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CognitiveScale Commits to Helping 1 Billion People by 2020 through World’s First AI “Do-Tank”

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CognitiveScale Commits to Helping 1 Billion People by 2020 through World's First AI "Do-Tank"

CognitiveScale, the leader in augmented intelligence (AI), today announced its commitment to bring AI to at least one billion people by 2020 through products and partnerships built on a Responsible AI framework. Supporting this initiative is AI Global, a non-profit focused on bringing Responsible AI to global challenges including healthcare, financial well-being, inclusion, education, and economic opportunity.

The Case for Responsible AI

While AI has the potential to reshape how companies operate, experience has revealed a significant gap in the ability to design, deliver, and scale enterprise AI systems reflecting an organization’s core values. Those values and policies include user profiling and data rights, model explainability, algorithmic fairness, and decision accountability for self-learning systems. This has led to a prevalence of small AI deployments with limited commercial adoption and innovation.

CognitiveScale sees the answer as an AI design and architecture approach called Responsible AI, where systems are characterized by transparency, accountability, and fairness and users have full visibility into how data is being used.

Developing Responsible AI systems requires a deep understanding of human ethics and values in self-learning systems, translating these values into technical requirements and products and implementing continuous governance and evaluation to ensure safe, beneficial, and fair use. CognitiveScale has developed its products and methods based on these principles, allowing organizations to confidently use AI to make complex decisions, engage end users, and amplify process intelligence.

“Adoption of AI at scale will happen when people and businesses feel secure integrating human and machine intelligence to solve complex problems and power better experiences,” said ManojSaxena, Chairman of CognitiveScale and former General Manager of IBM Watson. “The only way AI realizes its potential is through products and methods built with a ‘People and Ethics First’ Responsible AI design and full participation from every sector.”

Leading AI from “Think Tanks” to “Do-Tanks”

Launching at CogX 2018 in London, CognitiveScale is introducing four multi-year initiatives that accelerate adoption of Responsible AI and underpin the commitment to help one billion people by 2020 through AI. These initiatives shift the focus from AI “Think Tanks” to “Do Tanks” and allow companies to collaborate using open specifications based on Responsible AI frameworks that minimize vendor lock-in:

AI Global Marketplace: In partnership with AI Global, CognitiveScale is launching the world’s first open AI marketplace with over 2,000 high value AI agents, skills, models, and data sets. Based on open specifications, the AI Global Marketplace brings the power of an app store to software developers, data scientists, AI researchers, and product managers. More information can be found at www.ai-global.org/marketplace.

Open Specification Publication: CognitiveScale is launching the open Cognitive Agent Modeling and Execution Language (CAMEL). CAMEL defines a standard, language, and platform-agnostic specification for programming cognitive agents. CAMEL will be released as a family of open specifications starting with the Open Cognitive Skills Specification, available immediately at https://camelai.org and on GitHub.

New Cortex 5 Edge Software: CognitiveScale is releasing a new version of Cortex 5 AI Lifecycle platform with unique edge compute capabilities for data and model privacy, transparency, and security. Called Cortex Edge, this foundational AI technology addresses one of the barriers to Responsible AI adoption—the requirement by major vendors to have clients upload their data to the cloud. It can be deployed in a data center or private enterprise cloud, supporting Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services (AWS), or IBM Cloud and scaled on demand with CPU and GPU optimized processors.

AI for Social Good Accelerator: In partnership with The Entrepreneurs’ Fund and the Saxena Foundation, CognitiveScale will create an AI for Social Good Accelerator to support 10 global non-profit and academia partners to solve 100+ societal challenges with AI by 2025. Every year the accelerator will offer grants, free software, paid internships, AI expertise, and seed funding focused on areas such as social justice, healthcare, human trafficking, and empowerment of women in technology. The first set of challenges will be announced in October 2018.

“Digital rights, including ethical artificial intelligence usage, is one of the most pressing issues for any country responsible for serving its digital citizens,” said Alex Benay, CIO, Government of Canada. “The work and research currently being conducted is precisely the type of project we should be focusing on in today’s data driven economy.”

Across the globe, CognitiveScale has successfully demonstrated the potential of AI to reshape digital businesses and is using that foundation to support multiple markets and sectors.

In the United States, CognitiveScale is collaborating with leading companies in banking, insurance, healthcare, and digital commerce to transform front office customer engagement and back office operational excellence.

In the UK, CognitiveScale is supporting financial services in rolling out AI-powered wealth management and trading insights, helping millions of Britons participate in the AI economy.

In India, CognitiveScale is working with leading academic institutions to develop next generation AI and blockchain based software to support building enterprise AI systems with human data rights, governance, and automated compliance checks.

“Responsible AI is an opportunity and an imperative for business, government, and technology leaders worldwide,” said AkshaySabhikhi, CEO, CognitiveScale. “The enthusiastic customer response and early results from our Responsible Enterprise AI initiatives and Cortex products gives us confidence that we have the right strategies to deliver and scale AI responsibly.”

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Garment workers in Thailand receive full compensation after wages expose

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Garment workers in Thailand receive full compensation after wages expose 1

By Nanchanok Wongsamuth

BANGKOK (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Garment workers in Thailand who were illegally underpaid while making products for major brands have received all the wages owed to them after theme park operator and film producer Universal Studios agreed to pay the outstanding amount.

Universal Studios, owned by media giant Comcast Corp’s NBCUniversal, agreed to give $20,000 to a group of Myanmar workers on Wednesday – following three other global brands in making payments to settle the 3.5 million baht ($116,550) owed in unpaid wages.

“We take this matter very seriously and this is not in line with our core values,” a NBCUniversal spokeswoman said.

A Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation in September 2019 found dozens of migrants from Myanmar working at several factories in the western region of Mae Sot were paid less than the daily minimum wage of 310 Thai baht ($10.32).

A group of 26 workers at one of the factories raided in 2019 by officials sued the owner – Kanlayanee Ruengrit – in August last year for failing to pay the 3.5 million baht owed to them.

Interviews with workers by local and global rights groups found that her factory was making goods for several major brands from Universal Studios to Britain’s largest supermarket Tesco.

The workers later received a payment of about 2.88 million baht from Kanlayanee and three brands that said Kanlayanee’s factory had been subcontracted by their suppliers or partners without permission – Disney, Starbucks and Tesco.

The money from Universal Studios will be paid to MAP Foundation, which has supported the workers and been in discussion with the companies, and will distribute the funds directly to the workers.

“Since the former licensee has failed to respond to multiple requests to pay the affected Thai factory workers, we are making a goodwill donation to MAP Foundation … to distribute funds directly to the workers,” the NBCUniversal spokeswoman said.

Suchart Trakoonhutip, a coordinator at MAP Foundation, said the payment marked the first time that underpaid workers in Mae Sot had received the full amount owed to them in a wage dispute.

The Mae Sot case sets an example for other brands to follow in terms of taking responsibility, but workers should not have to rely on the goodwill of companies in order to receive money they have earned, said Ilona Kelly, a coordinator at pressure group Clean Clothes Campaign.

“The industry urgently needs binding agreements to hold brands to account, the lack of which has become even more notable during COVID-19 as millions of workers are now owed wages and severance pay,” she added.

“Without (government) legislation, the happy ending of the Kanlayanee story will continue to be as unobtainable as a fairytale ending for most workers.”

One of the Kanlayanee workers, who now works part-time on a farm, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that he plans to send the additional money to his sick father in Myanmar.

“I feel happy and proud that I will soon receive the full amount of money I am owed,” said the worker, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

($1 = 30.0300 baht)

(Reporting by Nanchanok Wongsamuth @nanchanokw; Editing by Michael Taylor. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says

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Women inch towards equal legal rights despite COVID-19 risks, World Bank says 2

By Sonia Elks

(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Women gained legal rights in nearly 30 countries last year despite disruption due to COVID-19, but governments must do more to ease the disproportionate burden shouldered by women during the pandemic, the World Bank said on Tuesday.

Nations should prioritise gender equality in economic recovery efforts, the bank said, warning that progress on equal rights was threatened by heavier job losses in female-dominated sectors, increased childcare and a surge in domestic violence.

“This pandemic has exacerbated existing inequalities that disadvantage girls and women,” David Malpass, World Bank Group president, said in a statement accompanying the annual “Women, Business and the Law” report.

“Women should have the same access to finance and the same rights to inheritance as men and must be at the centre of our efforts toward an inclusive and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

A total of 27 countries reformed laws or regulations to give women more economic equality with men in 2019-20, said the report, which grades 190 nations on laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunities.

While countries in all of the world’s regions made improvements in the new index – with most reforms addressing pay and parenthood, women on average still have only about three quarters of the rights granted to men, the report found.

Notably, nearly 40 countries brought in extra benefit or leave policies to help employees balance their jobs with the extra childcare needs created by coronavirus restrictions.

But such measures were “few and far between” worldwide and will probably not go far enough to tackle the “motherhood penalty” many women face in the workplace, it said.

The report also noted separate data from a United Nations tool tracking gender-sensitive pandemic responses which found 70% of such measures addressed violence, with just 10% targeting women’s economic security.

The pandemic could result in “a backslide on various hard-won advances in women’s rights achieved in recent years”, said Antonia Kirkland, the global lead on legal equality at women’s rights organisation Equality Now.

“This disruption is a unique opportunity for countries to rebuild more resilient, inclusive and prosperous economies,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by email.

“But this can only be achieved alongside the removal of sex discriminatory laws that prevent women from participating fully and equally in economic, social and family life.”

(Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks; Editing by Helen Popper. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)

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Digital health checks vital to travel recovery, Heathrow says

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Digital health checks vital to travel recovery, Heathrow says 3

By Sarah Young

LONDON (Reuters) – Digital health checks will be vital to a recovery in foreign travel from the COVID-19 pandemic, Britain’s Heathrow airport said on Wednesday, after a collapse in passenger numbers saw it plunge to a 2 billion pound ($2.8 billion) loss last year.

The UK government said on Monday trips abroad could restart in mid-May as its vaccination campaign kicks in, sparking a surge in holiday bookings.

It is also looking into a digital health passport or app to help ease restrictions, while conceding the benefits have to be weighed against potential risks to civil liberties.

But Heathrow chief executive John Holland-Kaye said digital technology, and international agreements, would be vital to reviving a travel industry on its knees.

“It’s absolutely critical and that’s one of the main things that government needs to work on,” he said, when asked about a digital health app.

At present, paper checks on COVID-19 test results and passenger locator forms take 20 minutes per traveller at Heathrow, making travel near impossible should passenger numbers rise from current low levels.

Britain’s biggest airport said it was “very likely” people would be able to go on their summer holidays, but expects passenger numbers will take time to recover.

The airport, west of London, is forecasting 25 million passengers in the second half of the year, meaning it would be operating at about 50% capacity.

Heathrow, owned by Spain’s Ferrovial, the Qatar Investment Authority, China Investment Corp and others, last year lost its title as Europe’s busiest airport to Paris after its flight schedules shrank more than those of its rivals.

Passenger numbers plunged 73% to 22 million people last year, with half of those travelling during January and February, before the pandemic shut down global travel in March.

Heathrow said it had 3.9 billion pounds of liquidity, giving it sufficient resources to keep going with low levels of traffic until 2023, despite the 2 billion loss before tax for 2020.

The airport urged the government to provide business tax breaks for big airports, something only available to smaller airports so far, and to extend the furlough job support scheme to help it financially before the recovery takes off.

($1 = 0.7044 pounds)

(Reporting by Sarah Young. Editing by James Davey and Mark Potter)

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