The No. 1 job of 2019 pays $140,000 — and its hiring growth has exploded 74%

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Career and job site LinkedIn released its annual “Emerging Jobs” list, which identifies the roles that have seen the largest rate of hiring growth from 2015 through 2019. No. 1 on the list: Artificial Intelligence Specialist — typically an engineer, researcher or other specialty that focuses on machine learning and artificial intelligence, figuring out things like where it makes sense to implement AI or building AI systems. Hiring for this role has been tremendous, growing 74% annually in the past 4 years alone.

Hiring for this role has been tremendous, growing 74% annually in the past 4 years alone. “AI has infiltrated every industry, and right now the demand for people skilled in AI is outpacing the supply for it,” Guy Berger, the principal economist at LinkedIn, tells MarketWatch. “This is the third year in a row a role related to machine learning or artificial intelligence has topped the list, and we can only expect demand to increase.”

The pay is impressive too, with AI roles often commanding six figures. Jobs site Indeed notes that artificial intelligence engineers in San Francisco, for example, rake in $120,000 to upwards of $160,000. Sometimes AI roles can garner pay of $250,000 or more.

LinkedIn isn’t the only company to highlight an AI specialty role as a job to watch. Indeed’s annual list of the “25 best jobs of 2019” named machine learning engineer as No. 1, citing a 344% increase in job postings in the past few years and an annual base salaries of $146,000, among other perks.

So what’s behind this rapid growth in AI jobs? Berger says that “almost everyone” is hiring for these roles from the obvious (tech and automotive) to the more surprising (higher education and sports).

And these offer a real opportunity even for people who aren’t currently in AI: “We’re in an extremely tight labor market so companies are really looking to hire whoever can get the job done,” says Berger — who notes that learning skills like TensorFlow and Python, as well as diving into machine learning and natural language processing, could help you land the role. You can often take these kinds of classes as certificate programs from local universities, coding schools and more.

Rounding out the top 5 jobs on LinkedIn’s emerging jobs report are robotics engineers (40% annual hiring growth), data scientist (37%), full stack engineer (35%) and site reliability engineer (34%). “While many of these jobs are tech roles, they’re not necessarily in the tech industry. Every company has had to embrace tech at some level and we’re seeing that reflected in these high-growth jobs,” adds Berger.

But interestingly, there are also a number of client-facing roles that are experiencing rapid hiring growth, such as customer success specialist and sales development representative. Many roles like this “are heavily reliant on relationships, so being skilled in things like communication, problem-solving and collaboration are key,” Berger notes, adding that for these kinds of gigs companies “will rely on people skills that can’t be automated, successfully complementing new technologies.”

LinkedIn’s Top 10 Emerging Jobs
1. Artificial Intelligence Specialist
2. Robotics Engineer
3. Data Scientist
4. Full Stack Engineer
5. Site Reliability Engineer
6. Customer Success Specialist
7. Sales Development Representative
8. Data Engineer
9. Behavioral Health Technician
10. Cyber Security Specialist

Continue on to MarketWatch to read the complete article.

Merck Virtual Engagement and Educational Experience and Virtual Business Opportunity Fair

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Merck business fair

Merck’s Virtual Engagement Center will offer two tracks for Diverse Suppliers:

The Merck Global Economic Inclusion & Supplier Diversity Educational Experience (kick-off May 21, 2020) is a webinar series geared toward the developing the knowledge of diverse suppliers in the marketplace.

These monthly sessions will give diverse suppliers a leg-up and get them ready to pitch their capabilities and services, while learning how to set themselves apart and ultimately win the business.

Register Here

The Virtual Business Opportunity Fair, June 17, 2020, one of two LIVE events in 2020, that will provide the opportunity for diverse suppliers to engage with Merck’s supply chain professionals, Prime Suppliers and Advocacy Organizations during a virtual tradeshow.
Register Here

Supplier development and diversity are critical to our mission of Inventing for Life. We are excited to deploy these two exciting programs as part of the Virtual Engagement Center and hope you will join us.

5 changes to expect in the workplace after COVID-19

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As a result of the coronavirus, the workplace will never be the same. Even the word “workplace” suddenly seems obsolete, as the physical location in which we now work has merged with the places in which we eat, sleep, learn, exercise, and play.

The COVID-19 crisis has created the ultimate “burning platform”—an unexpected, overnight opportunity for people to see the impact of swift and meaningful change, and to witness the negative consequences of trying to ignore this aberration from everyday life. Within organizations, the virus has been driving significant change in how their employees operate with each other, as well as with clients, customers, and vendors.

Now that companies are shifting past their immediate response to the crisis, we’ve entered into a temporary “new normal.” However, what will the long-term impacts of our new normal be on the world of work? Winning organizations will be those that integrate and master digital work, community, and collaboration.

To succeed, companies need to begin planning now for five key shifts:

1. Full digital transformation, supported by a truly virtual workforce

Companies have quickly figured out how to serve their customers and clients remotely, and there’s no going back. From telemedicine in hospitals to remote learning for public schools and streaming fitness classes, every industry has accelerated its own digital transformation. As a result, the demand for highly skilled remote workers will continue to increase.

With a surge of candidates in the market, organizations should be preparing to recruit and integrate these key individuals into the organization quickly and seamlessly, so they can capitalize on the cost savings and broader access to rockstar talent.

2. Focus on outputs versus face time

Being the first one in the office and the last one to leave is no longer a measure of commitment and performance. In a post-COVID-19 world, employees will be measured on what gets done and the value of their work rather than on the individual tasks and the time it takes to get the work done.

Leaders must provide crisp, outcome-driven expectations so that their people can deliver on goals successfully. Motivating employees to perform will require modeling and measurement of their outputs and being clear on those metrics. Companies must level-set expectations for what drives organizational priorities and goals, rather than discrete tasks.

3. Respect for work-life blend

More than ever before, companies are recognizing that working “nine to five” is unsuited to the demands of a modern workforce. If leaders can place greater emphasis on flexibility for people to accomplish their best work—when and how it meets their personal needs (as well as the needs of the company)—they can reinforce the cultural shift of measuring staff based on performance, which can result in exponential benefits for the organization.

Organizations must remove stigma and support employees’ needs to make time for self-care–including exercise, meals, and family time. Policies and procedures need to reflect these shifts, and leaders must model a true work-life blend so that it becomes part of the company culture.

4. Stronger communications

Now that companies have gone fully virtual, individuals are communicating more efficiently and more frequently across a networked environment. To do this well, everyone, at every level, must make opportunities for dialogue by employing numerous channels.

Leaders can make communication easier for their people. They can remove roadblocks, create a governance structure that pushes decision-making out and down, and provide employees with the tools and training they need to empower them for ongoing communication and local decision-making. With traditional hierarchies gone, true leaders must step up to facilitate information flow across the organization.

5. Increased trust, transparency, and empathy

We are witnessing a revolution in leadership. In a recent leadership study of Fortune 500 executives and entrepreneurs, respondents cited behaviors such as humility and listening skills as essential qualities of great change leaders. And leadership experts such as Kim Scott and Brené Brown have long proselytized about the importance of candor and vulnerability. Now, leaders and employees must understand and support each other like never before. People are sharing more about their personal situations with colleagues, and as a result, they are creating an expectation of humanity, active listening, support, and connection.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

A Quick Chat with Kellan Barfield

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Kellan Barfield discusses her booming tech company, SOURCE EXPLORER, with Diversity in STEAM Magazine.

How did you develop the platform for SOURCE EXPLORER?

I started by interviewing Life Science Professionals about what their needs were when searching for a supplier. I observed a common theme. They were tired of hearing from vendors that they “can do it all,” when they want a specialist who has a proven track record of the exact services they’re looking for. I used this feedback to create a search engine that pulls up vetted, reviewed, and relevant supplier profile matches for their needs. This allows them to begin a new supplier relationship with trust from the start, knowing their project is not a “guinea pig” for a supplier who is just hoping for business. They are a valued client who will have experts working with them side-by-side, making the best recommendations and achieving the highest quality results.

What is your biggest challenge in running a woman-owned pharma company?

This isn’t specific to serving pharmaceutical companies, but it’s much harder for women to find funding for any new venture. Most investors are men, and there is an echo chamber of male voices reinforcing bias. There are still both men and women who have questions about whether or not women are “stable enough” to invest in, or if they’re “at risk” of taking time off for the same family commitments men have. A fellow female founder I know well was asked by a male bank representative if perhaps “her daddy could co-sign” a loan when she had plenty of collateral and $800k of orders from Walgreens in her hand. This kind of thing happens every single day. It’s real.

How is your company impacting the life sciences community?

Life Science projects are so important—this is how we get treatments to patients. So, there’s a sense of urgency to get them started. But when I managed $30M+ commercial budgets for pharmaceutical companies like Alcon and Gilead just a couple of years ago, I had multiple projects where it took up to four months just to find the suppliers I wanted to include in an RFP. And that’s before we actually go through the process of receiving and reviewing proposals and pitches. It’s months and months before progress can be made that way.

I saw a need—because it was my own—and I addressed it with SOURCE EXPLORER. It’s much easier and faster to do everything from searching to sourcing, even requesting work samples and following updates from favorite suppliers. The easier it gets, the faster vital projects get started, and the closer we get to helping people who need medical intervention.

What other goals would you like to accomplish?

Ultimately, it’s all about achieving greater patient outcomes. My way of accomplishing this is to support the people making it happen. Life Science Professionals work hard, often navigating and juggling so many factors, priorities, and processes that it would make your head spin. With SOURCE EXPLORER, I’ve taken one of those processes down to minutes, connecting them with the suppliers they need when they need them. But there’s so much more support this industry needs, even if it’s just a laugh. Ultimately, I would like to continue investing in making SOURCE EXPLORER the go-to place where Life Science lives.

What advice would you give young women looking to get into the pharma/life sciences industry?

Build relationships within the industry before you think you need them. Use platforms like LinkedIn to connect with people in your classes, at your internships, and who are already established in Life Sciences. Stay in touch with them as you develop in your education and career, and get to know how you can support them in their goals whenever possible. Relationships will get you farther than your degree alone.

From Hospitality To Hospitals

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Whether by ordinance or choice, the amount of people traveling has significantly decreased. Because of this, the hospitality industry has seen a significant decrease in visitors in the last several weeks. Though hotel beds no longer contain tourists and vacation goers, they aim to be filled by our biggest heroes: medical personnel.

On March 26, Airbnb announced they will be using many of their facilities to provide housing to the medical professionals fighting COVID-19 who wish to stay closer to their hospitals and medical centers. About 4,000 hosts have offered their homes for a discounted or free cost, with Airbnb willing to waive the costs for landlords needing the payment on homes. Airbnb has also promised that every home will be extraordinarily clean and the perfect place to isolate, should those staying there contract the virus.

Hotels are following a similar protocol. Several hotels in New York City are transforming their empty tourists’ lodgings into living spaces for medical personnel and first responders. To take it a step further, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is planning to transform many hotel rooms into hospital beds, where those affected by the virus can receive proper treatment.

Though the hospitality industry could have struggled during this outbreak, their new dedication to medical personnel and patients really encompasses how communities and businesses can come together to help the greater good.

Natalie Rodgers
Diversity in STEAM Magazine contributing writer

Verizon helps eliminate worry for customers during time of great need

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Reinforces pledge to Keep Americans Connected and goes further to protect most vulnerable.

  • Will waive overage charges and late fees to support customers who may be financially affected by the COVID-19 crisis
  • Announces two months waived internet and voice service charges for current Lifeline customers and new affordable internet option for low-income households
  • Adds 15GB of high speed data for wireless consumer and small business customers to be automatically applied with no customer action necessary
  • Verizon provides first responders with priority and preemption abilities for voice and data
  • Consumer and small business Fios and DSL broadband internet plans have no data caps

NEW YORK – Verizon continues to support customers who may find themselves needing additional data in order to learn, work or keep connected during this challenging time. That’s why today, for those residential and small business wireless customers whose economic circumstances have been impacted due to the coronavirus, Verizon is waiving overage charges in addition to our Keep Americans Connected pledge to not terminate service and waive late fees. We’re also offering new internet options for low-income households and adding 15GB of 4G LTE data to consumer and small business plans automatically.

Verizon continues to support those at the forefront of response efforts to provide them with the connectivity and resources needed to complete their critical missions and protect the public. Verizon’s fiber optic and wireless networks have been able to meet the shifting demands of customers and remain ready to address changes in demand, if needed.

New internet option for low-income households

To help families during this time of need, today Verizon announced plans for a discount program on Fios broadband plans for qualified new low-income customers and two months waived service charges for current Verizon customers that are part of the Lifeline discount program.

“We understand the hardships that many of our customers are facing, and we’re doing our part to ensure they have broadband internet connectivity during this unprecedented time,” said Ronan Dunne, CEO Verizon Consumer Group. “With so many Americans working and learning remotely from home, having access to reliable and affordable internet is more important than ever before.”

To help existing Lifeline customers, Verizon will waive the next two billing cycles of Lifeline-qualified home service charges across both home broadband and home voice. To be eligible, you must have a Lifeline discount on a broadband or home voice line of service as of March 22, 2020.

In addition, on April 3, we’re making a new broadband discount program available to new Fios Internet customers who qualify through the Lifeline program. Customers may select any Verizon Fios speed in our Mix & Match plans and receive a $20 discount per month. That means new customers can get Fios Home Internet 200/200Mbps service for just $19.99/mo, with Disney+ on us for one year and the first two months of their router rental charge waived. Customers will also qualify for any additional promotions available for new Fios Home Internet subscribers.

As part of this new program, eligible new customers can receive:

  • $20 off any Fios Home Internet Mix & Match plan, as reflected below with discounts applied:
    • 200/200 Mbps for $19.99/mo
    • 400/400 Mbps for $39.99/mo
    • Gigabit Connection for $59.99/mo (includes Fios router)
  • Router rental charge waived for 60 days as part of the Verizon COVID-19 response (customers may also choose to buy or bring their own router).
  • One year of Disney+ on us.
  • Any additional in-market offers for new Fios customers at time of purchase, including gift cards, content or equipment.
  • Mobile + Home Rewards benefits: customers with Verizon postpaid mobile service can enroll through Verizon Up for additional benefits and discounts.

To learn more about Verizon’s Lifeline program or apply, visit our Lifeline page here.

15GB of high speed data for wireless consumer and small business customers

From March 25 through April 30, wireless consumer and small business customers will see an additional 15GB of data added to their plan for no additional charge. New consumer and business customers can also take advantage of this additional data. Specifically:

  • For Verizon consumer and small business postpaid unlimited customers, 15GB of 4G LTE hotspot data will be added to your current plan.
  • For Verizon consumer prepaid and consumer and small business postpaid metered customers, 15GB will be added to your current standalone or shared data plan, which can be used for smartphone, hotspot or other connected device use.
  • Standalone metered and unlimited Jetpack plans will also be provided an additional 15GB of 4G LTE data.
  • There is no action needed as the data will automatically be added to your plan.

“While more than half of our wireless customer base is on an unlimited data plan, including all of our Fios and DSL broadband internet customers, we recognize there are many who may need additional connectivity during these trying times,” Ronan added. “We’re here for you and we’ll make sure you have what you need to stay connected.”

All consumer wireless plans available since 2015 are eligible for this data boost, including More Everything, Verizon Plan 1.0, Verizon Plan 2.0, the Verizon Unlimited Plan and all Mix & Match Unlimited plans.

For small business customers of 50 lines or less, plans eligible for the data boost include, More Everything, Verizon Plan 1.0, Verizon Plan 2.0, New Verizon Plan for Business, Flexible Business, the Verizon Unlimited Plan and all Business Unlimited plans.

Keeping our customers connected

Verizon’s relief efforts to help customers stay connected include the following: waived late fees and overage charges for residential and small business customers impacted by COVID-19, free international calling for consumer wireless and home voice customers to CDC select countries, unlimited domestic calling for wireless consumers on limited-minute plans, waived activation fees on new wireless lines of service and upgrades, additional 15GB of high speed data automatically added for wireless consumer and small business customers, and a new affordable Fios Home Internet option for low-income households.

None of Verizon’s consumer or small business Fios or DSL broadband internet plans have data caps, ensuring that our customers can work from home, learn and game without worrying about running out of broadband data.

To find out more about what Verizon is doing to help its customers during the Coronavirus pandemic, visit verizon.com/about/news/our-response-coronavirus.

7 Ways To Make Your Online Virtual Conference Successful

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The COVID-19 global pandemic has upended the conference and events industry. While some events have been canceled or postponed, others are being moved to an online, virtual setup in order to safeguard the health of attendees and presenters.

Virtual conference events aren’t new (indeed, some very large ones are held each year). However, they are unfamiliar to many meeting planners, and it’s important to understand that the keys to a successful virtual conference event are a bit different than those for a traditional live event. Keynote speakers need to recognize this, as well, since keynote programs that work well onstage might not translate well to an online format.

As a keynote speaker who’s headlined both live and virtual conference events for over a decade, here are 7 tips I’ve learned about how to make digital events successful, from large online gatherings to small eLearning sessions:

1. Use video if at all possible.

Even when delivered by the best speakers, it can be difficult to hold a virtual audience’s attention with a slide-based presentation, alone. Most webinar platforms support videoconferencing, and virtual conference speakers should absolutely make use of that capability. When your audience can see the speaker at a virtual event, it makes for a more engaging, more personalized attendee experience. If video is not available, then consider shortening the speaker sessions from a standard one-hour keynote to something more abbreviated, in an effort to maintain audience engagement throughout the entire presentation.

2. Carefully consider the best available audio option.

One surefire way to disengage a virtual audience is to subject them to poor audio quality. If they’re unable to hear the speakers clearly, they’ll tune them out (if not actually disconnect from the live feed). In contrast to a live event, with carefully controlled, professional A/V equipment – audio quality for a virtual session can be negatively impacted by a wide variety of factors: the quality of the speaker’s microphone, the platform used to capture the audio (landline phone, cell phone or VOIP), and network quality/connectivity (for cell and VOIP audio). The most reliable, high quality alternative is a landline phone – encourage your speakers to use that device, if at all possible. If a landline isn’t available, the second-best option will vary depending on the speaker’s equipment setup and connectivity. Test out those different options well before the event, and select the one that provides the best listening experience for the audience.

3. Make sure your speakers have customized their presentations for a virtual audience.

A speech that works well in a live venue may not translate perfectly to a virtual one. Speakers may not at first realize it, but gestures and other visual cues that they (sometimes unknowingly) use during a live speech won’t work in the virtual event. For this reason, speakers skilled in virtual events will utilize special materials for that delivery medium, such as a modified slide deck which helps convey information or emotion that wouldn’t otherwise be communicated effectively across a digital medium.

4. Keep the session interactive.

Depending on the size of the audience, the degree to which the virtual session can be made interactive will vary. Even large virtual conferences, however, can be made more interactive simply by using the audience polling features which are available in many online event platforms. Explain to the audience how to submit questions via the platform, and encourage them to do so, be it during a designated Q&A period at the end of the session, or during the program. Make sure speakers keep an eye on questions as they are submitted, so they can address some of them on the fly during their prepared remarks.

5. Do a comprehensive A/V check – and take it seriously.

Most speakers can do A/V checks at live events in their sleep, as it’s an exercise with which they are exceedingly familiar. That’s not the case with virtual events. Even if a speaker has done virtual sessions in the past, there’s no guarantee their next virtual event will use the same technology platform as their last. Great speakers leave nothing to chance when preparing for an event, and that approach is especially important with virtual sessions. Check everything in advance – audio/video quality, screen sharing, host-to-speaker private messaging, audience Q&A – and do it all with the same equipment and internet connection that the speaker will be using on event day.

6. Plan for technical issues.

Live events are conducted in well-controlled environments, where skilled A/V technicians are overseeing the entire endeavor. That’s not the case in a virtual conference event, where there are a host of potential breakpoints (network connectivity among them) that nobody has to even think about when putting on an in-person meeting. Develop contingency plans for whatever technical issues might crop up during the session. For example, if speakers are using slides, have them send their presentations to the event host in advance – so if the speaker loses connectivity, the host can at least step in and advance the slides for them.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Two Upcoming Webinars-Business Resource Group Leadership Development and the Impact of Supplier Diversity Outreach Activities

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NUDC-web series

Join Us for Our FREE Webinars on 3/25 and 4/21!

MARCH:

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Developing Business Resource Group Leadership

Kristine Maciolek Small, PPL Corporation and Deb Dagit, Deb Dagit Diversity

Business/Employee resource groups can be one of a company’s hidden treasures, helping to identify new sources for the talent pipeline, shining a spotlight on current and high potential leaders and creating a cross-functional multi-level team of advocates to help retain valued employees. BRGs are also a key component of a successful diversity and inclusion strategy, helping to improve culture, serving as advocates and allies for awareness and change.

Successful BRGs have effective leaders who know how to connect and collaborate with members, colleagues and more importantly, the company’s leadership.

Join Kristine Maciolek Small, PPL and Deb Dagit, Deb Dagit Diversity, to understand how leadership development opportunities for BRG leaders and members can improve professional skills and foster BRG collaboration across demographic and business lines, thereby increasing the effectiveness of not just the BRGs, but the enterprise. Register today!

This webinar will offer useful insights and ideas for BRG leaders and members, human resource professionals, business managers and both formal and informal executive sponsors.

APRIL

Tuesday, April 21, 2020 10am PDT/1pm EDT

Impact Analysis: Supplier Diversity Supporting Activities
How does data inform the impact of outreach activities to advance opportunities for diverse suppliers?

Jose Espinoza, CalWater
How do you prioritize activities? Why measure impact? What does impact look like? Join Jose Espinoza, as he reviews a data-driven program: the importance in measuring impact, top-five activities; he will share tips for supplier diversity managers, advocacy organizations, and diverse suppliers. He’ll conclude with how to implement a similar approach.

In addition to going beyond demonstrating diverse spend, this webinar will illustrate the importance of each step in the supplier diversity process including why it’s important to know where diverse suppliers are coming from, so you can identify barriers. More importantly, when you have current metrics on suppliers, those metrics can be used to encourage supplier diversity growth. Register today!

The webinars and the work of NUDC is made possible in part by grants from Academy Securities, ACT-1 Group, AG Tools, Alcoa Traffic Control, American Association of Blacks in Energy, American Water, Anonymous, Arnita Smith, Burns Environmental Services, Inc., C.L. King & Associates, California Water Association, Center for Energy Workforce Development, Conitsha Barnes, Connecticut Water, Consumers Energy, Damian Rivera, Diversity Comm, Donna Ruff, Dr. Alexander Washington, Duke Energy, Edison Electric Institute, Exelon Corporation, Gainesville Regional Utilities, Gunster, Heather McCreary, Hispanics in Energy, Jesse Castellanos, Liberty Power, Loop Capital, MFR Securities, Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council, New York Power Authority, NRG Energy, Osceola Consulting, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Penserra, Philadelphia Gas Works, PJM Interconnection, PPL, Ruben Strategy Group, S&H Metal & Fabricating Co. Inc., Salesforce, Sanjay Kucheria/Trinus, Southern California Edison Company, Southern California Gas Company, Southwest Gas, SouthWest Water Company, TAS Strategies, TechSoup, The Dowling-Woo Company, The ELITE SDVOB Network, Utility Workers Union of America, Yolanda Pollard; Support for the Diversity Toolkit also received from the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Economic Impact and Diversity; the Supplier Diversity webinar series is sponsored in part by generous support from Pacific Gas and Electric Company.

Internet companies won’t disconnect people for unpaid bills for 60 days, FCC says

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The Federal Communications Commission has won commitments from phone and broadband providers to support the swelling numbers of adults and children working and attending classes from home, respectively, amid the coronavirus pandemic.

A group of broadband and telecommunications firms signed up to the FCC’s “Keep Americans Connected Pledge,” which asks connectivity companies to postpone termination of services for the next 60 days on homes or small businesses because of an inability to pay bills because of the outbreak.

Among the companies to endorse the pledge are major and minor internet providers including AT&T, Comcast, Charter, Cox, Google Fiber, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile.

FCC commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel asked the FCC to go farther by asking companies to also lift and eliminate data caps and overage charges, and get hospitals connected and make sure there are hot spots for loans to school children.

Internet service providers are beginning to advertise temporary discounts, including for students whose schools are closed because of the coronavirus.

Charter Communications said Friday it would offer free broadband and Wi-Fi access for 60 days to households with K-12 or college students who do not already have a broadband subscription. Cox Communications said it was offering one month free service to new customers of its low-income service beginning Monday, and increasing the service’s speed beginning Tuesday.

AT&T said Thursday it was waiving internet data overage fees for customers who did not already have unlimited home internet access. Comcast said it would give its Internet Essentials service away for free for 60 days. (Comcast is the owner of NBCUniversal, the parent company of NBC News.)

The FCC said Friday that Chairman Ajit Pai was “calling on broadband and telephone service providers to promote the connectivity of Americans impacted by the disruptions caused by the #coronavirus pandemic.”

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.

Apple’s Siri Disagrees With A Weatherman – On Live TV…And Other Small Business Tech News

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Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Siri disagreed with a weatherman during a live forecast.

This past week, Tomasz Schafernaker—a meteorologist with BBC—was wearing his Apple Watch and delivering a live forecast when suddenly Siri spoke up. While Schafernaker shared information about a snowstorm that occurred recently in Minneapolis, Siri gave an opposing forecast, discrediting his delivery immediately. Although the meteorologist attempted to continue after the comedic snafu, Schafermaker found himself as the punchline of his co-host’s jokes for the remainder of the broadcast. It is unclear what prompted Siri but—regardless—BBC and viewers laughed the moment off while having some fun at the meteorologist’s expense. (Source: PCMag)

Why this is important for your business:

It’s a funny, yet ominous story. Siri and other voice enabled applications are already starting to insert themselves into our conversations. Soon enough they will be interacting with our customers in the same way – and it’s possible with the wrong information. Embrace this technology, but make sure to keep it in check.

2 — Facebook built a chatbot to help employees deflect criticism over the holidays

The New York Times reported this past week that Facebook has rolled out a new tool named “Liam Bot” which has been designed to help employees through difficult discussions regarding the many controversies the social media giant has been facing. The artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot was built by Facebook’s public relations team—although the company has not specifically disclosed why—and provides answers that coincide with public statements dealing with areas such as election meddling and free speech, to name a few. Liam Bot was first tested this past spring and was given to Facebook employees just before the Thanksgiving holiday. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

This is another great example of how AI technology can deliver conversational bots that will help solve problems and answer customer questions. Coming soon: easy to use tools that will help small businesses configure similar chatbots.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Rapper Residente partners with scientists to create music with brain patterns

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Rapper Residente sitting on couch dresed in black and baseball cap

Grammy-winning rapper Residente has some new collaborators on his upcoming album: scientists. The Puerto Rican performer said he studied intensely with professors at Yale University and New York University to read brain patterns in worms, mice, monkeys, fruit flies and even hitmaker Bad Bunny to create his second solo project.

“(The album is) going to be about everything that I have inside of my head … because of that I kept brainstorming and I said, ‘Oh I have to study my brain, and then I have to study other people’s brains, and then I have to study animals’ brains,'” he said.

Daniel Alfonso Colón-Ramos, an associate professor of neuroscience at Yale, said Residente spent days at the school doing research.

“We were joking that we should give him a diploma,” said Colón-Ramos.

On campus, they used electroencephalogram (EEG) tests on worms to track and record brain wave patterns.

“Without harming the animals we can actually see as the animal is thinking, as it’s moving, as it’s exploring its environment, we can see individual cells talking into each other. It turns out when these cells, when these neurons talk to each other they’re using rhythms to communicate — we call it rhythms of activity. But, at the end of the day, those rhythms can be turned into music,” Colón-Ramos said.

The untitled album will be released in November. Residente, born René Juan Pérez Joglar, worked with Suzanne Dikker, a senior research scientist in NYU’s Department of Psychology, to use EEG tests on himself and Bad Bunny to produce the album’s first single, “Bellacoso.”

Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article.