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VR is helping teach people how to fire their employees

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Poor Barry Thompson is about to get fired, and you’re the unfortunate one shouldered with lowering the ax. You might not feel sorry for Barry given he’s virtual. But the idea is that firing him in VR will help prepare you if you ever need to terminate someone who isn’t made of pixels.

Barry is the creation of Talespin Studios, a VR company that develops virtual- and augmented-reality training programs for Fortune 500 partners including Farmers Insurance and telecom and finance companies. The company introduced Barry to demonstrate its “Virtual Human Technology.”What it looks like to fire an employee in VR

“The premise behind the software is giving employees a safe space to practice challenging interpersonal situations, while using AI to create emotionally realistic characters to stimulate and challenge them,” says Kyle Jackson, CEO and co-founder of Talespin.

The company, which is based in Southern California and The Netherlands, built Barry using speech recognition, AI, natural language processing, gamified scoring, dynamic feedback and enterprise learning management system, or LMS, integration. He can fluidly converse with the real person wearing the VR headset, display realistic emotion and understand context.

The highly realistic-looking Mr. Thompson has gray hair and bags under his eyes and looks like he’s probably put a whole lot of years into the company. His reaction to the bad news varies depending on how you handle the situation. In some scenarios, he gets angry and yells, in others he cries. If you handle his firing well, he calmly accepts the news..

“Users that elicit the more dramatic or emotional responses from Barry can learn from the experience and try to do better next time,” Jackson says.

Talespin virtual humans give trainees the chance to practice other challenging interpersonal situations with colleagues and co-workers, such as giving managerial feedback, negotiating and making a sale.

In one sales scenario, for example, the CEO of a company you’re trying to sell your firm’s services to has her arms crossed, looks away as you explain why you’re there, and says you won’t get the full time requested for the meeting. You have to rely on your training to overcome her disinterest and unlock different parts of the conversation where you can be successful.

VR is already teaching people to deliver babiesoperate machinery and how to weld. As our sister site TechRepublic suggests, VR could be the future of sexual harassment training in the workplace since it’s more immersive than HR-based classes or slideshow and video presentations and lets users feel what’s it like to be harassed.

“The immersive properties and rich, consistent contextual cues associated with VR improve the quality and speed of initial learning,” according to Training Industry. “One strength of VR is that it can be implemented in such a way as to target [both] the behavioral skills system and the cognitive skills system.”

Talespin isn’t the only company creating VR training content for workers. Thousands of Walmart employees have donned Oculus Go virtual reality headsets for a training program created by Strivr, which also counts Verizon, Fidelity and United Rentals among its customers.

“When you watch a module through the headset, your brain feels like you actually experienced a situation,” Andy Trainor, Walmart’s senior director of Walmart US Academies, said when announcing the program last year.

Or, as Talespin’s Jackson puts it, “Virtual humans can help us become better humans.”

Now, can someone please hook Barry up with a new job?

By:

Source: https://www.cnet.com/

 

 

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Motorola Razr 2019: Prepare To Be Disappointed

2019 RAZR

The buzz around the new Motorola Razr is electric. It’s taken off well beyond Lenovo’s ability to control it and the result is that we are all going to be disappointed. To understand why it’s necessary to understand how the original Razr came into being. I was a Director at Motorola in Chicago at the time, and while many of my colleagues, even those who opposed the project, now have LinkedIN profiles claiming to have been involved in its creation I’m happy to say I was only an observer.

But I was close to the people, the super smart people, who did make it happen, and the way it was done means that there is no hope that the forthcoming folding screen Razr can be any bit as good as the original.

It’s not the fault of today’s Motorola, the Lenovo owned company is just a victim of circumstance. My job here is to explain why the circumstances are different. Perhaps the most important difference is that there had never been a Razr before, but it’s also about how that came to be.

Razr was a skunkworks, produced by a bunch of engineers in their spare time and time stolen from other projects. Indeed the Motorola Aura which was to have been the follow-up was codenamed GD2 for “Go Dark 2”, the second project from the same skunkworks, but under the glare of Razr publicity GD2 failed to stay dark and suffered the development malaise that saw a nine month project take the best part of three years so the best ever 2G phone was launched into a 3G world and it failed. The existance of new Razr is already out and that’s the first thing which means this year’s model won’t be as good. The original Razr had no input from mobile operators, no customer requirements, no research or focus groups. And most importantly no sales targets. The development team just built what they thought was cool. Without needing to meet targets they didn’t need to ensure component supply. The keypad came from a manufacturer who could only do limited quantities. It was an enthusiasm. A hobby for some of the most gifted engineers the mobile industry has ever seen who enjoyed what they did. Bo, who looked at screens knew everything there was to know about screen manufacture, where the bodies where hidden, what manufacturing processes where giving what yields, and which technologies were likely to fail despite being promoted by their companies. Joel loved audio, he spent all day worrying about sound quality in phones and then went home to work out what he needed to do to improve the audio on his hi-fi. Roger knew and loved hinges. And most of all Moto had the very best radio engineers. The project was led by Roger Jellicoe a fantastically talented engineer who was protected from the rest of the business by Tracy and her boss Rob. It was a very special team building a very special phone without any commercial pressure.

The new Razr is being built by Lenovo. I don’t know much about the company and I assume that the internal processes and politics are very much better than those of the Motorola I worked for, but I’m just as sure that the environment in which the new Razr is being built is much more commercial and less indulgent. The RF will be on an established platform, the design will be dictated by component availability and there as a commercial project there will not be the passion and engineering flair.

Into this mix you need to add the renderings and anticipation. The concept models flying around the ‘net haven’t come from Lenovo they are people who are great at 3D modelling pleasuring themselves. They don’t have to worry about drop tests and SAR. They don’t have to consider the optical path for the camera, the rf occlusion from someone holding the device or the antenna packaging. All you see in a rendering is what someone thinks looks cool. It’s as though a car geek showed the next generation Ferrari as a flying carpet without stopping to think about where he engine would go.

It makes me sad for Lenovo because it is a great engineering company, but not as great as the fantasies of the 3D modellers. The modelers in turn have been fuelled by the way the original Razr was so radically different from anything before.

That was a perfect storm. Razr only happened because there was a very special team of people, protected from company politics by Geoffrey Frost. So when the new Razr comes out, and it’s a bit thicker than you were hoping, there isn’t a nice snap to the hinge, the screen isn’t as good as you were expecting and it’s not quite as polished as you’d hoped, don’t blame Lenovo, blame the fantasists.

 

Simon Rockman is the publisher of CW Journal read by the wireless and associated communities. 

I wrote my first published games review in 1978 and have been writing about technology ever since. I was the Editor of Personal Computer World and left to found What Mob…

Source: Motorola Razr 2019: Prepare To Be Disappointed

Digitization Is Poised To Transform Steel Plants

We live in a digital age, and our production processes need to evolve to reflect that fact. Converting traditional production environments into highly automated “smart” plants will entail fundamental changes in the way metals manufacturers interact with their suppliers and customers. When technology works in perfect harmony with the different aspects of metals production, the effect can be compared to that of a skilled orchestra’s performance……………

Source: Digitization Is Poised To Transform Steel Plants

Turbomachinery International Reports: MHI Targets Leadership Of Global Gas Turbine Market

Kenji Ando is Senior Executive Vice President of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI), President and CEO of MHI Power Systems and President and CEO of Mitsubishi-Hitachi Power Systems (MHPS). MHPS is an energy joint-venture established in 2014 by MHI and Hitachi. Ando is a 40-year veteran of MHI. Turbomachinery International recently visited him in Japan and enjoyed a tour of several MHI facilities. He discussed the state of the gas turbine market, the extent of the current downturn, new technology and alternative technologies………

Source: Turbomachinery International Reports: MHI Targets Leadership Of Global Gas Turbine Market

How This Former MIT Professor And Google Engineer Used Holograms To Build A $28 Million Startup – Lauren Aratani

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A red laser pointer shining through a raw chicken carcass may not seem like groundbreaking science, but for veteran technologist Mary Lou Jepsen, it’s worth $28 million in funding for her latest startup, Openwater. Jepsen performed the chicken act as part of her August TED Talk to illustrate how her imaging-tech company is building cost-conscious body-scanning technology by using the same components one might find at a science fair. The laser pointer’s light made both skin and bone of the plucked fowl glow, revealing a tumor just under its flesh……..

 

 

 

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Volvo’s Plans To Grow Trucking Industry Involves Better Fridges, Autonomous Tech – Sebastian Blanco

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Turns out, a better refrigerator and autonomous driving technology have something in common. They are both features that could help increase the number of semi truck drivers on the roads in the U.S. Because people like Malcolm Bryant don’t come around that often. I recently visited the Volvo Trucks Customer Service Center in Dublin, Virginia the day that Bryant (not pictured above) was honored by Volvo Trucks and Southeastern Freight Lines for a career that has lasted more than 50 years – and his spotless safety record with zero accidents during that time………….

 

 

 

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Harnessing Innovative Technologies To Advance Audit Quality – Panos Kakoullis

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Businesses today operate in a dynamic, fast-moving, digitally enabled, and fiercely competitive global economy. To respond, organizations must constantly adapt – and so must their auditors, by incorporating innovative technologies to continuously address and identify emerging risks in markets characterized by perpetual transition. Ground breaking technologies are significantly enhancing audit quality by arming auditors with innovative tools to solve big problems— such as how to acquire robust and complete data in a repeatable fashion. Technology is enabling auditors to process, organize, and evaluate data at a faster pace than ever before………

 

 

 

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Investor: Value of Crypto Dropped, But Ecosystem and Industry are Growing Rapidly – Joseph Young

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In the past seven days, the valuation of the crypto market dropped from $184 billion to $138 billion, by more than $46 billion.

The cryptocurrency market experienced one of the worst weekly sell-offs in all of 2018, and the prices of major digital assets like Bitcoin have dropped by around 75 percent to 85 percent from their all-time highs.

crypto market cap
Source: CoinMarketCap

Despite the steep decline in the valuation of the crypto market, renowned cryptocurrency investor and CoinShares executive Meltem Demirors stated that the cryptocurrency ecosystem, market, and industry are still improving at a rapid rate.

ICOs in Trouble But Industry is Vibrant

Over the past several months, initial coin offering (ICO) projects have lost billions in market cap, after raising more than $30 billion in the past two years. Many projects that have had less than $10 million in daily volume had valuations of hundreds of millions of dollars to billions of dollars, in most cases without any working product to show.

ICOs have started to struggle in remaining relevant and driving new capital into the cryptocurrency market. As Binance CFO Wei Zhou pointed out, it is of significant importance for the long-term trend of the market for the space to see the emergence of high-quality projects and founders to attract smart capital.

“On the issuer side, many crypto projects that raised money through an ICO face massive challenges to stay relevant and create real purpose. This is what happens when you lack a true finance function, and unfortunately, ‘crypto finance’ is still nebulous and undefined on the whole. Just look at this balance sheet below, which characterizes many crypto firms that raised cash through token offerings,” Demirors said.

But, as seen in the success of infrastructure-building businesses like Coinbase and Binance that have achieved a market cap of over $8 billion, the cryptocurrency exchange market and industry have started to see exponential growth in terms of infrastructure, user base, and revenues.

Binance, for instance, achieved 10 million users across 180 countries and in an interview, Binance CFO Wei Zhou emphasized that the company is aiming to secure one billion users in the long run.

As such, while the value of major cryptocurrencies has declined substantially over the past eleven months, Demirors stated that the cryptocurrency ecosystem had grown noticeably in virtually every major area.

“So while value may be moving out of the assets themselves as the market digests new information and re-formulates its thesis on crypto assets, value is continuing to grow across the cohort of companies serving the crypto ecosystem. Just look at the people in this industry — thousands who continue to spend their time, energy, and capital on helping the crypto ecosystem grow. By writing, researching, advocating, building, developing, or simply holding.”

Even Traditional Finance is Struggling

blackrock

Blackrock, the world’s largest asset manager, recorded its first quarter of net outflows as clients withdrew more than $3.1 billion and analysts are predicting the US stock market to continue sinking after deleting all of 2018 gains.

Bespoke Investment Group co-founder Paul Hickey stated that most investors in the US market are “rushing for the exits,” given current market conditions and intensity of the recent sell-off.

The decline in the momentum of the US stock market, which will directly affect major economies in Asia in the likes of South Korea and Japan, is having a negative impact on the cryptocurrency sector as investors shift away from high-risk, high-return trades.

However, Demirors noted that funds and asset managers in the crypto sector have historically survived several market cycles and major corrections in the past, and 2018 will be no different.

“Lastly, the funds and asset managers in the space, while under pressure, have historically done well given their longer time horizon and their ability to survive and weather market cycles. We expect this trend to continue, especially for some of the larger, better capitalized managers with deep experience who are able to manage finances and allocation strategies to capitalize on short-term price movements while keeping a long-term investment outlook.”

As Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao and Coinbase CTO Balaji Srinivasan said, it is of utmost importance for both businesses and individuals in the space to continue building throughout a mid-term bearish trend.

 

 

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TransferWise Chairman: Distributed Ledger Technology Is Very Hard To Use – Ogwu Osaemezu Emmanuel

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Blockchain technology, which undergirds bitcoin and other digital assets is slowly but steadily making its way into mainstream finance, but some financial institutions remain unconvinced about its potentials. TransferWise, a London-based payments platform has stated it is yet to see anything good in the nascent technology, reported  Fortune on November 19, 2018. TransferWise,  an Estonian developed and UK-based firm that allows clients to send money across 70 countries in a fast and cost-efficient manner, has made it clear it sees nothing good in blockchain technology and as such, will not be joining the distributed ledger technology (DLT) bandwagon anytime soon………….

Read more: https://btcmanager.com/transferwise-chairman-distributed-ledger-technology-is-very-hard-to-use/

 

 

 

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How A Mysterious Tech Billionaire Created Two Fortunes & a Global Software Sweatshop – Nathan Vardi

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From an office suite on the 26th floor of the iconic Frost Bank Tower in Austin, Texas, a little-known recruiting firm called Crossover is searching the globe for software engineers. Crossover is looking for anyone who can commit to a 40- or 50-hour workweek, but it has no interest in full-time employees. It wants contract workers who are willing to toil from their homes or even in local cafes. The best people in the world aren’t in your Zip code,” says Andy Tryba, chief executive of Crossover, in a promotional YouTube video. Which, Tryba emphasizes, also means you don’t have to pay them like they are your neighbors. “The world is going to a cloud wage……………

Read more: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nathanvardi/2018/11/19/how-a-mysterious-tech-billionaire-created-two-fortunesand-a-global-software-sweatshop/#37705bc86cff

 

 

 

 

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