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Diversity is a First Step; Inclusiveness Shows Tremendous Gains

CTR Factor, Inc., one of the top business performance improvement firms in the nation, is leading a revolution in workplace initiatives that not only foster diverse workplaces, but much more importantly, inclusive companies. Suri Surinder, CTR Factor’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), spoke on behalf of the company in this exclusive Bold Interview explaining what they do and why they believe that diversity and inclusion in the workplace is a bold idea.

Citing a study in 2015 by McKinsey & Company called “Diversity Matters,” Surinder said that companies whose employees are above average performance rankings, have both gender and ethnic diversity. In fact, companies ranked high for gender diversity were shown to have about a 15% greater chance of generating better financial returns than companies that ranked low in diversity scores.

This same study by McKinsey’s consultants, who have studied over 250 large public companies in North America, the United Kingdom, and Latin America, revealed that it is inversely the same at the opposite end of the results – less diverse and inclusive companies are less likely to outperform their competitors.

“It’s an easy, non-intrusive way of getting people to participate in the effort. It’s as entertaining as it is informative. It grabs your attention.”

Similar studies elsewhere also show that inclusive companies are more profitable than their peers. For example, a 2013 survey by the Center for Talent Innovation discovered that nearly half of US companies with more diversity at senior management level  (a sign of actual inclusion) increased market share over the previous year. However, only 33% of US companies with less inclusive senior management level employees reported a similar improvement in market share and/or growth in profits.

Surinder stated, “The innovative companies are focused just as much on leadership inclusion as they are on cultural inclusion.” It is a dilemma that is easy to spot, but possibly challenging to address. He asked, “How do you get inputs from people all the way down the chain broadly and deeply into the day to day decisions of the company?”

This is where CTR Factor comes in, creating a workplace that is not only diverse but also effective. Diversity inclusion is a hot topic at the moment; from Silicon Valley, where a series of scandals have led to a public demand for a more inclusive workforce, to government where the voices of Muslims and other minorities can be heard. Companies that honor diversity, and strive to attain it not just in word, but in deed, will succeed beyond their peers.

CTR Factor, Effective Diversity and Inclusion In The Workplace Training

Surinder is optimistic, believing that CTR Factor training programs will make a bold impact all over the country, and subsequently, the world. “By 2034, the working population in the US will be a ‘minority-majority’ working population,” he declared.

infographics of how diversity correlates with better financial performance

Other countries are following the U.S. lead, largely because they have seen the studies that demonstrate it’s effectiveness. Japanese corporations have made conscious efforts to encourage LGBT rights in the workplace. Many countries have taken similar actions to be more inclusive of formerly marginalized workers.

Plus, there is an effort to not just bring minorities into the work place, but also to bring minorities into board rooms at the highest levels. Many countries are trying to promote women into senior and high-ranking roles. While the move for creating and keeping a diverse, inclusive workplace is not easy, it is attainable through well-planned, genuine efforts and focus.

“One way is to look at the type of microlearning content dimension. It’s an easy, non-intrusive way of getting people to participate in the effort,” Surinder proclaims. “It’s as entertaining as it is informative. It grabs your attention.”

Creating truly inclusive diversity in the workplace may be a challenge, but CTR Factor’s bold idea is an action that truly creates more profitable, safe, and enjoyable workplaces.

Flying Cars Cartoon: Raising Questions for Logistical and Infrastructure Issues

flying car being chased by police cartoon
Flying vehicles are coming sooner than expected but are raising logistical and infrastructure issues that no one has addressed publicly.

Deep Earth Research Advances Several Kilometers

Journey to the center of the earth by Jules Verne is still one of the greatest works of fiction, but it soon might be possible for people to see that far into the earth even if we can’t visit there thanks to Russian scientists. Researchers from three major Russian institutes have invented a device which will allow users to see several kilometers into the earth.

The tests allowed scientists to ‘see’ contours of underground structures

According to Space Daily, scientists recently made a breakthrough in the field of muon tomography, “creating tracking devices which allow geologists to ‘see through’ objects up to thousands of meters in diameter below the earth’s surface.”

Scientists from Russia’s National University of Science and Technology, the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Physics, and Moscow State University’s Institute of Nuclear Physics joined their research efforts to build a special tracking device which will allow geologists to create detailed and accurate 3D maps of what’s below the earth’s surface.

The trackers use muon tomography which is a “technique using cosmic ray-generated muon particles, to radiograph underground objects and geological structures.”

“After deciphering the detector’s readings, it is possible to compile a three-dimensional picture of a variety of objects, from a meter-sized cavity in the soil…to a map of the caves in a mountain,” MISiS Rector Alevtina Chernikova told RIA Novosti.

Cutaway views of the layers of the earth's core

Meanwhile, Professor Polukhina said the new technology could be used for many different types of research.

“It is possible to non-invasively appraise a volcano’s vent, the reactor of a nuclear power plant, or a mountain glacier. [The technology can be used] to find new underground sources of natural gas, to catch a fire rising in a mountain used for coal mining long before it burns out from the inside, to predict the eruption of a volcano, or prevent the disastrous consequences of sinkholes in mines or city streets,” the scientist said.

The new muon tracking technology was tested in a mine belonging to the Geological Service of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Obninsk, western Russia, and the findings proved successful.

The tests allowed scientists to ‘see’ contours of underground structures and the technology is now being rolled out on a larger scale. Detectors are being mass produced by Slavich Company, a Yaroslav-based agency specializing in technical photographic materials.

“The good thing about our emulsion-based detectors is that they are easy to operate, do not require electricity, and in the case of geological prospecting, allow us to manage a much smaller number of underground holes, all while accurately distinguishing objects between one meter and one kilometer across with a high degree of accuracy,” Professor Polukhina said.

Specialists are now working on the technology to improve its capabilities and to help scientists learn more about the world we live in and effectively what is under our feet. This bold idea could help us learn more about our planet, or even discover a new one lurking underneath.

Facebook Shuts Down AI Experiment

Yes, Facebook did end its recent AI experiment. Now they’re putting an end to the rumors that the company shut down the experiment because the robots developed their own language.

Agent-to-agent chat is fast becoming a ‘thing’ in the science and technology arena

According to CNBC, the social media giant spoke out after several reports in the United Kingdom claimed that robot intelligence could be dangerous after developing its own way of communicating.

Facebook published an academic paper in June which described an experiment in which two artificial agents negotiated with each other in chat messages, after analyzing conversations of humans negotiating. The robots’ conversations gradually improved during the course of the experiment and did deviate from standard English during their chats.AI robot hand typing on laptop keyboard image

However, researchers have said that the point of the research was to get the AIs to negotiate and when they achieved their goal they shut down the program. The fact that the robots deviated from standard English was not the reason the experiment ended they said.

The researchers also noticed that the agents figured out how to pretend to be interested in something they didn’t want, “only to later ‘compromise’ by conceding it,” Facebook’s Artificial Intelligence Research group wrote in their paper.

Dhruv Batra, one of the team’s researchers, said that “while the idea of AI agents inventing their own language may sound alarming/unexpected to people outside the field, it is a well-established sub-field of AI, with publications dating back decades.

“Simply put, agents in environments attempting to solve a task will often find unintuitive ways to maximize reward. Analyzing the reward function and changing the parameters of an experiment is NOT the same as “unplugging” or “shutting down AI.” If that were the case, every AI researcher has been “shutting down AI” every time they kill a job on a machine.”

AI Language Dangers Denied

Batra said recent reports that claim the AI experiment could potential be dangerous after robots formed their own language were “clickbaity and irresponsible.” Batra also added that the AIs were only used in a research setting, not in a commercial environment.

Agent-to-agent chat is fast becoming a ‘thing’ in the science and technology arena. Facebook, OpenAI and Alphabet are all testing out the technology at present.

Critics have claimed that Facebook’s latest shutdown is proof that the technology has the potential to govern itself which could lead to many problems worldwide. However, the social media giant says the claims are just simply not true and they are quite open with their findings, even publishing them in academic research papers for all to see.

Shutting down a groundbreaking research project into agent-to-agent chat is certainly a drastic step. Agent-to-agent chat is a bold idea with a great deal of potential. At the same time, it could prove problematic.  It remains to be seen how this technology develops, but if AIs do form their own language then what end does this spell for humanity?