Olster in Washington contributed to this report. read more

What Are The Mets Doing Part Infinity

FiveThirtyEight Embed Code More: Apple Podcasts | ESPN App | RSS | Embed As the MLB trade deadline rapidly approaches, the New York Mets surprised fans and analysts alike with the acquisition of Marcus Stroman. Aside from this questionable move, there hasn’t been much buying and selling across teams. The Hot Takedown crew breaks down why this might be, what trades we still expect to see before the deadline and what effect this could have on the rest of the season.Journalist Lyndsey D’Arcangelo, whose work can be seen on The Athletic, joins the show to discuss the state of the WNBA as we head into the second half. D’Arcangelo helps make sense of the increased parity in the league and takes stock of the players having breakout seasons and the teams vying for the title.Our Rabbit Hole looks at those who occasionally lose their cool.What we’re looking at this week:Our thoughts on which teams should be buying and selling this MLB trade deadline.Our MLB model heading into the home stretch of the season.Lyndsey D’Arcangelo’s midseason breakdown of the WNBA for The Athletic.In light of Trevor Bauer’s heave, a list of similar outbursts. read more

Korean War veterans had to wait for hours to march past the

first_imgThe Queen lays a wreath at the Cenotaph on Sunday A soldier looks out over poppy wreaths laid at the Cenotaph memorial during the annual Remembrance Sunday Service in Whitehall, central London “There will be instances where younger veterans are not as able bodied as older veterans, however regardless of participant’s age we will work with the associations on any concerns they may have and do what we can, given the nature of the event, to accommodate these.”The Telegraph  disclosed on Monday how a breakdown of the 8,531 people who were allowed to march past the Cenotaph found that nearly a fifth – 1,488 – were handed to “non ex-service groups”.These included 48 people from Transport for London – which runs buses and trains on the capital’s network – 18 from the Blue Cross animal welfare charity and 10 from the Equity actors’ union. A spokesman for the Legion said that the columns at the back of the march “remain on Horse Guards Parade longer where they have access to refreshments, toilet facilities and covered seating. We have ample stock of wheelchairs and blankets available for use if required.“This year march-past participants started arriving on site at 9.00 and the latest arrivals were with us by 10.30. Accrediting 8,500 people does take some time however we aim to make the process as efficient as possible.”Asked why younger people were allowed to march ahead of the Korean veterans, she added: “The associations themselves decide who will attend the march-past and therefore the age of the participants. In a letter to Terry Whittles, the chairman of the British Legion, Mr Painter, a trustee of the British Korean War Veterans Association (BKWVA), said: “You will note from the many, many emails and correspondence between your events team, my colleagues and me of the problems in us attending this year’s parade.“Putting to one side the difference of who could attend, I find it difficult to contain my anger at the shabby, of- hand treatment meted out to us on the actual parade. “Think what image this portrayed to our guest the Korean Air Attaché who paraded with us. “Despite my many calls and emails explaining the veterans were aged [from] 82 [to] 89 and suffering with age-related medical problems it was vital we be placed in column A in order to not prolong their real discomfort.”“However, to my utter dismay we were placed almost at the rear of the whole parade in column F and not marching till 12.45 (check the BBC broadcast) after attending at 9am at Horse Guards Parade as requested.“I explained and requested many times to your events team that due to our rapidly diminishing numbers and problems this could well be our last parade.“Therefore was it so unreasonable for an early allotted parade order to be taken into consideration? The Queen lays a wreath at the Cenotaph on SundayCredit: Sang Tan/ Sang Tan Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Beterans who fought in the Korean War were forced to wait for hours at the back of the march past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday on “what could be their last parade”.The group of ex-soldiers, who are now in their eighties, have formally complained to Royal British Legion, which organises the annual commemoration in Whitehall about their “shabby” treatment.Grant Shapps, a Conservative MP and former minister, said the treatment of the veterans was “upsetting” and called for a review ahead of next year’s march-past. Veterans lay wreaths to mark Armistice day by the cenotaph in Croydon, London Veterans lay wreaths to mark Armistice day by the cenotaph in Croydon, LondonCredit:Charlotte Ball/Charlotte Ball A soldier looks out over poppy wreaths laid at the Cenotaph memorial during the annual Remembrance Sunday Service in Whitehall, central LondonCredit: Dominic Lipinski/ Dominic Lipinski “Given that many members of the BKWVA  are poppy day collectors and that our colleague Korean Veteran Bill Speakman VC is reputed to have been responsible for £1 million in donations, this simple correspondence cannot begin to convey our anger at this treatment, which with a little organisation and consideration could easily have been avoided.”Mr Shapps, who is Mr Painter’s MP, told The Telegraph: “Properly commemorating those brave individuals who have served this country is a matter of pride and respect.“It is therefore upsetting to hear that a constituent of mine was amongst other Korean war veterans placed at the back of the queue whilst younger and fitter non-service personnel were apparently given priority.“I am calling on the organisers of this most important national annual commemoration to think again for next year about how they can better honour those who have put their own lives on the line for this country.” A spokesman for the Legion defended its organisation of the march, saying “we have ample stock of wheelchairs and blankets available for use if required” for veterans who had to wait in line.The  news comes after it emerged that representatives from the actors’ union, animal charities and travellers’ society were given places in this year’s the march past the Cenotaph while family members of servicemen had to watch.Roy Painter, who was signalman in the war between 1952 and 1953, said the group had to march behind far younger and fitter people. He was able to survive on the march with the help of a flask of Jack Daniels.last_img read more

Surgeons left kicking their heels as bed shortages cause operation delays

first_imgAt a time when the NHS is being told to make the most of its resources, this is a shocking wastehealth groups’ letter In a letter to The Sunday Times, they said: “Because of bed shortages, staff including surgeons are now sometimes left kicking their heels, waiting for beds to become available so they can operate.”Too often managers, nurses and doctors waste time trying to find somewhere to look after patients.”At a time when the NHS is being told to make the most of its resources, this is a shocking waste.”Bed occupancy should not exceed 85 per cent for safety reasons but overnight inpatient beds were “routinely” 89 per cent occupied, they said.”This is partly because there is not enough social care capacity to look after our frail older patients in the community, so increasingly they cannot be discharged from hospital,” they added.Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt admitted performance in elements of the NHS was “completely unacceptable”.His comments came after figures emerged showing that the number of A&E patients seen within the target of four hours fell to a record low of 86 per cent in December. Surgeons are being left “kicking their heels” because of delays to operations caused by a shortage of beds, two health groups have warned.The “shocking waste” of highly-skilled surgeons’ time is partly caused by a lack of social care to look after elderly patients in the community, they said.Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, and Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, blamed cuts aimed at driving productivity for causing greater inefficiency in some areas.  The number of operations cancelled by the NHS in England also hit a 15-year high last year.A total of 82,730 planned operations were cancelled at the last minute for non-clinical reasons, a third higher than in 2010. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

Mozilla CEO says Google is a frenemy

first_imgTHE CEO OF Mozilla, which runs not-for-profit internet browser Firefox, has said that his company and Google are ‘frenemies’.Gary Kovacs confirmed that a major part of Mozilla’s revenue comes from a deal with Google, whose browser is Chrome. Google pays to have ‘Google search’ the default search engine in the Firefox search bar. Kovacs wouldn’t specify how much the deal was worth but didn’t protest when the figure of $300m a year was put to him at the Dublin Web Summit yesterday.He said that every time Google achieves a financial transaction through a referral from Firefox, Mozilla gets a commission. Google, however, along with Internet Explorer, are the major rival to Firefox in the browser business. Kovacs conceded:We are in a frenemy situation with Google.He denied that it was dangerous to rely on an economic model where their rival was supplying much of their income.“It would be dangerous if there wasn’t a value in what we are doing,” he said.The Mozilla Manifesto declares that it aims to promote “openness, innovation and opportunity” to make the internet a community project working for the public good.Kovacs said that the organisation was now investing in new projects that reflect people’s use of the internet moving from desktop devices to mobile. “The web is under threat,” he says as certain companies begin to lock down the operating systems (OS) people use on their phones.We are being asked where we want to live our online lives.Mozilla is launching its own OS, first in South America and some Eastern European countries, with a view to keeping the web “unlocked” on mobile phones. It will be launched first in Brazil in the first half of next year but won’t be in Western Europe for some time. Mozilla is also partnering with some hardware companies and says that their aim is to continue to promote a “pure HTML environment so anyone can participate”.HTML, said Kovacs, is the open-source “language of the web” and he feels that Mozilla’s push for HTML5 compliance has forced the hand of their competitors. He also said he didn’t believe that either Chrome or Firefox was “winning” the competition in browser choice but that they were neck-and-neck.“Chrome doesn’t have to lose for us to win, as long as we retain share enough of the market to continue to have influence,” he said.Kovacs also revealed that Mozilla will build a social brower – “we see integration with what we call the social API” – and claimed they will be “leading the way with another big company”, launching in beta form in the next two days.Read more news from the 2012 Dublin Web Summit here>last_img read more

The economy grew by 27 in the first three months of the

first_imgGROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT increased by 2.7% during the first quarter of 2014, new data from the Central Statistics Office show.Overall GDP for the quarter stood at €44.85 billion.Gross National Product (GNP), which measures the output of the domestic economy, also grew by half a per cent to €38 billion.Net exports, which performed poorly in the last set of quarterly figures, made a positive contribution of €541 million in volume terms. When compared with the same period last year, net exports grew by €1.2 billion.2013 revisionThe new figures take account for the first time of the impact on the economy of illegal activity such as drug dealing and prostitution, as well as spending on research and development.The CSO also revised its assessment of how the economy did last year, pencilling in a 0.2% expansion instead of the 0.3% contraction that had originally been booked.The inclusion of R&D spend, and to a lesser extent illegal activities, seems to have been a major contributory factor towards the reversal of the final figures for 2013.R&D spend came in at 4.1% of the revised GDP total of €174.8 billion, or €7.16 billion. The total for illegal activity was 0.72%, or €1.25 billion.No breakdown of the value of illegal activity to the economy in Q1 2014 was provided, although it is thought to be running at around the same level as last year. A final figure for this year will be made available in full year figures released in 2015.Big gains were made in the building and construction sectors, which grew by 2.8% in the first quarter.Spending by the Irish consumer continues lag behind the rest of the economy. It declined by 0.1% in the quarter, with growth of 0.2% when compared to the same period in 2013.This will come as a surprise to some analysts who had been predicting a pickup in consumer spending, driven mainly by car purchases.Updated 12.18Read: The exchequer tax take is €500 million ahead of target>Read: Drugs and prostitution will be used to measure Ireland’s GDP>last_img read more

Taoiseach promises income tax cuts and rules out entering government with Sinn

first_img Image: Sam Boal Saturday 23 Mar 2019, 8:15 PM Mar 23rd 2019, 8:16 PM We see it in the culture of bullying, in the personalised aggression in the Dáil, and on those occasions when the mask slips. 42,788 Views Image: Sam Boal By Christina Finn Look around at the other parties and ask yourself where the alternative is. Fianna Fáil is a party with no ideas, no policies, no alternatives.I’m sorry Micheál, but hurling from the ditch isn’t a policy, conspiracy theories don’t constitute analysis, and finger wagging isn’t a solution. Share1222 Tweet Email At some point between now and 2021, there will be a General Election. And I can tell you tonight that under no circumstances will Fine Gael enter Government with Sinn Féin.Varadkar said Fine Gael policies and “hard work” has “transformed” the country.“Things are far from perfect, but we are in a much better place than we were, and we can be optimistic about the future,” he added.ReferendumLooking ahead to autumn, he said a referendum to extend voting rights in presidential elections to all Irish citizens no matter where they live will be held.“I know that there are mixed feelings about it and it’s a referendum that won’t be easily won. But I am sure it’s the right thing to do.“There’s no such thing as a second class Irish citizen. I believe an Irish citizen in Belfast, or Sydney or Chicago is every bit as Irish as one in Wexford or Dublin or Galway,” he said.Housing, which Minister Eoghan Murphy acknowledged today will be an issue they are asked about on the doorsteps, said “while it may not always feel like it, we are making progress – lifting thousands of families out of homelessness, helping first-time buyers, capping rent increases and enhancing tenants’ rights”.Taking a more conciliatory tone, he addressed the issue of the skyrocketing costs of the National Children’s hospital.“I know there has been a lot of focus on the rising cost of the new National Children’s Hospital. First of all, I want to say to everyone at home, that we accept responsibility for the mistakes made in projecting the true cost of building this project. We cannot claim the credit for things going well if we do not also accept responsibility when things go wrong. And this is one of those occasions.“I promise you, we will learn the lessons and ensure it does not happen again. But more importantly, now that it’s started, we are going to finish the job,” he said. TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR used his closing speech of the Fine Gael National Conference to state that income taxes must be reduced further.While there was a lot of talk at the Whites Hotel in Wexford this weekend about when a general election will be called, it was no surprise that some election promises would creep into his address.Reiterating the announcement he made at the party’s Ard Fheis last year, Varadkar said over the next five years, Fine Gael will increase the point at which people pay the higher rate of tax to €50,000 for a single person and €100,000 for a couple.“I believe we must reduce income taxes further, and reduce the cost of accessing public services as well,” he said.Income tax promisesThis policy will benefit more than a million people, he said, adding:“If it’s not done, more and more people will fall into the high tax band every year losing most of any pay increase to the taxman. That’s not fair. And it’s something we’re going to change.”In addition to making the promise to put more money in the people’s’ pockets, the Taoiseach used his speech to highlight Brexit, housing, and Ireland’s growing economy.Not surprisingly, he also used tonight as an opportunity to take a pop at Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil, while being sure to thank his independent ministers in government for their comradeship.Fianna Fáil bashing While the confidence and supply deal has been extended – the Taoiseach did not hold back on the party that is keeping him in power. 177 Comments https://jrnl.ie/4557676 Moving onto Sinn Féin, he ruled out Fine Gael going into government with Sinn Féin:In contrast, Sinn Féin is a party with plenty of ideas and policies. Bad ones. Higher taxes, more borrowing, more debt. But the bigger problem I have is that the values of Sinn Féin are toxic. Taoiseach promises income tax cuts and rules out entering government with Sinn Féin The Taoiseach also used his speech to take a pop at Fianna Fáil. Short URL Tweet thisShare on FacebookEmail this articlelast_img read more

Death drag of ancient ammonite fossil digitized and put online

first_img More information: Dean R. Lomax et al. An 8.5 m long ammonite drag mark from the Upper Jurassic Solnhofen Lithographic Limestones, Germany, PLOS ONE (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175426AbstractTrackways and tracemakers preserved together in the fossil record are rare. However, the co-occurrence of a drag mark, together with the dead animal that produced it, is exceptional. Here, we describe an 8.5 m long ammonite drag mark complete with the preserved ammonite shell (Subplanites rueppellianus) at its end. Previously recorded examples preserve ammonites with drag marks of < 1 m. The specimen was recovered from a quarry near Solnhofen, southern Germany. The drag mark consists of continuous parallel ridges and furrows produced by the ribs of the ammonite shell as it drifted just above the sediment surface, and does not reflect behaviour of the living animal. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: PLoS ONE Five-meter sea creature found off California coast Explore further Citation: 'Death drag' of ancient ammonite fossil digitized and put online (2017, May 11) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-05-death-ancient-ammonite-fossil-digitized.htmlcenter_img A death drag is a mark left behind by a creature that recently died and was moved or dragged by another force—in this case, it was an ammonite, a mollusk with a spiral shell that lived in the sea approximately 150 million years ago. It was dragged along the sea floor after it died by the sea current and left behind a very shallow trench. Finding a death drag from a creature millions of years ago is very rare, of course, because it requires a very specific set of circumstances to occur for preservation and discovery. In this case, it was a team of paleontologists digging at a quarry back in the 1990s at a site near the town of Solnhofen in Germany—many other ancient fossils have been found there. The ammonite and its death drag were preserved and were eventually put on display in a museum in Barcelona.The death drag is approximately 8.5 meters long and grows more defined the closer it gets to the ammonite fossil. Prior research has suggested that the sea creature (which was missing its lower jaw, offering proof that it was dead prior to being dragged) was clearly quite buoyant when it began scraping the bottom, due to decomposition gasses inside of its shell—thus, it was just barely touching the bottom and able to leave only grooves at the edges. As time passed, gas seeped from the shell and the creature was dragged more heavily through the sediment, leaving a more defined trench. Prior research also suggested the trench was likely at a depth of 20 to 60 meters and was likely created due to a gentle underwater current.In this new effort, the researchers used a technique called photogrammetry to create digitized imagery of the death drag and the fossil—hundreds of images were made from multiple angles which were all stitched together to create a 3-D model. The result is a model available for download or online in video format. (Phys.org)—A team of workers with members from institutions in the U.K., Germany and Spain has put online a digitized 3-D model of the “death drag” of an ammonite fossil—it is one of the longest ever found for such an ancient creature. They have also written a paper describing both the death drag and fossil and have posted it on the open access site PLOS ONE. The ammonite Subplanites rueppellianus, the producer of the drag mark (MCFO 0492). Credit: PLOS ONE (2017). DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0175426 © 2017 Phys.orglast_img read more

These Entrepreneurs Are Taking on Bias in Artificial Intelligence

first_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now » 15+ min readcenter_img September 5, 2018 Whether it’s a navigation app such as Waze, a music recommendation service such as Pandora or a digital assistant such as Siri, odds are you’ve used artificial intelligence in your everyday life.”Today 85 percent of Americans use AI every day,” says Tess Posner, CEO of AI4ALL.AI has also been touted as the new must-have for business, for everything from customer service to marketing to IT. However, for all its usefulness, AI also has a dark side. In many cases, the algorithms are biased.Related: What Is AI, Anyway? Know Your Stuff With This Go-To Guide.Some of the examples of bias are blatant, such as Google’s facial recognition tool tagging black faces as gorillas or an algorithm used by law enforcement to predict recidivism disproportionately flagging people of color. Others are more subtle. When Beauty.AI held an online contest judged by an algorithm, the vast majority of “winners” were light-skinned. Search Google for images of “unprofessional hair” and the results you see will mostly be pictures of black women (even searching for “man” or “woman” brings back images of mostly white individuals).While more light has been shined on the problem recently, some feel it’s not an issue addressed enough in the broader tech community, let alone in research at universities or the government and law enforcement agencies that implement AI.”Fundamentally, bias, if not addressed, becomes the Achilles’ heel that eventually kills artificial intelligence,” says Chad Steelberg, CEO of Veritone. “You can’t have machines where their perception and recommendation of the world is skewed in a way that makes its decision process a non-sequitur from action. From just a basic economic perspective and a belief that you want AI to be a powerful component to the future, you have to solve this problem.”As artificial intelligence becomes ever more pervasive in our everyday lives, there is now a small but growing community of entrepreneurs, data scientists and researchers working to tackle the issue of bias in AI. I spoke to a few of them to learn more about the ongoing challenges and possible solutions.Cathy O’Neil, founder of O’Neil Risk Consulting & Algorithmic AuditingSolution: Algorithm auditingBack in the early 2010s, Cathy O’Neil was working as a data scientist in advertising technology, building algorithms that determined what ads users saw as they surfed the web. The inputs for the algorithms included innocuous-seeming information like what search terms someone used or what kind of computer they owned.However, O’Neil came to realize that she was actually creating demographic profiles of users. Although gender and race were not explicit inputs, O’Neil’s algorithms were discriminating against users of certain backgrounds, based on the other cues.As O’Neil began talking to colleagues in other industries, she found this to be fairly standard practice. These biased algorithms weren’t just deciding what ads a user saw, but arguably more consequential decisions, such as who got hired or whether someone would be approved for a credit card. (These observations have since been studied and confirmed by O’Neil and others.)What’s more, in some industries — for example, housing — if a human were to make decisions based on the specific set of criteria, it likely would be illegal due to anti-discrimination laws. But, because an algorithm was deciding, and gender and race were not explicitly the factors, it was assumed the decision was impartial.”I had left the finance [world] because I wanted to do better than take advantage of a system just because I could,” O’Neil says. “I’d entered data science thinking that it was less like that. I realized it was just taking advantage in a similar way to the way finance had been doing it. Yet, people were still thinking that everything was great back in 2012. That they were making the world a better place.”O’Neil walked away from her adtech job. She wrote a book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, about the perils of letting algorithms run the world, and started consulting.Eventually, she settled on a niche: auditing algorithms.”I have to admit that it wasn’t until maybe 2014 or 2015 that I realized this is also a business opportunity,” O’Neil says.Right before the election in 2016, that realization led her to found O’Neil Risk Consulting & Algorithmic Auditing (ORCAA).”I started it because I realized that even if people wanted to stop that unfair or discriminatory practices then they wouldn’t actually know how to do it,” O’Neil says. “I didn’t actually know. I didn’t have good advice to give them.” But, she wanted to figure it out.So, what does it mean to audit an algorithm?”The most high-level answer to that is it means to broaden our definition of what it means for an algorithm to work,” O’Neil says.Often, companies will say an algorithm is working if it’s accurate, effective or increasing profits, but for O’Neil, that shouldn’t be enough.”So, when I say I want to audit your algorithm, it means I want to delve into what it is doing to all the stakeholders in the system in which you work, in the context in which you work,” O’Neil says. “And the stakeholders aren’t just the company building it, aren’t just for the company deploying it. It includes the target for the algorithm, so the people that are being assessed. It might even include their children. I want to think bigger. I want to think more about externalities, unforeseen consequences. I want to think more about the future.”For example, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is very good at encouraging engagement and keeping users on its site. However, there’s also evidence it reinforces users’ beliefs, rather than promoting dialog, and has contributed to ethnic cleansing. While that may not be evidence of bias, it’s certainly not a net positive.Right now, ORCAA’s clients are companies that ask for their algorithms to be audited because they want a third party — such as an investor, client or the general public — to trust it. For example, O’Neil has audited an internal Siemens project and New York-based Rentlogic’s landlord rating system algorithm. These types of clients are generally already on the right track and simply want a third-party stamp of approval.However, O’Neil’s dream clients would be those who don’t necessarily want her there.”I’m going to be working with them because some amount of pressure, whether it’s regulatory or litigation or some public relations pressure kind of forces their hand and they invite me in,” O’Neil says.Most tech companies pursue profit above all else, O’Neil says, and won’t seriously address the issue of bias unless there are consequences. She feels that existing anti-discrimination protections need to be enforced in the age of AI.”The regulators don’t know how to do this stuff,” O’Neil says. “I would like to give them tools. But, I have to build them first. … We basically built a bunch of algorithms assuming they work perfectly, and now it’s time to start building tools to test whether they’re working at all.”Related: Artificial Intelligence Is Likely to Make a Career in Finance, Medicine or Law a Lot Less LucrativeFrida Polli, co-founder and CEO of PymetricsSolution: Open source AI auditingMany thought artificial intelligence would solve the problem of bias in hiring, by making sure human evaluators weren’t prejudging candidates based on the name they saw on a resume or the applicant’s appearance. However, some argue hiring algorithms end up perpetuating the biases of their creators.Pymetrics is one company that develops algorithms to help clients fill job openings based on the traits of high-performing existing employees. It believes it’s found a solution to the bias problem in an in-house auditing tool, and now it’s sharing the tool with the world.Co-founder and CEO Frida Polli stresses that fighting bias was actually a secondary goal for Pymetrics.”We’re not a diversity-first platform,” Polli says. “We are a predictive analytics platform.”However, after seeing that many of her clients’ employee examples used to train Pymetrics’s algorithms were not diverse, combating bias became important.”Either you do that or you’re actually perpetuating bias,” Polli says. “So, we decided we certainly were not going to perpetuate bias.”Early on, the company developed Audit AI to make sure its algorithms were as neutral as possible when it came to factors including gender and race. If a company looking to fill a sales role had a sales team that was predominantly white and male, an unaudited algorithm might pick a candidate with those same traits. Polli was quick to point out that Audit AI would also recommend adjustments if an algorithm was weighted in favor of women or people of color.Some critics say if you tweak a hiring algorithm to remove bias you’re lowering the bar, but Polli disagrees.”It’s the age-old criticism that’s like, ‘oh well, you’re not getting the best candidate,'” Polli says. “‘You’re just getting the most diverse candidate, because now you’ve lowered how well your algorithm is working.’ What’s really awesome is that we don’t see that. We have not seen this tradeoff at all.”In May, Pymetrics published the code for its internal Audit AI auditing tool on Github. Polli says the first goal for making Audit AI open source is to encourage others to develop auditing techniques for their algorithms.”If they can learn something from the way that we’re doing it that’s great. Obviously there are many ways to do it but we’re not saying ours is the only way or the best way.”Other motivations include simply starting a conversation about the issue and potentially learning from other developers who may be able to improve Audit AI.”We certainly don’t believe in sort of proprietary debiasing because that would sort of defeat the purpose,” Polli says.”The industry just needs to be more comfortable in actually realizing that if you’re not checking your machine learning algorithms and you’re saying, ‘I don’t know whether they cause bias,’ I just don’t think that that should be acceptable,” she says. “Because it’s like the ostrich in the sand approach.”Related: The Scariest Thing About AI Is the Competitive Disadvantage of Being Slow to AdaptRediet Abebe, co-founder of Black in AI and Mechanism Design for Social GoodSolution: Promoting diverse AI programmers and researchers Use of facial recognition has grown dramatically in recent years — whether it’s for unlocking your phone, expediting identification at the airport or scanning faces in a crowd to find potential criminals. But, it’s also prone to bias.MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini and Timnit Gehru, who received her PhD from the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, found that facial recognition tools from IBM, Microsoft and Face++ accurately identified the gender of white men almost 100 percent of the time, but failed to identify darker skinned women in 20 percent to 34 percent of cases. That could be because the training sets themselves were biased: The two also found that the images used to train one of the facial recognition tools were 77 percent male and more than 83 percent white.One reason machine learning algorithms end up being biased is that they reflect the biases — whether conscious or unconscious — of the developers who built them. The tech industry as a whole is predominantly white and male, and one study by TechEmergence found women make up only 18 percent of C-level roles at AI and machine learning companies.Some in the industry are trying to change that.In March 2017, a small group of computer science researchers started a community called Black in AI because of an “alarming absence of black researchers,” says co-founder Rediet Abebe, a PhD candidate in computer science at Cornell University. (Gehru is also a co-founder.)”In the conferences that I normally attend there’s often no black people. I’d be the only black person,” Abebe says. “We realized that this was potentially a problem, especially since AI technologies are impacting our day-to-day lives and they’re involved in decision-making and a lot of different domains,” including criminal justice, hiring, housing applications and even what ads you see online.”All these things are now being increasingly impacted by AI technologies, and when you have a group of people that maybe have similar backgrounds or correlated experiences, that might impact the kinds of problems that you might work on and the kind of products that you put out there,” Abebe says. “We felt that the lack of black people in AI was potentially detrimental to how AI technologies might impact black people’s lives.”Adebe feels particularly passionate about including more African women in AI; growing up in Ethiopia, a career in the sciences didn’t seem like a possibility, unless she went into medicine. Her own research focuses on how certain communities are underserved or understudied when it comes to studying societal issues — for example, there is a lack of accurate data on HIV/AIDS deaths in developing countries — and how AI can be used to address those discrepancies. Adebe is also the co-founder and co-organizer of Mechanism Design for Social Good, an interdisciplinary initiative that shares research on AI’s use in confronting similar societal challenges through workshops and meetings.Initially, Abebe thought Black in AI would be able to rent a van to fit all the people in the group, but Black in AI’s Facebook group and email list has swollen to more than 800 people, from all over the world. While the majority of members are students or researchers, the group also includes entrepreneurs and engineers.Black in AI’s biggest initiative to date was a workshop at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) in December 2017 that garnered about 200 attendees. Thanks to partners such as Facebook, Google and ElementAI, the group was able to give out over $150,000 in travel grants to attendees.Abebe says a highlight of the workshop was a keynote talk by Haben Girma, the first deaf/blind graduate from Harvard Law School, which got Abebe thinking about other types of diversity and intersectionality.Black in AI is currently planning its second NIPS workshop.As part of the more informal discussions happening in the group’s forums and Facebook group, members have applied and been accepted to Cornell’s graduate programs, research collaborations have started and industry allies have stepped forward to ask how they can help. Black in AI hopes to set up a mentoring program for members.Related: Why Are Some Bots Racist? Look at the Humans Who Taught Them.Tess Posner, CEO of AI4ALLSolution: Introducing AI to diverse high schoolersThe nonprofit AI4ALL is targeting the next generation of AI whiz kids. Through summer programs at prestigious universities, AI4ALL exposes girls, low-income students, racial minorities and those from diverse geographic backgrounds to the possibilities of AI.”It’s becoming ubiquitous and invisible,” says Tess Posner, who joined AI4ALL as founding CEO in 2017. “Yet, right now it’s being developed by a homogenous group of technologists mostly. This is leading to negative impacts like race and gender bias getting incorporated into AI and machine learning systems. The lack of diversity is really a root cause for this.”She adds, “The other piece of it is we believe that this technology has such exciting potential to be addressed to solving some key issues or key problems facing the world today, for example in health care or in environmental issues, in education. And it has incredibly positive potential for good.”Started as a pilot at Stanford University in 2015 as a summer camp for girls, AI4ALL now offers programs at six universities around the country: University of California Berkeley, Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University, Simon Fraser University and Stanford.Participants receive a mix of technical training, hands-on learning, demos of real-world applications (such as a self-driving car), mentorship and exposure to experts in the field. This year, guest speakers included representatives from big tech firms including Tesla, Google and Microsoft, as well as startups including H20.ai, Mobileye and Argo AI.The universities provide three to five “AI for good” projects for students to work on during the program. Recent examples include developing algorithms to identify fake news, predict the infection path of the flu and map poverty in Uganda.For many participants, the AI4ALL summer program is only the beginning.”We talk about wanting to create future leaders in AI, not just future creators, that can really shape what the future of this technology can bring,” Posner says.AI4ALL recently piloted an AI fellowship program for summer program graduates to receive funding and mentorship to work on their own projects. One student’s project involved tracking wildfires on the West Coast, while another looked at how to optimize ambulance dispatches based on the severity of the call after her grandmother died because an ambulance didn’t reach her in time.Other graduates have gone on to create their own ventures after finishing the program, and AI4ALL provides “seed grants” to help them get started. Often, these ventures involve exposing other kids like themselves to AI. For example, three alumni started a workshop series called creAIte to teach middle school girls about AI and computer science using neural art, while another runs an after school workshop called Girls Explore Tech.Another graduate co-authored a paper on using AI to improve surgeons’ technique that won an award at NIPS’s Machine Learning for Health workshop in 2017.”We have a lot of industry partners who have seen our students’ projects and they go, ‘Wow. I can’t believe how amazing and rigorous and advanced this project is.’ And it kind of changes people’s minds about what talent looks like and who the face of AI really is,” Posner says.Last month, AI4ALL announced it will be expanding its reach in a big way: The organization received a $1 million grant from Google to create a free digital version of its curriculum, set to launch in early 2019.Related: Artificial Intelligence May Reflect the Unfair World We Live inChad Steelberg, co-founder and CEO of VeritoneSolution: Building the next generation of AISerial entrepreneur Chad Steelberg first got involved in AI during his high school years in the 1980s, when he worked on algorithms to predict the three-dimensional structures of proteins. At the time, he felt AI’s capabilities had reached a plateau, and he ended up starting multiple companies in different arenas, one of which he sold to Google in 2006.A few years later, Steelberg heard from some friends at Google that AI was about to take a huge leap forward — algorithms that could actually understand and make decisions, rather than simply compute data and spit back a result. Steelberg saw the potential, and he invested $10 million of his own money to found Veritone.Veritone’s aiWARE is an operating system for AI. Instead of communicating between the software and hardware in a computer, like a traditional operating system, it takes users’ queries — such as “transcribe this audio clip” — and finds the best algorithm available to process that query, whether that’s Google Cloud Speech-to-Text, Nuance or some other transcription engine. As of now, aiWARE can scan more than 200 models in 16 categories, from translation to facial recognition.Algorithms work best when they have a sufficiently narrow training set. For example, if you try to train one algorithm to play go, chess and checkers, it will fail at all three, Steelberg says. Veritone tells the companies it works with to create algorithms for very narrow use cases, such as images of faces in profile. AiWARE will find the right algorithm for the specific query, and can even trigger multiple algorithms for the same query. Steelberg says when an audio clip uses multiple languages, the translations aiWARE returns are 15 percent to 20 percent more accurate than the best single engine on the platform.Algorithms designed for parsing text and speech, such as transcription and translation, are another area prone to bias. One study found algorithms categorized written African American vernacular English as “not English” at high rates, while a Washington Post investigation found voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa have a hard time deciphering accented English.Though it wasn’t built to eliminate bias, aiWARE ends up doing exactly that, Steelberg says. Just like the human brain is capable of taking all of its learned information and picking the best response to each situation, aiWARE learns which model (or models) is most appropriate to use for each query.”We use our aiWARE to arbitrate and evaluate each of those models as to what they believe the right answer is, and then aiWARE is learning to choose which set of models to trust at every single point along the curve,” Steelberg says.It’s not an issue if an algorithm is biased. “What’s problematic is when you try to solve the problem with one big, monolithic model,” Steelberg says. AiWARE is learning to recognize which models are biased and how, and work around those biases.Another factor that results in biased AI is that many algorithms will ignore small subsets of a training set. If in a data set of 1 million entries, there are three that are different, you can still achieve a high degree of accuracy overall while performing horribly on certain queries. This is often the reason facial recognition software fails to recognize people of color: The training set contained mostly images of white faces.Veritone tells companies to break down training sets into micro models, and then aiWARE can interpolate to create similar examples.”You’re essentially inflating that population, and you can train models now on an inflated population that learn that process,” Steelberg says.Using small training sets, aiWARE can build models for facial recognition with accuracy in the high 90th percentile for whatever particular subcategory a client is interested in (e.g., all the employees at your company), he says.Steelberg says he believes an intelligent AI like aiWARE has a much better chance of eliminating bias than a human auditor. For one, humans will likely have a hard time identifying flawed training sets. They also might bring their own biases to the process.And for larger AI models, which might encompass “tens of millions of petabytes of data,” a human auditor is just impractical, Steelberg says. “The sheer size makes it inconceivable.”last_img read more