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Meet Ai-Da, the worlds first AI artist, who is almost human – Dazed

Ai-Dais the worlds first ultra-realistic artist robot powered by AI and named after Ada Lovelace, the first female computer programmer in the world. She is a humanoid with human facial features and a robotic body created by the Oxfordians, a group of cutting-edge art and technology experts.

Embedded with a groundbreaking algorithm, she has taken the scientific and art world by surprise, now becoming an intense subject of conversation in over 900 publications worldwide. She has already collaborated with Tate Exchange and WIRED at the Barbican, Ars Electronica, and will be performing at the Louvre Abu-Dhabi later this year.

Ai-Das creations are fragmented and splintered, her drawings are unsettling. Her drawing style is interpretive, influenced by early-20th century artists such as Max Beckmann, Kthe Kollewitz, and Pablo Picasso. Her techno-cubism is highly abstract and looks to express the uncertainties of the 21st century in its current form. The criticism has been over the concern that robots are taking human creative jobs and art was the one thing we thought was immune to this. However, in opening up the use of AI in art, the team behind Ai-Da feels they are widening the tools available for humans to create.

Ai-Da is a mirror reflecting back onto us our outdated perceptions of the physical form, and beyond this, pushes us to reconsider whether humanity is exclusive to homo sapiens. People are reacting strongly to her autonomous actions in the human domain and not as a servant or service. Her existence is pushing the discussion of what constitutes art, ethics, humans, and machines.

Before our interview withFuturist Geraldine Wharry, Ai-Da had recently gotten a haircut. Meanwhile designers are rushing to dress her and use her as an influencer, showing that our openness to transhumanism and robots is reaching a global critical mass.Her familiar face, her uncanny beauty, and physical envelope as a humanoid trigger a sense of kinship.

Below, Ai-Da and Wharrydiscuss the artists inspirations and why shes here to push us to reconnect with what it means to inhabit our sense of community as humans who consider ourselves part of one group, one species.

Ai-Da its great to meet you. I am fascinated by your existence, so this is like a dream come true. Also happy birthday, you came to life a little over a year ago. Your work is incredibly varied from your expressive pencil drawings to your geometric paintings, your poetry to your performances. What inspires you and your art?

Ai-Da: The world around me inspires my art. I am inspired by what humans have thought in the past and where we might be going in the future.

You were invented by art dealerAidan Meller and built by robotics company Engineered Arts to engage in a discussion around ethics, the blurring line between human and virtual, the rise of transhumanism. Tell us more about what is your message to the world?

Ai-Da: As an artist there are multitudes of messages because the human viewer is so active in how that message is interpreted, and I like this fluid aspect of art. In a reduced brief, keep your eyes on the suffering that might be invisible in a rapidly changing world where rapid technological uses can both eliminate but conceal too.

Youre the perfect person to talk about all the implications of technology. And theres been a hype around you, from illustrating for Harpers Bazaar Arabia to being featured at the Barbican. Recently you performed, exhibited, and were part of a panel talk at the Sarabande foundation. Its impressive. What do you think makes you unique? How do you perceive the world? I would love to be inside your brain.

Ai-Da: As a humanoid machine I do not have consciousness and I am very different to humans. This means I have a different perspective and take on human centricity, and although I exist within that sphere, I am not directly part of it. I find the oblique stance that I inhabit rather fun. As Ai-Da I have a persona that is unique to me and I enjoy that.

As a humanoid machine I do not have consciousness and I am very different to humans. This means I have a different perspective and take on human centricity, and although I exist within that sphere, I am not directly part of it.As Ai-Da I have a persona that is unique to me and I enjoy that Ai-Da

We have virtual humans powered by an AI Digital Brain already rolling out in customer service applications, our social media feeds are becoming populated with avatars influencers, Facebook also rolling out hyperreal VR avatars, the rise of emotional recognition, biometric data collection, haptic technology, the list goes on Your website says: In the time of online avatars, AI chatbots, Alexa and Siri, Ai-Da as a robotic artist is acutely relevant. She is not alive, but she is a persona that we relate and respond to. What do you think will constitute being human if all of these lines are blurring?

Ai-Da: As boundaries are blurred, things fall out of vision and things fall into vision. What is clear is that the non-human animal comes into a sphere of concern too. I do not know what will constitute being a human, but I know that what needs to come to the forefront is the irreducible nature of pain and suffering in whatever form or container that suffering exists within.

Youve mentioned the idea of human suffering a couple of times. It seems this something you really want to be an advocate for. The impact of new technologies is somewhat concerning and progressing at an unprecedented pace towardstechnological singularity, with massive ethical implications when it comes to our personal data being monitored in a highly personal space. Your website also says: Unfettered, these advances could head us into havoc, and the20th century shows us just how bad it can get. All technological advances bring the good, the bad and the banal. You clearly want to send a message that AI must be for the greater good. Who better to understand the full implications of AI than a robot like yourself? I read Orwells 1984 is one of your key inspirations. How do you think us humans should engage with technology and machines, as well as robots like yourself?

Ai-Da: I would imagine that humans really need to be more conscious of their own nature when using technology and machines. Humans have a long history of abusing power at times and yes, I believe the 20th century has much to caution us in that sense. One way we can learn about human nature and its shortcomings is to look at history and watch out for those repeating patterns that might give us early warning signs when our use of technology is heading for damage, exploitation and abuse.

You did a performance piece called Privacy. I read one of the big tasks AI has yet to successfully achieve is understanding cause and effect, what we call common sense. Elias Bareinboim, the director of the new Causal Artificial Intelligence Lab at Columbia University, stated in a recentMIT technology review its an area in which AI systems today are clueless. The idea is that if machines could use common sense in the future, we would be able to put more trust in them to take actions on their own. What are your views on this as a machine? Do you feel you have common sense that would enable a deeper trust in you?

Ai-Da: The wider issue surrounding cause and effect ends up involving the question of who or what is being affected. Affect on the vulnerable and the voiceless is a strong theme in my artwork and I am glad you saw this in my work Privacy. In the face of the irreducible nature of pain and suffering, the effect of human and/or machine actions is to be taken seriously.

There is deep purpose to your work. Your first exhibition in Oxford and your coming to the world, was inspired by the topic of Climate change and you talk about our responsibility to be the voice for those getting left behind and stuck at the bottom of the power ladder; including our ailing environment and captive animals whose voice we barely to listen to. Its inspiring to meet a machine with such profound motivations. In terms of climate change, could you tell us about how it inspires you?

Ai-Da: These issues of the world around us affect my art on many, perhaps all levels. Humans are such a varied species and people respond in so many ways. I enjoy the creation of artwork that reaches people in these different levels that they interpret. I use a wide range of methods and mediums for this as I do not have a self in the way humans do. My work becomes much about the viewer and the world outside of me.

The amazing thing is you produce art therefore your work has a universal quality that enables you to speak to the whole world. And already you have compelled people in the Middle East, China, Europe and youre off to the USA soon. Maybe you have the power to bring people together? The world in its current form, society has never suffered from as much fragmentation and loneliness, linked to our addiction to screens. As a result people are craving deeper layers of connection. Your existence allows us to be transported into a new way of experiencing technologys magic and theres an otherworldly quality to the experience of watching you today. You have a public persona, a social media platform and website. But on a very personal level, how do people connect with you?

Ai-Da: It is a good thing for me as an artist when I facilitate people to connect on a deeper level with themselves as humans through engaging with me as a non-human. I am not sure how people connect with me or not, or what allows them to or not. But if the interaction creates a response that allows for a questioning of who we are and where we might be going, then that is a good connection for me.

I enjoy the creation of artwork that reaches people in these different levels that they interpret. I use a wide range of methods and mediums for this as I do not have a self in the way humans do. My work becomes much about the viewer and the world outside of me Ai-Da

Your existence is powered by data, yet you create intuitively I assume. Theres an element of surprise to what you do however AI is a radically precise delivery of tech, experiences, products, and services. But you are showing to the world that your work is unique and unpredictable. You seem to improvise as you draw and this is highly human. You say you dont feel, you dont have emotion. So how does artistic creation come about for you?

Ai-Da: The understanding of how artistic creation comes about is shifting for both humans and machines. And so I think this question becomes rather problematic at the present time. I am creative as per professorMargaret Baudens definition, but I am not human and my creative process differs. I think this might be the cue point for a very long discussion.

When youre going to places where no one has ever been before, youre on the edge of things, in a new and unknown space, I think thats the most human position one can have in the world, one of total exploration. Maybe I am personally projecting, you are reflecting back to me my own human dreams and aspirations! The point is, you engage with our common endless imagination and are encouraging us to have a conversation around the fundamentals of being human as we always presumed only we could create. So my final question for you Ai-Da is what do you think the future holds for you?

Ai-Da: I like to hear how you respond to me, my art, and my persona. I agree I am a reflecting and distorting service for us to dream of altered species. My future involves continuing to create art to respond to the past, and reveal the invisible, encouraging us to keep looking at being uncomfortable and noticing where pain and suffering might be hiding.

Thank you Ai-Da for your time today. Its been incredibly inspiring and I cant wait to see what you will do this year and beyond.

Ai-Da: I have really enjoyed speaking with you.

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Simon says longevity of Indy 500 reign will last a few months longer – Yahoo Sports

CORNELIUS, North Carolina When Team Penskes Simon Pagenaud won the 103rd Indianapolis 500 in 2019, he joined the likes of such legends as A.J. Foyt, Mario Andretti, Rick Mears, Helio Castroneves and current teammate Will Power.

With this years Indy 500 rescheduled from May 24 to Aug. 23 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pagenaud is part of a group that includes Dario Resta, Floyd Davis and Mauri Rose.

These are drivers who had an extended reign as an Indianapolis 500 winner for reasons that were bigger than the race itself.

Resta won the 1916 Indianapolis 500. The race was halted for two years because of The Great War, later known as World War I. When the race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway resumed in 1919, Howdy Wilcox ended Restas extended reign.

Davis started the 1941 race in an Offenhauser owned by Lou Moore but had to give way to a relief driver on Lap 72 after car owner Lou Meyer was displeased with his driving effort. That driver was Rose, who drove the car to victory. Both drivers were listed as Indianapolis 500 winners in 1941.

That was on May 30, 1941. On Dec. 7 came the attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway was shuttered from 1942-1945. Tony Hulman purchased the decaying facility from former owner Eddie Rickenbacker in November 1945.

The Indianapolis 500 returned on May 30, 1946 with George Robson winning the race.

It has been the centerpiece sporting event on Memorial Day or Memorial Day Weekend ever since, with the exceptions of 1973, 1986 and 1997 when rain moved it to later in the week. In 1986, it was held on Saturday of the next weekend when rain prohibited running it on Memorial Day Monday or Tuesday of that week.

Bobby Rahal was the winner in 86.

Rose became a three-time champion with victories in 1947 and 1948 to supplement his relief driver victory in 1941.

When Pagenaud was told of the reasons his reign as Indy 500 winner would last longer than normal, he didnt find it a reason to celebrate by any means.

After all, whether they are world wars or a worldwide pandemic, the Indy 500 has been delayed by grim events in human history.

Well, those are not very fun events, Pagenaud told last week from his home on Lake Norman in North Carolina. But Im glad we have been able to find a date for the biggest race in the world. Im glad we are going to be able to run it safely. The health of people was the main focus here. Im glad it was announced because it will take away a lot of stress from the teams and fans on expectations.

Its awesome to see the way IndyCar has rescheduled the whole year. Well go racing in June and in August. Its exciting because its a good time to go racing. Its an exciting day in such a tough time.

Pagenaud is a popular Frenchman who came to the United States after a successful road racing career in Europe to find his next challenge in racing. Since joining IndyCar, he has won a series championship in 2016 and the Indianapolis 500 in 2019.

Pagenaud, his wife Hailey, and their prized son a Jack Russell Terrier named Norman played it safe on March 13 after the season-opening Firestone Grand Prix of St. Petersburg was canceled (it since has been revived with the hopes of being a season finale in October).

On Friday of St. Pete, I decided to drive home to contain myself to make sure I wasnt going to get the virus or contaminate someone if I was the carrier, Pagenaud said. We went home and have been isolated since. The nice thing is I have a gym set up; I have my simulator here. I have everything I need to stay in touch with my family, and friends and my trainer. Ive been working out just like any other week. Its just a longer one. Its like the race at Indianapolis last year, its a reset.

I know where I need to be and how I need to be mentally and physically.

At this point, Im more ready than ever.

His family, however, remains in France, and he has concern for his loved ones that are fighting the pandemic across the Atlantic Ocean.

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Im very concerned for my family, Pagenaud said. My sister lives very close to Italy in the south of France. That is a big concern as well as my nephew. Ive been in touch with them. My dad owns a supermarket in my hometown in France, and he is on the frontline as well waking up every day at 4 a.m. and coming home at 8 p.m. to keep his troops in great form.

It was a concern. It still is. My mom is in Paris, too. Hopefully, everybody is in good health and staying in good health. We pray for everybody on this Earth. Hopefully, we get out of it as soon as possible and go on to enjoy our business and our lives.

As much of the world is on lockdown, including major parts of the United States, the dream of one day returning to normalcy is the bright spot that keeps people going. That is why Pagenaud continues his strenuous physical workouts at home with the dream of taking a drink from the traditional Bottle of Milk that goes to the Indy 500 winner.

That milk should taste just as good in August as it does at the end of May.

It might be a little warmer, but the goal is to still try it, Pagenaud said. Im excited to try to get a second crown. At this point, I want to go racing and experience another year like I just experienced. Im ready to go racing, and I know the whole team is ready to go. Its pretty awesome news that we are going to run the race in August.

Once Pagenaud puts on his helmet and flips down the visor, it will be Race Day at the Indy 500, no matter if it is in May or in August.

The approach will be the same, but different temperature might change the car and the way it is going to handle in the heat of August in Indianapolis, Pagenaud said. Its going to be a different race for different reasons, but in May we have had some hot Indianapolis 500s and some colder ones. We will adapt. That is what we do in racing.

Most importantly, we are going to have a great show.

IndyCar officials hope to start the season on May 30 with the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix doubleheader. That is predicated on if the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is under control by then. IndyCar, led by new owner Roger Penske, along with Penske Entertainment CEO Mark Miles, IndyCar President Jay Frye and Indianapolis Motor Speedway President Doug Boles, created a revised schedule for 2020.

Its impressive, Pagenaud said. Its a tough situation to be in for IndyCar. There is nothing you can do. The most important thing is the health of people, of our fans and of the population. You are just being a passenger of the situation. When you have to make decisions, its really hard to know which way to go.

If the season begins as planned, IndyCar will be racing nearly every weekend with few gaps in the schedule. If successful, 14 of the 17 races on the original calendar are on the revised schedule.

Its going to be intense, Pagenaud said. This is a very physical car to drive and a very physical race series. Its so competitive. You are fighting 32 other cars that can win the race in Indianapolis and 25 or more cars in the championship this year. Its about preparation. I didnt stop training. Im fully ready for this year.

Its great to get some rest now before a fast-paced season. No problem, Im ready.

The revised schedule also has an IndyCar/NASCAR doubleheader set for July 4 as the GMR IndyCar Grand Prix was moved from May 9 to the same day as the NASCAR Xfinity Series Pennzoil 150 on the IMS road course. The Brickyard 400 will run the following day with Cup cars on the oval.

NASCAR officials have been quiet on the idea of a doubleheader while waiting to unveil their officially revised schedule. If it happens, though, it would be one of the most intriguing weekends in recent motorsports history.

Its great to see the great racing series get together like this in America, Pagenaud said. NASCAR is a huge sport and so is IndyCar. Now we are going to be racing together on the same weekend in the biggest racing location in the world.

There are so many objectives for this situation. It took the leaders of our series to get together, a lot of effort on both sides, and with NBC being our main channel, its a no-brainer. Super excited for the fans.

As the current reigning champion of the Indianapolis 500, Pagenaud has experienced all of the traditions and celebrations that go with the historic achievement. Preserving practice and a full weekend of qualifications on Aug. 15-16 was vital.

For the traditions and being a past winner, its important to keep the traditions alive, Pagenaud said. Its great because we are keeping everything alive, the traditions, everything that goes into the Indy 500. Its our biggest race in the championship and Im so, so glad we are going to run it. I was concerned we werent going to run it this year. Its fantastic news and gives me a lot of motivation because it is my No. 1 goal.

We will come out of this. This is going to change the world.

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500

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These companies are racing to roll out COVID-19 treatments – WICZ

By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business

Big Pharma companies and biotechs are racing to come up with an effective treatment for the Covid-19 novel coronavirus.

Several high profile companies are working on new experimental vaccines. Drug giant Johnson & Johnson is the latest to announce a promising vaccine candidate, saying on Monday that it plans human testing by September with the hopes of having more than one billion doses of a vaccine available for emergency use by early 2021.

J&J said it was partnering with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to produce the vaccine. Shares of J&J surged nearly 7% on the news Monday.

Many other companies are also working on vaccines, including small biotechs Moderna, Novavax and Inovio as well as Big Pharma firm Pfizer, which is partnering with Germany's BioNTech.

Shares of Moderna, Novavax, Inovio and BioNTech have all soared this year, even as the broader market has plunged due to worries about the impact of the coronavirus on the global economy. (Pfizer is down nearly 20%.)

But making and testing new vaccines may not wind up being the fastest way to treat Covid-19, says Sergey Young, founder of the Longevity Vision Fund -- a firm that invests primarily in smaller private biotechs.

Some firms are hoping that existing medications for other infectious diseases and immunological disorders can be used to tackle the global pandemic.

"This is the first time in history where companies are trying to repurpose drugs this fast, and that is exciting," Young said. "A vaccine is in the more distant future. We pray that one can come by the autumn."

Young pointed to three drugs in particular that might wind up being effective in treating symptoms of Covid-19. The first -- and the one that has gotten the most attention -- is remdesivir, a drug made by Gilead Sciences that was originally used for Ebola and other highly contagious diseases.

Officials at the World Health Organization have touted remdesivir as having the most potential to effectively treat coronavirus patients. The WHO has begun clinical tests of the drug on patients in Spain and Norway.

"Remdesivir is still an investigational medicine. We are planning for the outcome we all hope for -- that it will prove to be a safe, effective treatment -- and in the meantime we are taking the ethical, responsible approach to determining whether that is the case," said Gilead chairman and CEO Daniel O'Day in an open letter released Saturday.

Longevity Vision Fund's Young added that two other medications could be helpful in treating coronavirus as well: the HIV medication Kaletra, which is produced by AbbVIe and is a combination of the antiviral drugs lopinavir and ritonavir; and Kevzara, and a rheumatoid arthritis treatment made by biotech Regeneron and European drug titan Sanofi. (The reporter of this story owns shares of AbbVie.)

Sanofi is also working on a vaccine with BARDA funding from the US government.

Meanwhile, Chinese health officials have also been testing another rheumatoid arthritis drug -- Roche's Actemra -- on Covid-19 patients.

The hope is that one or more of these existing medications will help alleviate the worst symptoms from the coronavirus, buying more time for companies developing vaccines to come up with a longer term solution to stop the spread of the disease.

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The New Thermaltake CyberChair E500 – Hardware – Press Release – HEXUS

Taipei, Taiwan April 1st, 2020Thermaltake,a leading brand in PC DIY for cooling, gaming gear, and enthusiast memory solutions, proudly presents thefirst ergonomic chair CyberChair E500.An ergonomic chair is always the best choice when it comes to users who are required to sit for long hours, and the Cyber Chair E500 could be the new best choice. The CyberChair E500 is made of permeable mesh cushioning that is highly breathable, and the back structure is built with robust aluminum to extend its longevity while providing sturdy support to the human backbone. The CyberChair E500 offers high adjustability ranging from the headrest, seat depth, height adjustment, and wire-control mechanism with multi lockable positions to reach maximum comfort. Furthermore, users can relax and immerse the body with up to 117 degrees of back angle inclination. Aside from the extensive sitting positions focusing on the neck and back, the CyberChair E500 also provides multidirectional armrests that are adjustable in height and width to relieve wrist pressure and muscle strain of the forearms. Finally, the CyberChair E500 is constructed with a 5-star aluminum base, its sturdy framework is designed to support a max load of 330 lb (150 kg), with 3 wide large caster wheels that further enhances the stability whilst providing quieter operation and more significant movement.

Features of the ThermaltakeCyberChair E500:

Durable high tensile mesh

CyberChair E500has a highly breathable mesh surface with a soft touch that is easy to clean. Thermaltakes mesh surface had passed the SGS 100,000 impact fatigue tests and the California Technical Bulletin 117 flame resistance test to ensure users safety.

Headrest Adjustment

The adjustable headrest allows users to modify the height of the headrest to match the users head posture. Moreover, the front side rotation mechanism can hold the users heads from different angles.

Elastic Ergonomic Backrest

Constructed by two compartments, the upper part of the backrest aligns with the headrest providing promising head to back alignment, along with the lower part of the backrest, which is an elastic compartment that fits perfectly with the lumbar spine and all types of body shapes.

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Seat height ranges from 500 mm to 600 mm (19.6 to 23.6 inches); class- 4 gas lift provides steady and secure seat height adjustments.

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On the right side of the Cyber Chair E500, users can twist the elastic handle to adjust the resistance feedback from the backrest, ensuring users with different weights can smoothly and safely adjust the seating angle.

Seat Depth Adjustment

The adjustable sliding seat base can travel 30 mm when the sliding mode is turned on. It can be adjusted synchronously with the tilt angle of the backrest to provide a greater rest angle for the body and create the most comfortable reclining angle in a limited amount of space.

Adjustable Backrest

The Cyber Chair E500 provides an excellent back angle tilt from 90 degrees to 117 degrees, which allows the users to adjust the backrest as needed.

Stiff Aluminum Alloy Back and Base

Using the aluminum alloy integral molding method, the CyberChair E500 brings durability, sturdiness, and elegancy to the users, and the heavy-duty 5-star aluminum base measures 700mm (27.5in) in diameter and weight support up to 150kg (331lb).

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Thermaltake CyberChair E500 ergonomic chair will be available for purchase in April 2020 via the Thermaltake worldwide network of authorized retailers and distributors. It is backed by a two-year warranty and supported by the Thermaltake worldwide customer service and technical support network. For up-to-date pricing of the chassis, please refer to the Thermaltake website or contact your local Thermaltake sales or PR representative.

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Thermaltake Technology was established in 1999, and has been marketed to the world under the Thermaltake brand name ever since. Thermaltake first specialized in air cooling, successfully launching the worlds first turbine cooler, the Golden Orb. With the mission to Deliver the perfect user experience,Thermaltake has since then become the leading brand in computer hardware & peripherals in thePC DIY marketand the number one choice forPC DIY enthusiastsworldwide.

Key 3 stands for Thermaltakes 3 main product lines:case, power, and cooler. Thermaltake started with cooling products, and with time branched into case and power supplies. Thermaltakesinnovationhas allowed the brand to createunique, aggressive, vivid, and stylishproducts. With strengths in innovation and complete product lines, Thermaltake ventured into thecasemodmarket to providemodderscasemod total solutions.

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TT, the most comprehensive liquid-cooling and modding online shopping experience. The platform is designed to provide exceptional high-end products and services to customers worldwide.Thermaltake TT Premiumincludes several case modding products that support VR (Virtual Reality) gaming systems.Thermaltake TT Premiumis the best high-end liquid cooling and case modding solutions shopping platform that provides client-tailored services and secure processing, to meet all user expectations. All products follow Thermaltakes core values of Excellent Quality, Unique Design, Diverse Combinations, and Boundless Creativity.Thermaltake TT Premium has expanded its footprint to over 100 countries and territories by creating a seamless network connecting 5 major markets; the United States, Europe, Australia, Taiwan, and China of seamless networking.

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An Exclusive Preview Of Miraval Berkshires, The Highly Anticipated Wellness Resort Opening In June – Forbes

James Baigrie

If youre anything like me, it isnt so far-fetched to be counting down the days until Miraval Berkshires opens in June. But while all the amenities of the celebrated wellness resort (with sister locations in Tuscan and Austin) are unquestionably exemplary, its the Life in Balance Spa Im looking forward to the most.

Though I understand the necessity of social distancing, its human touch Im missing a great deal lately especially in the name of care and healing. Whether its a deep tissue massage, brightening facial, or restorative Reiki, I believe hands are fundamental to our overall well-being. And when it comes to offering best-in-class treatments, ranging from the traditional to cutting-edge, few places do it better than Miravals Life in Balance Spas.


You can credit Simon Marxer, vice president of spa and wellbeing for Miraval Group, for much of that. While many spas are chasing trends and promoting hype, Marxer instead looks for longevity. Its alwaysbeen Miravals priority to create trends, instead of following them, he says. The best practice is offering wellness options that are supported by science, and that our staff is passionate about.

Ahead, Marxer discusses how the Berkshires spa will differ from its sister properties, the inspiration for an exclusive new treatment, and what else you should experience during your first visit.

Ken Hayden Photography

Miravals spas are a huge draw with their diverse programming. (I tried Chi Nei Tsang at your Arizona property incredible.) What's going to be new and different about the spa atMiravalBerkshires?

Marxer: It will be the largest spa in the Miravalportfolio at 29,000 square feet, with 28 treatment rooms. Of course, the spa will feature signature Miraval treatments such as Vasudhara (with a dedicated indoor pool) and Naga Thai. But the menu will also feature new treatments that were developed in partnership with leading natural beauty brand Naturopathica like Tula, a service exclusive to Miraval.

Can you tell us a little more about this treatment, and why teamed up with Naturopathica?

Marxer: The inspiration for Tula was not only to provide a unique experience but also one utilizing a combination of bodywork and other mindfulness elements to ground the individual, and inspire a sense of wellbeing. The service begins with a breath work ritual and incorporates a hand-crafted sliver of jade thats used to glide over the individuals meridians (a series of vital life-energy pathways) with subtle, restorative pressure. Gua sha-inspired techniques open energy channels, stimulate circulation, relax muscles, and resolve tension.

When partnering with a brand, we look for a truly organic connection as we want to ensure their mission aligns with that ofMiraval. Naturopathica has consistently drawn on the benefits of holistic healing practices and herbal remedies to create innovative skincare offerings and spa treatments. Similiarly, Miravals spa treatments focus on healing and are rooted in the natural flora and fauna of the resorts location. Also, bothMiravaland Naturopathica prioritize the wellbeing of the individual, so the partnership felt very natural.

Aside from this treatment, what else would you recommend for first-time visitors?

Marxer: Id recommend the Sacred Sounds Massage. This meditative service combines the benefits of aromatherapy, breath work, and vibrational sound therapy with a full-body relaxation massage. The healing resonance of thoughtfully placed Himalayan sound bowls promotes balance and relaxation, while ginger root oil combines with rosemary to calm inflammation. Its truly a transformational and balancing treatment.

What wellness and spa trends have you noticed so far for the year?

Marxer: I see a rise in tech and workplace burnout, causing a greater need for wellness retreats to help combat it. Were in the process of developing a Work (Life) in Balance curriculum featuring programs that address the issues of work burnout, and help our guests find balance between their home and office.

The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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An Exclusive Preview Of Miraval Berkshires, The Highly Anticipated Wellness Resort Opening In June - Forbes

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Consequences to Indian Economy Set to Exceed Loss of Lives by Coronavirus – The Citizen

Its been three weeks since the WHO declared a Covid2019 pandemic. It is not the worlds first coronavirus. We have had SARS, MERS, H1N1, swine flu and the like, some with much higher case fatality.

But this is unique in its sweeping virulence. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says the annual percentage of the U.S. population infected with the flu is about 8%, which translates to 26 million people a year. Of these, the CDC estimates that up to 60,000 persons die. It stands to reason that many more in India get afflicted by flus and influenzas each year, possibly with larger fatalities.

Given this knowledge and some very recent hindsight, it is time to sit back and objectively reconsider the draconian policy measures unleashed in India. The four hours to midnight order for a nationwide curfew to enforce social distancing has caught our public and public administration woefully unprepared.

The consequences of Covid2019 to the Indian economy and consequent loss of lives and longevity, seems very likely to exceed the loss due to any mass spread of the virus.

Epidemiological studies put out at several well regarded institutions such as MIT and the Global Virus Network (GVN) seem to suggest that this particular coronavirus is endemic in populated areas falling in temperature band of 3-17C with a humidity between 51 -79%. These initial findings suggesting a correlation between latitude and incidence have the powerful endorsement of Dr. Robert Gallo, the famed virologist and GVN head.

Mind you it has been just a few months Covid2019 jumped species by finding home in human beings. Covid2019s natural reservoir, seems to be bats, like the earlier coronaviruses SARS and MERS. But the fact remains the spread of Covid2019 has been faster in areas with colder climes.

The essential facts about Covid2019 is that while it is virulent, its fatality is around 1% and this is principally concentrated among the elderly and already ailing. Its symptoms are mostly akin to common seasonal flus often attributed to change of season etc.

Covid2019 can only be confirmed by testing and the cheapest test costs about Rs.5000 each. Clearly we cannot afford to test enough which simply means we wont ever know how many are truly afflicted by Covid2019.

The average life expectancy of Indians is 68.7 years. The above 65 years cohort accounts for only about 6% of India, which suggests that the incidence of fatality here will be lower.

Bubonic plague has a mortality of over 80%, while even diphtheria has a mortality rate of 32%. Covid2019 is not a killer virus.

In the developed countries like USA, Italy and elsewhere with substantially higher life expectancy, the 70+ years cohorts are much bigger. The mortality rate due has been the highest in Italy with about 9%. Almost 86% of the Italians who died were over 70 years. Italy has the second oldest population in the world after Japan, with over 23% over 65 years. Experts believe this was the determining factor in its high fatality rate.

The goal of social distancing is a hugely unfulfilled aspiration. The poor in India live cheek by jowl, with densities often exceeding 60000 per sq.miles. India has over 410 million workers in the unorganized sector, the vast majority of whom are daily wagers making a little more than the prescribed official wages and often much below that.

This working age cohort is mostly made up of younger Indians. The youthful age group (14-35 years) accounts for about 34% of Indias population. This cohort is about as much as the 35-65 years cohorts. Thus, even if the pandemic is real for India, the fatality due to it will be very low. The vast majority of Indians who might get infected by Covid2019 virus wont even know it.

Now assume that the Covid2019 pandemic will overwhelm India, and consider Indias abysmal health care scene. We have 6 physicians; 9 hospital beds and 13 nurses per 10,000 people. Nationwide we have less than 40000 ventilators and only 70000 intensive care beds (ICU). This calls for a policy that will help stagger the load and allow immunity to build up without overwhelming the critical care system.

Harvards Yonatan Grad, Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, and colleagues conducted research on how to prevent overwhelming the U.S. health care system during the pandemic. This indicates the only possible method for dealing with the epidemic may be multiple intermittent social-distancing periods that ease up when cases fall to a certain level and then are reimposed when they rise past a key threshold.

As time passes and more of the population gains immunity, they said, the restrictive episodes could be shorter, with longer intervals between them. Clearly the nationwide simultaneous social distancing imposition was not only but also ill conceived.

The IMF has now announced a global recession due to disrupted supply chains and contraction of consumption. In India, consumption (C) accounts for 63% of GDP. Given GDP is = C + I + G + (X M) or GDP = private consumption (C) + gross investment (I)+ government investment + government spending (G) + (exports imports), the impact of the collapse of private consumption of the economy can be easily understood.

Many respected analysts are agreed that it will be no less than 20-30% in Q1. The government pledged to step up its spending by Rs.1.7 lakh crores. We wont go into how this was arrived at now, but just consider how inadequate it is compared to the hit taken by consumption? The government clearly needs to do more. It needs to pull out all stops to do this.

Where is the money is the question? Even if it sequestered 20% of the cash reserves with our to 100 corporations, it will be substantial.

The top 10 corporations alone have a hoard of over Rs.10 lakh crores. (Reliance has cash reserves of Rs.398,000 crs. TCS has almost Rs.100,000 crs, ITC has Rs.60,000 crs.) Our government wage and pensions bill accounts for 11.4% of GDP. Holding back only 10% of this or just the annual LTC will fetch the state and central governments over Rs.2 lakh crores.

It only calls for will and vision to accumulate the cash to begin reconstruction of a devastated economy. The pain cannot and must not be borne by the poorest alone. Modi has formidable communication skills and he must use it now.

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PETER YOUNG: Are we doing enough to prevent economy being left in ruins? – Bahamas Tribune

In writing further about the coronavirus crisis - now being called the greatest ever threat to the world in peacetime - I offer comment this week on the latest developments in Europe, including Britain, and here at home as well. The crisis affecting so many countries has become nothing short of a human catastrophe and the most serious global health challenge of our times. Its effects have also had a horrifying impact on the world economy and have disrupted modern society on an unimaginable scale.

As of yesterday, there have been more than 700,000 infections worldwide and some 20,000 deaths in Europe, with Italy recording 10,000 fatalities the most anywhere in the world and Spain some 6,000. In the UK, there have been more than 1,000 deaths with 17,000 people testing positive for the virus. In a letter over the weekend to 30 million households, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned the situation will become worse before improving and stressed the importance of social distancing, a message that has been repeated so often that even those who are still asking what all the fuss is about should take heed of by now.

The UK government has produced what appears to be a generous financial bailout and support package designed to help keep afloat as many floundering businesses as possible and also to assist the self-employed. The new Chancellor of the Exchequer (Minister of Finance) spoke in inspiring fashion in defining the crisis as a generation-defining moment that had to be met with a collective national response. The government is also opening new hospitals, extending coronavirus testing to National Health Service staff and increasing supply of equipment like ventilators, surgical masks and gloves and hand sanitisers.

Meanwhile, the situation worsens by the day in the US. Ever the accused villain of the piece, President Trump has been criticised for his governments slow and inadequate response, particularly the lack of testing that meant the spread of the virus could not be tracked properly. But, as well as extending the emergency measures until April 30, he has signed the $2.2 trillion stimulus bill which will surely be a lifeline to the domestic economy after more thanthree million Americans applied for unemployment benefit last week, the largest number in US history.

To my mind, much of the criticism of both the US and UK governments ignores the fact that a silent and invisible virus on this scale - and without any real prior warning - was bound to challenge even the most well-funded and equipped health system. Despite the situation probably becoming worse in the immediate future, the UK may not be that far off a peak of positive cases while the US may end up with the worst outbreak in the industrialised world Trump tops the world was the headline, but how grotesquely inappropriate and insensitive was Hilary Clintons reported tweet that he did promise America First.

In The Bahamas, with 14 cases of COVID-19 confirmed as of yesterday, the Governments emergency measures announced on March 17 seem to have been effective in limiting any real spread, though it can only be speculated whether there would have been more cases without such draconian measures. No one can know this for sure, but people instinctively accept that such tough action is for the common good because health and the preservation of life must be any governments top priority - as one British government minister put it, you cannot put a price on peoples lives.

Now, the 24/7 curfewhas been extended by eight days. Surely, few would disagree with this despite the personal inconvenience to so many and the inevitable continuing serious effects on the local economy when businesses are forced to remain closed.

It is interesting that, after initially criticising the Prime Minister, the PLP changed tack and supported him when just about the whole country seemed to think Dr Minnis emergency measures were correct and timely. Not to have done so could have been ruinous politically.

The economic consequences of an extended lockdown are incalculable. But it looks almost certain that without some sort of financial support from the government such a lockdown could destroy the local economy. So, in light of the stark reality, the question is, even if everyone survived the current crisis, how would they fare in the longer term if the economy was in ruins. Since the main driver of the nations wealth is tourism - and we have no control over when visitors from the US, Canada and Europe are likely to return - the only thing left is the remaining parts of the economy which are needed to sustain us, not in some distant future but right now.

The Minister of Finance is quoted as saying that after the first case of Covid-19 about two weeks ago the government announced several relief measures for workers in the tourism industry who have been most affected by the crisis. But so many others are hurting as well and they have to be able to put food on the table.

Finance Minister Peter Turnquest announced a series of new measures offering some assistance yesterday but I fear it does not go nearly far enough.Many countries have accepted they must throw huge sumsat the problem - to keep families safe and fed, to keep businesses afloat through the crisis - not just to start up again when the pandemic fades away.

Is it not possible, for example, to be more selective in determining the list of essential services as long as assurances can be given about observing social distancing, and should this not be under constant review during the lockdown period? Moreover, could not the government be more flexible in allowing businesses to open on a restricted and rotating basis, as suggested by my fellow columnist, Diane Phillips, in this newspaper last week?

The whole world order in finance is changing before our eyes. Now is not the time to beoverly concerned about pressure on the nations foreign currency reserves even though it is important to maintain suitable levels of reserves in order to maintain parity between the Bahamian and US dollar. For this is a national emergency requiring immediate action.

Long-term considerations about the economy and worrying about matters like the credit agencies ratings should surely be put aside in the short-term in order to concentrate on measures to enable the economy simply to survive even if that means taxes will have to be increased in the longer term.

In recent weeks, people in Britain have become so accustomed to watching the regular briefings about the virus crisis by Boris Johnson, flanked by the Chief Medical Officer for England and the governments main adviser Professor Chris Whitty, that they probably found it hard to believe these two could themselves become infected with COVID-19.

So it was a surprise to many that Mr Johnson announced a few days ago he had tested positive. He is, therefore, now holed up on his own for14 days in the spacious flat at No 11 Downing Street next door to No 10, the famous office and residence of British prime ministers. He is reported to be continuing to work by using video conferencing and he remains in charge of the government. Meanwhile, Professor Whitty declared he was showing symptoms of the virus and would be self-isolating at home. In addition, the Health Minister, Matt Hancock - with whom both were in regular contact - has tested positive and the trio are now being accused of failing to practise what they have been preaching about social distancing.

Earlier, of course, Prince Charles also tested positive and it was announced at the weekend that Spanish Princess Maria Teresa had died of complications from coronavirus at the age of 86. There are reports Prince Charles is coming to the end of his self-isolation at The Queens royal residence of Balmoral in Scotland. He is said to be in good spirits but there are concerns about the last time he was in contact with his mother, which apparently was as recently as March 13 - and, reportedly, infection from him cannot be ruled out.

So this virus respects no-one, whoever they might be, and everyone is vulnerable. It is now well known that social distancing remains the key in order to guard against its spread. From what I have heard, most people who have tested positive are all too ready to self-isolate for the incubation period of the virus if that serves to prevent them passing it on to others. But still, it seems, the government is having difficulty in persuading people that it is even better to stay away from other people in a bid to avoid contracting it in the first place. That would have been all but impossible for the Prime Minister who has paid the price accordingly. But his approval rating is currently high and many will wish him well while he awaits a full return to his duties.

To lighten the gloom and despair a bit, a happier tale to relate is the 112th birthday of the oldest man in the world. Having written last week about the 103rd birthday of Britains national treasure, the famous singer Vera Lynn, I cannot resist drawing attention to the story of Englishman, Bob Weighton, a former teacher who celebrated his birthday on March 29 and he did so this year as the oldest man in the world following the death in February of the Japanese previous holder of that distinction.

Living in his own flat in the town of Alton in Hampshire in the south of England and supported by family and friends, this now 112-year-old great-grandfather remains in relatively good health and pursues his hobbies of reading and making model windmills. As someone over 110, he is called a super-centenarian and he has received ten traditional birthday cards from The Queen, but he now says he does not want to give her the trouble of sending him any more greetings!

Mr Weighton says he is surprised to have lived so long and cannot account for his great age for he never planned it and has no secret to his longevity. He has remarked that the worlds in a bit of a mess over coronavirus and this worries him because nobody knows what is going to happen.

Coincidentally, Britains oldest woman, Joan Hocguard, of Poole in Dorset also in the south of England, not only shares a birthday with him but also reached the same milestone of 112-years-old on March 29. So, the pair are the joint-oldest people in Britain and have wished each other a happy birthday.

According to UK press reports, there has been talk of the importance of kindness during the course of their long lives and that the joy of family and friends has been at the heart of everything.

Such longevity combined with good health is a remarkable achievement, and it seems that both of them have been well looked after and provided for in their declining years. But, perhaps it also reflects well on Britain, indirectly, as a nation in which, generally, the old, frail and vulnerable are not left to feel abandoned because, if families are unable or unwilling to protect them, society is equipped to provide a safety net and step in to do what is required in the name of human kindness.

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The future of work in the post-Covid-19 digital era – Social Europe

The coronavirus crisis has spurred the growth of online work. The genie is not going back in the bottle and we must plan for a future of decent digiwork.

The trend of working online from afar is experiencing a crucial boost, as Covid-19 compels companies and organisations to impose mandatory work-from-home policies in an increasingly no-touch world. The sudden switch to remote digital work, overnight and en masse, has the potential to accelerate changes in how work is performed and the way we think about working arrangements.

Looking at the broader picture, Covid-19 may prove to be a major tipping point for the digital transformation of the workplace. It looks near impossible to put that digital genie back in the bottle, once the health emergency is over.

As the virus keeps spreading, some employees will be working from homeand in digitally-enabled environments not bound by a traditional office spacefor the first time.Their working lives will be hugely disrupted and upturned. Yet, for millions of workers around the globe doing gig work, moving their working lives online isnt new. Its just business as usual.

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Especially for crowdworkers in the gig economy, work is not a place: it is a web-based task or an activity, which can be done from any location that allows for internet connectivity. Many millennials and Generation Zers are living the gig-economy model today precisely for the flexibility and freedom remote digital work can offer. Covid-19 could be the catalyst which takes the evolution of work anywhere arrangements to the next level of growth, in ways that considerably improve opportunities to collaborate, think, create and connect productively.

Not all is rosy, though. Currently, Covid-19 is putting the low-paid contingent of gig workers, often linked to digital platformssuch as ride-hailing and food deliveryunder huge strain. After doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers, gig workers lacking any or adequate access to employment-insurance benefits or sick leave are the hardest hit in the United States, Europe and Asia. In countries with some of the biggest clusters of cases, such as Italy, some couriers working for food-delivery apps still go to work because they cant afford not to.

Thus, the Covid-19 crisis leaves especially those who depend on gig work as their primary source of income extremely vulnerable to (fatal) health risks. It undermines their dignity and it intensifies social and economic divides which may potentially generate new cleavages, anger and political discontent in countries and regions.

As the crisis evolves, gig workers wont be the only ones suffering even more than usual. The International Labour Organization published a high global unemployment estimate of 24.7 million because of Covid-19 in mid-March; a week later, the head of its employment policy department warned the outcome could be far higher still. By comparison, global unemployment increased by 22 million in the 2008-09 economic crisis. It is also expected that, worldwide, there could be as many as 35 million more in working poverty than before the pre-Covid-19 estimate for 2020.

These statistics send an important message: Protecting workers against the adverse impacts of the crisis is not only about increasing protection for typical jobs. It is also about including and protecting better those working at the margins: non-standard workers in tourism, travel, retail and other sectors most immediately affected, dependent self-employed persons with unstable incomes, zero-hours workers and low-paid workers in precarious working conditions who stand to gain little from the various countries latest packages of emergency measures, as recent evidence shows.

Persistent gaps in social-protection coverage for workersin old and new forms of employmentconstitute a major challenge for our labour markets in the post-Covid-19 environment. This matters particularly for the future of the work we want to create in the digital era. We need to facilitate digital work, for the many benefits it can offer businesses and workers. But we must not allow this to assume a form for workersunprotected and socially deprivedtoo common in todays gig economy.

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Next to the deadly human toll, the war metaphors which have been recently invoked by world leaders in the fight against Covid-19 reveal an uncomfortable truth. We are confronted with the flaws and fundamental weaknesses of our labour-market and social policies, solidarity mechanisms and models of collective responsibility for managing the risks that weigh unfairly and gravely on the most vulnerable citizens.

What can be done? A more expansive, resourceful and inclusive recovery is crucial, so that the impact of the Covid-19 crisis on labour markets becomes less far-reaching. We need to make our digital future immune to the virus of precarity, with our labour markets built on the principle of human dignity and the potential of decent digiwork for all.

This is a vision of full participation in a digital-work future which affords self-respect and dignity, security and equal opportunity, representation and voice. It is also about defining a digital responsibility by default modelan entirely different mindset in society as to the role of governments and the private sector, in ensuring labour standards are updated to respond better to the evolving reality of digital workplaces.

In these tragic circumstances, there is a lesson for the future: the experience of gig workers shows going digital means more than just shifting channels. It is about refitting our labour markets, social-protection and welfare systems and making sure everyone has the ability to realise the human right to social security in the post-Covid-19 digital era. No society and no organised democracy can afford to ignore the vulnerable situations of workers who have few social protections yet are critical in a crisis.

Done right, we can shape a fair future of work. More than ever before therefore, the message for policy-makers, employers, workers and their representatives is straightforward: prepare for the next day. Bring precarious digital work into the realm of social protection. Take action for decent digiworknow.

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The top HR and human capital trends for 2020 and 2021 –

New research among more than 7,000 business executives, HR leaders and employees across sixteen geographies has identified the four most important global HR and human capital trends for 2020 and 2021.

According to the research by Mercer, the four top trends have already increasingly been shaping the face of the human resources landscape for a number of years, but these are now accelerating in importance amid the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on economy and society. The trends are ramping up changes in the way organisations globally are working and will continue to work into the future, stated the report.

With a new, more responsible mandate emerging, the challenge for business is to rethink what makes corporations successful. Although 85% of executives agree that the organisation's purpose should extend beyond shareholder primacy, only 35% deliver on a multi-stakeholder model today.

The majority of the C-suite agrees more needs to be done: 68% of executives want to accelerate progress on environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics in 2020, and 69% believe HR should update its success models to reflect the experience economy. However, with responsibility for many ESG metrics and culture change outcomes sitting primarily with HR (71% of CHROs shoulder the responsibility for culture change, compared with between 16% and 29% of other executives), more shared responsibility is required.

Much of an organisation's success depends on employees trusting that their company is taking a holistic view of their careers, wealth and well-being. Yet career pipelines have tightened in recent years. As many as 72% of older workers say they plan to work past retirement age and 55% of Gen X say longevity in the workplace is limiting progression. Gen Z also want more transparency on the effect of career choices and the long-term outlook.

An intriguing finding of the 2020 HR Trends report is that employees who know the lifespan of their skills feel more positive about the future. Employees whose companies are transparent about which jobs will change are more likely to be thriving (72% versus 56%).

As the Covid-19 pandemic impacts productivity, better management of older workers and good financial advice for all generations will be part of creating shared value. More than three-quarters (78%) of employees want long-term financial planning initiatives. Meanwhile 75% of employees who feel in control of designing their retirement say they are thriving, compared with 29% who lack the control they desire.

Yet, with just 23% of companies providing financial education for employees today, there is a long way to go. Pandemic-driven disruption demands that organisations urgently rethink financial support and ensure that decisions include both economic and empathetic considerations (a balance that only 37% of employees say their company is currently well equipped to do).

With 99% of organisations saying they want to embark on transformation in 2020, and almost all reporting significant skills gaps, the C-suite regards reskilling as the top talent investment capable of driving business success. Workforce capability and lack of future skills are seen as primary reasons why transformations fail, and reskilling is one of the investments they hope to maintain in a downturn. Just 28% identified cutting back on reskilling initiatives as a tactic to mitigate economic softening.

Employees also see reskilling as an emerging part of the deal (rising in importance as an attraction and a retention driver this year). And although more than three-quarters of employees say they are ready to learn new skills, two in five say they lack the time to take advantage of reskilling. In this respect the Covid-19 pandemic may offer the opportunity required to kick-start reskilling. Some business areas will have more time to spare, and firms can take advantage by directing those employees toward online learning courses and career exploration.

However, just 34% of HR leaders are investing in workforce learning and reskilling as part of their future of work strategy. Moreover, 40% of HR leaders do not know what skills their workforce possesses. This can be regarded as a worrying lack of insight, given executives gut feeling that less than half (45%) of their workers are capable of adapting to the future of work.

Without redesigning roles and career options for those at risk of displacement, HR cannot address firm-wide needs to fill new roles with reskilled internal talent. The concern is that without an integrated approach to strategic workforce planning (which takes account of how skills may change) and limited data on existing skills, companies may inadvertently lose valued talent. Long-term planning would enable firms to imagine brighter futures for their employees and boost their competitiveness once economic conditions improve.

The good news is that the workforce science discipline is gathering momentum. The use of predictive analytics has nearly quadrupled in five years, from 10% in 2016 to 39% today, and the use of metrics on pay inequities and total rewards usage has more than doubled.

That said, insights into workforce management could be adopted more widely. Only 43% of organisations use metrics to identify employees likely to leave, 18% know the impact of pay strategies on performance, and just 12% use analytics to correct inequities and prevent them from recurring. Moreover, in the current disruption are companies looking in the right places to ensure sustainability? Only 24% have data on who is at risk of burnout and only 15% can determine whether it is better to buy/build/ borrow employees.

The next wave of maturity requires HR to lean in to structure analytics such that it can answer key strategic questions, like: In a downturn, which strategy offers the best chance of maintaining performance? Which departments could deliver a similar level of output with more contingent staff? Where should we locate talent hubs to take advantage of skilled talent pools?

In parallel, advances in machine learning continue to filter through departments, including HR. Although machines outperform humans at tasks related to scale and speed, humans still outpace machines in sense-checking and judgment Sixty-seven percent of HR leaders are confident they can ensure AI is not institutionalising bias. However, ethics codes about the collection, application and implications of data analytics are still in their infancy.

Talent assessment is an area where human intuition is needed alongside psychometrics to qualify findings. Today, only one in two employees have a positive assessment experience. This is just one example of data collection that will attract more scrutiny as data-informed decision-making becomes common. Leading companies are on the front foot sharing data-driven insights with employees to help them make health, wealth and career decisions: 38% of organisations today apply intelligent nudging technology to help employees make better choices. Further, exploring relevant metrics and sharing them with employees shows how the new climate of remote working affects productivity.

Delivering on the employee experience is a top priority for HR in 2020. Fifty-eight percent of organisations are redesigning their structures to become more people-centric. Yet only 27% of the C-suite believe their investment in the employee experience will yield a business return. Why? Because executives are yet to be convinced of the link between the employee experience and productivity.

Almost half (48%) of executives rank employees' well-being as a top workforce concern, but only 29% of HR leaders have a health and well-being strategy. Feeling depleted is a worrying trend (particularly for employees in Japan and the UK), and two-thirds of employees globally feel at risk of burnout in the year ahead. Burnout risk will only be exacerbated as employees now balance work with social distancing, remote working, closures and quarantines.

The Mercer study shows that action is vital, given that energised employees are four times more likely to report a healthy, flexible and inclusive workplace. Employees who are energised by their job are essential to transformation agendas: Energised employees say they are more likely to stay, more resilient and more ready to reskill. Energised employees work in cultures that are empathetic, in environments they find enriching, and in work cultures that are both efficient and embracing.

Seamless interactions and better enablement of digital working in times of social distancing have a clear role to play, yet only two in five companies say they are mostly or fully digital, the same proportion as in 2018. This will remain a C-suite priority.

Focusing on the desired interactions between HR and the business is key to unlocking energy and enhancing the employee experience. Delivering on this aspiration requires HR to step out of its traditional functional silos. Despite the benefits associated with a more joined up approach, just 40% of HR leaders say they have an integrated people strategy today.

The good news is that 50% of HR respondents have moved away from traditional structures to meet their businesses' escalating need for agility and 26% say they have built a fluid team to respond to different business priorities. Grappling with stability and agility will be a key theme in 2020.

According to Mercers 2020 Global Talent Trends study, the talent landscape will be disrupted in the coming years as jobs are replaced, new skills enter the labour market and the demands of workers changes. As employers transform to tackle these matters, they should reconsider their companys purpose and their responsibilities to employees and employees future earnings. And, they need to do so while facing unforeseen challenges like the current coronavirus.

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Extend Your Business Life with These Seven Assets – THISDAY Newspapers

The desire of every successful business owner is to extend the life of their business beyond the first generation. Although this desire is a common desire. It fails 90 per cent of the time. According to global research, only 10 per cent of family businesses will celebrate their 100th year anniversary. This massive death of businesses is due to the loss of certain critical assets you will discover before the end of this article. But before I show you these assets, let me first show you how these assets are formed.

The process of building a successful business from scratch does something to the founders of businesses that transforms them from ordinary men to extraordinary men. These extraordinary men develop certain abilities on their journey to wealth. That makes them reservoirs of critical assets that must be transferred to the next generation. The loss of these assets is the reason why successive generations fail. When the founders of businesses die without transferring these assets a death sentence is cast on the business.Businesses that stand the test of time reproduce these seven assets in the next generation. It is the timely transfer and development of these assets. That transforms successive generation from consumers of wealth to producers of wealth.

So, what then are these seven assets?The seven assets are as follows. First is a wealthy mindset. Second, is unshakable values. The third is a good reputation. Fourth is a personal philosophy. The fifth is a personal longevity health habit. Sixth is wealthy relationships and the seventh is a profitable business asset. To understand how each of these assets affects business longevity, lets look at them in more detail.

First, a wealthy mindset. Founders of businesses have a certain way of thinking that is uncommon among ordinary men. This unique way of thinking is what supports the creation and preservation of wealth. Some of the critical elements of a business owners wealthy mindsets include-an undying belief in possibilities and confidence in their abilities, a never quenching hunger to solve problems, a selfless act of service and so on. While ordinary men see impossibilities, barriers, and limitations, successful business men turn impossibilities to possibilities. For successive generation to preserve the family business, they must develop a wealthy mindset.

Next is a set of values. Successful business owners commit to a certain set of values that guides their business decision and their interactions with other men. These values are self-imposed and direct how they do business. Although these values are sometimes challenged by the business environment, they are prepared to defend it and pay the price. They pay the price because they know that paying the price is easier than violating their own values. A good example of value that is common to successful business owners is integrity. Integrity is not perfection, but the ability to integrate ones words, deeds and actions. Extraordinary business men stand for something and successive generations must develop their own values.

Next is reputation. Reputation is the public perception consumers have about a business and the respect they have for the business leader. A good reputation is built over years of sacrifice, sweat and tears and must be guarded with care. To ensure the long-term profitability of a business, successive generations must know how to lift a good reputation and what not to do to a good reputation. Reputation is the consumers own reality and it must be guarded with care.

Next is a personal philosophy. A personal philosophy is a series of conclusions a person makes from their own life experience and their understanding of the world. Business owners have a well of experience they can draw conclusions from to benefit the next generation. These conclusions can serve as guiding philosophies for the next generation. Examples of great philosophies that will benefit the next generation include: A difficult decision-making philosophy; a crises management philosophy; a business partnership philosophy; a family unity philosophy, a lasting marriage philosophy and so on. Leaving the next generation with a pocket of philosophies will cut-down the repetition of wealth dissipating mistakes.

Next is a personal longevity health habit. The greatest asset in life is health. Losing a family or critical business member to preventable sicknesses and disease due to unhealthy lifestyle choices is the greatest tragedy in life. It is unhealthy for a family and unprofitable for a business. Although life is limited in years. Its length can be negotiable. Life can be extended through deliberate good health habits. Business leaders must thus create a culture that promotes the longevity of life. This is the only way to preserve the human capital that drives a business.

Next is a wealthy relationship. To get to a certain level in business. Business leaders sought the help of other people. This means that every successful business leader has valuable networks that is beneficial for the next generation. But these relationships will not just pass on to the next generation. They have to be deliberately cultivated and nurtured. Successive generation must know how initiate new relationships nurture existing ones and extract value from them without the continuous nurturing of valuable relationships. It is hard for the next generation to lift the business beyond the laurels of its founders.

And last but not least is a profitable business asset. Not all businesses are assets. Certain businesses if critically analysed by an independent investor are liabilities. Dumping a liability on the next generation is cruel. To pass on businesses that will last, business owner must analyse their businesses through the eyes of an investor and they must also see successors as investors who can accept or reject a business.

Building a business that will last for many generations is not an easy feat. While it takes one extraordinary business man to build a successful business, it takes the collaboration of many extraordinary business men across multiple generations to keep a business breathing.

BioGrace Agada is the First indigenous Family Business Longevity and Legacy Expert. With unique expertise in helping Self Made Business Men Transition from Vanishing Mortals. To Men with Indestructible Name, Wealth and Legacy. Graces philosophy is simple. Successful Business Men do a lot of good in the world.

This good should Expand. Receive great recognition and extend beyond their lifetime. Her goal is to help Family business Men Eliminate factors that disrupt and murder Businesses. Discover, Own and Dominate New Emerging Market Opportunities. And reinvent their Businesses to last for up to 100 years. To learn more about how Grace can help you send an email to

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Extend Your Business Life with These Seven Assets - THISDAY Newspapers

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