The Top 50 Most Visited Websites In The World

If we were to rank all of these websites according to their traffic numbers, we would see a classic power law distribution. At the low end, the vast majority of these websites would be inactive, receiving little to no traffic. On the upper end of the ranking though, a handful of websites receive the lion’s share of internet traffic.

Estimates vary, but there are upwards of two billion websites in existence in 2023. This visualization, using data from SimilarWeb, takes a look at the 50 websites that currently sit at the top of the ranking.

Which Websites Get the Most Traffic?

Topping the list of most-visited websites in the world is, of course, Google. With over 3.5 billion searches per day, Google has cemented its position as the go-to source for information on the internet. But Google’s dominance doesn’t stop there. The company also owns YouTube, the second-most popular website in the world. Together, Google and YouTube have more traffic than the next 48 websites combined.

The power of YouTube, in particular, is sometimes not fully understood. The video platform is the second largest search engine in the world after Google. As well, YouTube has the second highest duration-of-visit numbers in this top 50 ranking. (First place goes to the Chinese video sharing website, Bilibili.)

But Google and YouTube aren’t the only big players on the internet. Other websites in the top 50 ranking include social media giants Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. In particular, TikTok has seen a surge in popularity in recent years and is now one of the most popular social media platforms in the world.

Here’s the full top 50 ranking table form:

Rank Website Monthly Traffic Category Country
#1 google.com 85.1B Search Engines U.S.
#2 youtube.com 33.0B Streaming & Online TV U.S.
#3 facebook.com 17.8B Social Media Networks U.S.
#4 twitter.com 6.8B Social Media Networks U.S.
#5 instagram.com 6.1B Social Media Networks U.S.
#6 baidu.com 5.0B Search Engines China
#7 wikipedia.org 4.8B Dictionaries & Encyclopedias U.S.
#8 yandex.ru 3.4B Search Engines Russia
#9 yahoo.com 3.3B News & Media Publishers U.S.
#10 whatsapp.com 2.9B Social Media Networks U.S.

Showing 1 to 10 of 50 entries

Notable companies that have fallen out of the top 50 since our last version of this visualization are Walmart and PayPal. Notable entrants into the top 50 are Samsung and the New York Times.

The Geography of the 50 Most-Visited Websites

The United States is still home base for many of the world’s biggest websites, taking up 30 spots on this ranking. Of these 30 websites, half are operated by Big Tech companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet, Meta, and Netflix.

Russia, China, Japan, and South Korea round out the top five.

Things get interesting in the “other” category, which includes six websites. Two spots are taken up by Aaj Tak and Globo, which are large media publications in India and Brazil, respectively.

The remaining four websites—XVideos, PornHub, XHamster, and XNXX—specialize in adult content, and are located in a variety of countries. These are often referred to as “tube sites” since they are built on the YouTube model.

Realsrv, the only adult-oriented site in the top 50 located in the U.S., is interesting to delve into as well, since it’s far from a household name. The website essentially supports advertising efforts by redirecting users away from the content they were viewing over to another page (generally premium adult content). This is one of the key ways that adult websites earn revenue.

Optimism For India’s Digital Future

It’s always special to come back to India, and this trip is especially meaningful as it’s my first visit back since the pandemic. As we come out of it, there’s a sense of optimism about the country’s future and the role technology can play to improve lives.

Which brings me to why I’m here: first and foremost to meet with Googlers, as the team has grown significantly since I was last here. I’m also here to see progress being made from our $10 billion, 10-year India Digitization Fund (IDF), and share new ways we’re helping to advance India’s digital future at our Google for India event. That includes our efforts to build a single, unified AI model that will be capable of handling over 100 Indian languages across speech and text – part of our global effort to bring the world’s 1,000 most-spoken languages online, and to help people access knowledge and information in their preferred language. We’re also supporting a new, multidisciplinary center for responsible AI with IIT Madras. (Our VP of India Sanjay Gupta shares more details in his blog post below.)

This progress is part of how we’re working to seize the opportunity in AI globally, balancing the need to be bold with innovation and responsible in our approach. I’m excited to see the ways India will contribute to breakthroughs in AI that could benefit over a billion people in India, and more around the world.

More broadly, I’ve been amazed at the ways people are already using technology to make their communities better. One of the local tech founders I met today has broken new ground by offering a radiation-free and non-invasive breast cancer screening tool; another developed a chatbot that helps people manage stress. I was glad to hear their stories and to share thoughts on how technology can expand opportunity during a conversation at WomenWill.

Later today, I have the honor of meeting with His Excellency Prime Minister Modi to discuss how we are supporting small businesses and start-ups, investing in cybersecurity, providing education and skills training, applying AI in sectors like agriculture and healthcare, and other priorities. Prime Minister Modi’s Digital India vision has helped to accelerate the progress we’re seeing across India, and I’m excited for India to share its experience with the world as it takes over the G20 presidency in 2023.

The pace of technological change in India has been extraordinary, and there’s so much opportunity still ahead. Glad to be able to see it up close, and I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

(Sundar is the CEO of Google and Alphabet and serves on Alphabet’s Board of Directors. Under his leadership, Google has been focused on developing products and services, powered by the latest advances in AI, that offer help in moments big and small.)

Below is an edited version of a blog from Sanjay Gupta, Google’s Country Head and Vice President, India, summarizing the key announcements from Google for India.

India’s digital transformation is at a tipping point. Seven hundred million connected Indians, affordable smartphones and data, record highs in digital payments, the digitization of citizen services, and a vibrant start-up ecosystem have put the technology sector on track to become the single largest contributor to the national economy.

We feel privileged to have played a part in this extraordinary story. Our mission in India is to make the internet helpful and safer for a billion Indians. We’ve introduced India-first innovations, worked to lower barriers to access, and invested in strengthening the strategic pillars of India’s digital economy through our $10 billion India Digitization Fund.

Today, at our 8th Google for India, joined by Sundar Pichai, our CEO, and senior Google leaders and product experts, we stepped up our commitment to build a more inclusive, helpful, and safer internet for every Indian — and shared how we hope to supercharge India’s digital transformation by harnessing AI.

Partnerships are the cornerstone of our journey in India, and essential for such a scaled transition. Today, with partners from across the public and private sectors, we announced new efforts focused on taking Indians from foundational access to the point where technology becomes the enabler for growth, knowledge, health and progress.

Early stage startups are the engine that drives innovation, with many building products that address key information and service needs for people across India, especially for novice internet users. Strengthening our ongoing resolve to support India’s digital innovators, as part of our India Digitization Fund investments, we will be targeting support for early stage companies with a particular focus on women-led startups. (Courtesy: https://blog.google/inside-google/message-ceo/optimism-india-digital-future/)

Optimism For India’s Digital Future

It’s always special to come back to India, and this trip is especially meaningful as it’s my first visit back since the pandemic. As we come out of it, there’s a sense of optimism about the country’s future and the role technology can play to improve lives.

Which brings me to why I’m here: first and foremost to meet with Googlers, as the team has grown significantly since I was last here. I’m also here to see progress being made from our $10 billion, 10-year India Digitization Fund (IDF), and share new ways we’re helping to advance India’s digital future at our Google for India event. That includes our efforts to build a single, unified AI model that will be capable of handling over 100 Indian languages across speech and text – part of our global effort to bring the world’s 1,000 most-spoken languages online, and to help people access knowledge and information in their preferred language. We’re also supporting a new, multidisciplinary center for responsible AI with IIT Madras. (Our VP of India Sanjay Gupta shares more details in his blog post below.)

This progress is part of how we’re working to seize the opportunity in AI globally, balancing the need to be bold with innovation and responsible in our approach. I’m excited to see the ways India will contribute to breakthroughs in AI that could benefit over a billion people in India, and more around the world.

More broadly, I’ve been amazed at the ways people are already using technology to make their communities better. One of the local tech founders I met today has broken new ground by offering a radiation-free and non-invasive breast cancer screening tool; another developed a chatbot that helps people manage stress. I was glad to hear their stories and to share thoughts on how technology can expand opportunity during a conversation at WomenWill.

Later today, I have the honor of meeting with His Excellency Prime Minister Modi to discuss how we are supporting small businesses and start-ups, investing in cybersecurity, providing education and skills training, applying AI in sectors like agriculture and healthcare, and other priorities. Prime Minister Modi’s Digital India vision has helped to accelerate the progress we’re seeing across India, and I’m excited for India to share its experience with the world as it takes over the G20 presidency in 2023.

The pace of technological change in India has been extraordinary, and there’s so much opportunity still ahead. Glad to be able to see it up close, and I’m already looking forward to my next visit.

(Sundar is the CEO of Google and Alphabet and serves on Alphabet’s Board of Directors. Under his leadership, Google has been focused on developing products and services, powered by the latest advances in AI, that offer help in moments big and small.)

Below is an edited version of a blog from Sanjay Gupta, Google’s Country Head and Vice President, India, summarizing the key announcements from Google for India.

India’s digital transformation is at a tipping point. Seven hundred million connected Indians, affordable smartphones and data, record highs in digital payments, the digitization of citizen services, and a vibrant start-up ecosystem have put the technology sector on track to become the single largest contributor to the national economy.

We feel privileged to have played a part in this extraordinary story. Our mission in India is to make the internet helpful and safer for a billion Indians. We’ve introduced India-first innovations, worked to lower barriers to access, and invested in strengthening the strategic pillars of India’s digital economy through our $10 billion India Digitization Fund.

Today, at our 8th Google for India, joined by Sundar Pichai, our CEO, and senior Google leaders and product experts, we stepped up our commitment to build a more inclusive, helpful, and safer internet for every Indian — and shared how we hope to supercharge India’s digital transformation by harnessing AI.

Partnerships are the cornerstone of our journey in India, and essential for such a scaled transition. Today, with partners from across the public and private sectors, we announced new efforts focused on taking Indians from foundational access to the point where technology becomes the enabler for growth, knowledge, health and progress.

Early stage startups are the engine that drives innovation, with many building products that address key information and service needs for people across India, especially for novice internet users. Strengthening our ongoing resolve to support India’s digital innovators, as part of our India Digitization Fund investments, we will be targeting support for early stage companies with a particular focus on women-led startups. (Courtesy: https://blog.google/inside-google/message-ceo/optimism-india-digital-future/)

Society Of Indo-American Engineers And Architects (SIAEA) Celebrates Its 40th Annual Gala In New York City

The Society of Indo-American Engineers and Architects hosted their 40th Annual Gala on Saturday, November 12, 2022, which was attended by over 600 members and their guests.  The theme of the Gala was the “Power of Diversity and Inclusion”.  This theme reflects upon the diversity of groups and celebrates its uniqueness. It’s about helping people feel that they belong and that their contribution matters.

Pictutre : TheUNN

Ketan shah, SIAEA President addressed that Our theme for the gala this year is ‘Power of Diversity and Inclusion’, and this theme could not have come at a better time, when so much is changing all around us. This theme is represented tonight not only in words, but in our special guests, honorees, and all the attendees in the audience too. Each person brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and a strong sense of hard work, resilience, and future endeavors.  A key part of the Gala is to recognize and award professionals who have contributed to the architectural, engineering and construction industry and to provide scholarships to a select group of current students who may need financial assistance.

The SIAEA President, Ketan Shah, says this of the Gala: “The Gala is our biggest event of year.  My Executive Committee and I have worked diligently for months to create an event that is fun and honors individuals that have excelled in their professions.  It’s a night of music, food, and friends”.

Many elected officials and dignitaries also attended the event to congratulate the award honorees and the scholarship recipients. Long-time supporter and SIAEA friend, former NY State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson was there along with NY State Assembly Members Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelym and Jenifer Rajkumar. Mr. Vipul Dev from the Indian Consul General Office was present as well.

Picture : TheUNN

The Keynote Speaker for the Gala was Mr. Gordon Tung.  Mr. Tung is a Vice President at NYC School Construction Authority.  He has over 450 professionals under him and is responsible for a $18.7 billion capital plan.  The Chief Guest of the evening was Jamila Glean who is a Vice President at the Division of Minority & Women Business Development at the Empire State Development Corporation. Big supporters and long-time SIAEA sponsors, Past Presidents Nayan Parikh and Mihir Patel, also made sure that the Gala was a huge success.

Speaking about the SIAEA, Executive Board Member Chitra Radin said “SIAEA provides an opportunity for the engineers, architects, planners, and construction professionals of the Indo-American community to come together to exchange ideas and help one another professionally. SIAEA also encourages our youth to pursue careers in these fields by offering them scholarships.”  Throughout the year, SIAEA offers technical seminars re-enforcing our on-going commitment to professional growth for our members.

The following is the list of 2022 SIAEA Award Honorees.  For the Honorees, each year, SIAEA selects individuals who have distinguished themselves for their vision and their commendable contributions to our professions.

2022 Special Honoree Awards:

Vipul Dev – Consul (Political and PIC) of India

Dilip Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner, International Affairs, New York City

Aileen del Prado, Senior, Director, NYC School Construction

2022 Honoree Awards:

Ali Chaudhry, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, AECOM

Sandeep Mehrotra, Vice President, Hazen & Sawyer

Hermie Patel, President, AME

Jayesh Patel, Principal, Crest Engineering

Chitra Radin, President, Radin Consulting

Darsh Shah, Associate Principal, Super Structure

2022 Award Honoree for Under 40

Priya Shah, Associate, Gensler

It was a fun evening with dance, music, food, and friends.  It was a wonderful opportunity to meet up with old friends and make new ones. It was time to recognize individuals who have made contributions in their respective fields as well as recognize the young students who will be the future of tomorrow. At the conclusion of the event, SIAEA President reiterated that “the success of this Gala is because of the hard work performed by our Executive Committee and the three Gala co-chairs (Mitul Patel, Chitra Radin and Yogesh Mistry).  And, of course, we are very thankful to our supporters and sponsors without whom this event would not be

EU Plans To Implement Universal Phone Charger By December 2024

The European Union has given phone manufacturers a deadline of 28 December 2024 to adopt a common charging cable. The EU previously agreed new portable electronic devices would have to use a USB Type-C charger by autumn 2024.

Now the law has entered the EU’s Official Journal, and with it an exact date has been set for the requirement. Companies like Apple, whose iPhones use an Apple-made charger, will not be able to sell new devices in the EU after the date unless they use a universal cable.

Apple is the biggest manufacturer to use a customised charging port which is exclusive to some of its products. Its iPhone series uses its own Lightning connector, for example.

Greg Joswiak, Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing, previously told the Wall Street Journal the tech giant would “obviously” comply with the law.

The new rule will cover a range of “small and medium-sized portable electronics”, according to the EU, such as phones, tablets, headphones, and handheld game consoles.

Product standard divergence

The deadline set by the EU has created a further Brexit tension point, as the EU regulation may also apply to Northern Ireland, according to both EU and UK officials.

According to a December 2021 parliamentary report, the “new requirements may also apply to devices sold in Northern Ireland under the terms of the Northern Ireland protocol in the Brexit agreement, potentially triggering divergence of product standards with the rest of the UK”.

The treaty works by keeping Northern Ireland inside the EU’s single market for goods, while the rest of the UK is outside it.

A row between the UK and EU about how to reform the Northern Ireland protocol remains unresolved.

In June, the UK government told the BBC it was not “currently considering” replicating the EU requirement regarding the adoption of a universal charging cable for mobile phones and other portable electronic devices.

Why Nuclear Fusion Could Be A Clean-Energy Breakthrough

For the first time ever, US scientists at the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California successfully produced a nuclear fusion reaction resulting in a net energy gain, a source familiar with the project confirmed to CNN.

Using powerful lasers to focus enormous energy on a miniature capsule half the size of a BB, scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California started a reaction that produced about 1.5 times more energy than was contained in the light used to produce it.

There are decades more to wait before fusion could one day — maybe — be used to produce electricity in the real world. But the promise of fusion is enticing. If harnessed, it could produce nearly limitless, carbon-free energy to supply humanity’s electricity needs without raising global temperatures and worsening climate change.

At the press conference in Washington, the scientists celebrated. “So, this is pretty cool,” said Marvin “Marv” Adams, the National Nuclear Security Administration deputy administrator for defense programs.

The result of the experiment would be a massive step in a decadeslong quest to unleash an infinite source of clean energy that could help end dependence on fossil fuels. Researchers for decades have attempted to recreate nuclear fusion – replicating the fusion that powers the sun.

US Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm will make an announcement Tuesday on a “major scientific breakthrough,” the department announced Sunday. The breakthrough was first reported by the Financial Times.

Nuclear fusion happens when two or more atoms are fused into one larger one, a process that generates a massive amount of energy as heat. Unlike nuclear fission that powers electricity all over the world, it doesn’t generate long-lived radioactive waste.

Scientists across the globe have been inching toward the breakthrough, using different methods to try to achieve the same goal.

The National Ignition Facility project creates energy from nuclear fusion by what’s known as “thermonuclear inertial fusion.” In practice, US scientists fire pellets that contain a hydrogen fuel into an array of nearly 200 lasers, essentially creating a series of extremely fast, repeated explosions at the rate of 50 times per second.

The energy collected from the neutrons and alpha particles is extracted as heat, and that heat holds the key to producing energy.

“They contain the fusion reaction by bombarding the outside with lasers,” Tony Roulstone, a fusion expert from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Engineering, told CNN. “They heat up the outside; that creates a shockwave.”

Even though getting a net energy gain from nuclear fusion is a big deal, it’s happening on a much smaller scale than what’s needed to power electric grids and heat buildings.

“It’s about what it takes to boil 10 kettles of water,” said Jeremy Chittenden, co-director of the Centre for Inertial Fusion Studies at Imperial College in London. “In order to turn that into a power station, we need to make a larger gain in energy – we need it to be substantially more.”

In the UK, scientists are working with a huge donut-shaped machine outfitted with giant magnets called a tokamak to try to generate the same result.

After a small amount of fuel is injected into the tokamak, giant magnets are activated to create a plasma. The plasma needs to reach at least 150 million degrees Celsius, 10 times hotter than the core of the sun. This forces the particles from the fuel to fuse into one. With nuclear fusion, the fused product has less mass than the original atoms. The missing mass converts to an enormous amount of energy.

Neutrons, which are able to escape the plasma, then hit a “blanket” lining the walls of the tokamak, and their kinetic energy transfers as heat. This heat can then be used to warm water, create steam and power turbines to generate power.

Last year, scientists working near Oxford were able to generate a record-breaking amount of sustained energy. Even so, it only lasted 5 seconds.  Whether it’s using magnets or shooting pellets with lasers, the result is ultimately the same: Heat sustained by the process of fusing the atoms together holds the key to helping produce energy.

The big challenge of harnessing fusion energy is sustaining it long enough so that it can power electric grids and heating systems around the globe.

Chittenden and Roulstone told CNN that scientists around the globe now must work toward dramatically scaling up their fusion projects, and also bring the cost down. Getting it commercially viable will take years of more research.

“At the moment we’re spending a huge amount of time and money for every experiment we do,” Chittenden said. “We need to bring the cost down by a huge factor.”

However, Chittenden called this new chapter in nuclear fusion “a true breakthrough moment which is tremendously exciting.”

Roulstone said there’s much shows more work needs to happen to make fusion able to generate electricity on a commercial scale.

“The opposing argument is that this result is miles away from actual energy gain required for the production of electricity,” he said. “Therefore, we can say (it) is a success of the science but a long way from providing useful energy.”

Hate Speech A Major Concern After $ 44 Billion Acquisition Of Twitter By Musk

Problematic and hate content and formerly barred accounts have increased sharply in the short time since Elon Musk took over, researchers said, leading to serious troubles for Elon Musk and the popular Twitter platform. 

According to media reports, before Elon Musk bought Twitter, slurs against Black Americans showed up on the social media service an average of 1,282 times a day. After the billionaire became Twitter’s owner, they jumped to 3,876 times a day.

Slurs against gay men appeared on Twitter 2,506 times a day on average before Mr. Musk took over. Afterward, their use rose to 3,964 times a day. And antisemitic posts referring to Jews or Judaism soared more than 61 percent in the two weeks after Mr. Musk acquired the site.

Picture : Montcalir State University

These findings — from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, the Anti-Defamation League and other groups that study online platforms — provide the most comprehensive picture to date of how conversations on Twitter have changed since Musk acquired the company in late October. 

Twitter has always been a bit chaotic, but new owner and CEO Elon Musk is taking it to a whole new level. He’s been making dramatic changes since he bought the company for $44 billion on Oct. 27, including laying off half the staff while changing moderation policies and unbanning extremist accounts while trying to figure out who will be verified.

While many advertisers have expressed concerns about the new status of Twitter and it’s impact on the social media, even with threats to withhold advertisements on Twitter, the European Union commissioner Thierry Breton made the comments in a meeting with Musk last week has said that the social media site would have to address issues such as content moderation, disinformation and targeted adverts. 

The back-and-forth comes as the new law is set to go into effect. Approved by the European Union earlier this year, the Digital Services Act is seen as the biggest overhaul of rules governing online activity in decades, imposing new obligations on companies to prevent abuse of their platforms. 

Major companies are expected to be in compliance with the law some time next year. If firms are found to be violation, they face fines of up to 6% of global turnover – or a ban in the case of repeated serious breaches.

Ad sales account for about 90% of Twitter’s revenue. Apple was consistently one of the top advertisers on the social network with an annual ad spend well above $100 million. In recent weeks, half of Twitter’s top 100 advertisers from General Mills Inc to luxury automaker Audi of America have announced they are suspending or have otherwise “seemingly stopped advertising on Twitter”.

Musk tweeted that he met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and toured the iPhone maker’s headquarters. Musk has been criticizing Apple this week, alleging without offering evidence that the company censors voices, has a “secret 30% tax” on App Store purchases and threatened to withhold Twitter from the App store.

Elon Musk accused Apple Inc of threatening to block Twitter Inc from its app store without saying why in a series of tweets. He also said the iPhone maker had stopped advertising on the social media platform following a poll that asked users about whether the iPhone maker should “publish all censorship actions it has taken that affect its customers”.

Musk complained about over a 30% fee Apple collects on transactions via its App Store — the sole gateway for applications to get onto its billion plus mobile devices. Musk called Apple’s fee on transactions through its App Store a “secret 30% tax”.

Musk alleged Apple was pressuring Twitter over content moderation demands. After taking over Twitter in October, Musk has cut around half of Twitter’s workforce, including many employees tasked with fighting disinformation. An unknown number of others have voluntarily quit. He has also reinstated previously banned accounts, including that of former US President Donald Trump.

Musk complained that though Apple threatened to withhold Twitter from its App Store, it “won’t tell us why”. Both Apple and Google require social networking services on their app stores to have effective systems for moderating harmful or abusive content. 

Since his takeover of Twitter last month, Musk has fired thousands of staff, reinstated formerly banned users such as Donald Trump and stopped enforcing other policies, such as rules aimed at stopping misleading information on coronavirus.

The moves have alarmed some civil rights groups, who have accused the billionaire of taking steps that will increase hate speech, misinformation and abuse. Some companies advertising on the platform have halted spending amid the concerns – a major blow to the company, which relies on such spending for most of its revenue.

Wasabi Technologies CEO And Co-Founder, David Friend Will Be Keynote Speaker At Tie Boston Annual Gala

TiE Boston, one of the region’s largest and leading-edge organizations supporting the Massachusetts entrepreneurial ecosystem that connects entrepreneurs, executives, and venture capitalists, today announced that serial founder, entrepreneur and Wasabi Technologies CEO David Friend will be the keynote speaker at its annual gala on Dec. 2, 2022 at Sheraton Boston     .

Mr. Friend is the co-founder and CEO of Wasabi Technologies, a revolutionary cloud storage company that provides fast, affordable, and highly reliable cloud data storage for businesses all over the world.

“I am thrilled that David Friend is our keynote speaker at this year’s annual gala,” said TiE Boston President Yash Shah. “David’s entrepreneurial journey is highly inspirational and forges the current narrative of entrepreneurship. TiE Boston’s goal is to inspire and motivate everyone listening to start their own entrepreneurial journey or support others who are already on that journey. David’s keynote, his experience and his stories are bound to do just that.”

Friend’s first company, ARP Instruments developed synthesizers used by Stevie Wonder, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and even helped Steven Spielberg communicate with aliens providing that legendary five-note communication in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Mr. Friend founded or co-founded five other companies: Computer Pictures Corporation – an early player in computer graphics, Pilot Software – a company that pioneered multidimensional databases for crunching large amounts of customer data, Faxnet – which became the world’s largest provider of fax-to-email services, Sonexis – a VoIP conferencing company, and immediately prior to Wasabi, what is now one of the world’s leading cloud backup companies, Carbonite.

Mr. Friend is also a respected philanthropist and is on the board of Berklee College of Music, where there is a concert hall named in his honor, and serves as president of the board of Boston Baroque, an orchestra and chorus that has received seven Grammy nominations. An avid mineral and gem collector, he donated Friend Gem and Mineral Hall at the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History.

Mr. Friend graduated from Yale and attended the Princeton University Graduate School of Engineering where he was a David Sarnoff Fellow.

At the gala, TiE Boston will honor Boston Common Asset Management’s Founder and CEO Geeta Aiyer with its annual Lifetime Achievement Award for 2022.

The following people will also be honored at the TiE Boston gala:

  • Entrepreneur of the Year:Aman Narang, Co-President, Founder, COO and Director, Toast, Inc.
  • Award for Corporate Excellence:Rohit Prasad, SVP and Head Scientist, Amazon Alexa
  • Venture Capitalist of the Year:Jamie Goldstein, Founder and Partner, Pillar VC
  • Rising Entrepreneur of the Year:Uroš Kuzmanović, CEO and Co-Founder, BioSens8
  • TiE Boston President’s Award:  Dinesh Patel, MD, Co-Founder, TiE Boston; Emeritus Chief of Arthroscopic Surgery at Mass General Hospital

Founded in 1997, TiE Boston connects tomorrow’s founders with today’s entrepreneurs, executives and venture capitalists. Operating for 25 years now, TiE Boston’s unparalleled network of successful, serial entrepreneurs are deeply engaged and committed to giving back to the community by providing mentorship, tactical advice, and expertise to rising entrepreneurs through signature programs.

40th Gala Of Society Of Indo American Engineers & Architects Held In NYC

The Society of Indo American Engineers and Architects held its 40th Annual Gala on Nov. 12, 2022, at Pier 60 on Chelsea Piers, New York City.

Organizers estimated that about 600 members and their families attended the gala which included several highlights.

The theme of the Gala was the “Power of Diversity and Inclusion”.  This theme reflects upon the diversity of groups and celebrates its uniqueness, noted President of SIAEA Ketan Shah in his address.

Several individuals from the private and public sectors, were honored with an award in engineering, construction, planning & design industries.

These were individuals who had excelled in their field and demonstrated leadership, achieved success, and shown innovative skills and support in categories such as Small Business Enterprises (SBE), Small Disadvantage Business Enterprises (SDBE), Women Owned Business (WOSB), Minority-Owned Business Enterprises (MBE), Women Owned Business (WOSB), HUB Zone Businesses etc.

Many elected officials and dignitaries also attended the event to congratulate the honorees and the scholarship recipients. Long-time supporter and SIAEA, former NY State Senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, NY State Assembly Members Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelym and Jenifer Rajkumar. Vipul Dev from the Indian Consul General’s Office was present as well.

The Keynote Speaker for the Gala was Gordon Tung, vice president at NYC School Construction Authority.  He has over 450 professionals under him and is responsible for a $18.7 billion capital plan.

The Chief Guest of the evening was Jamila Glean who is a Vice President at the Division of Minority & Women Business Development at the Empire State Development Corporation. Big supporters and long-time SIAEA sponsors, Past Presidents Nayan Parikh and Mihir Patel, also made sure that the Gala was a huge success, the press release said.

Chitra Radin from the SIAEA Board of Directors said the organization was honoring people “who make us proud” to be professional engineers and architects. She noted that SIAEA supports Indian-origin members of this industry “to come together to exchange ideas and help one another professionally. SIAEA also encourages our youth to pursue careers in these fields by offering them scholarships,” adding that through the year the organization offers technical seminars re-enforcing its ongoing commitment to professional growth for its members.

Past President Mihir Patel praised Ketan Patel and incoming President of SIAEA Amil Patel for the “excellent” job they had done in organizing the event. Amil Patel is he incoming President of the organization.

Chauhan told ITV Gold 40 years was a long journey for any organization. He spoke of Mayor Adams’ plans for NYC, saying the city is “open for business.” “We have more incentives for those waho want to open businesses,” Chauhan said. Mitul Patel, executive vice president, noted that this gala was being held after a long hiatus interrupted by the COVID pandemic, and praised members of SIAEA for helping develop New York City.

Others who spoke to ITV Gold included past presidents Mihir Patel and Nayan Parikh Lorenzo Bell performed the national anthem. Treasurer of SIAEA Heman Patel, spoke of how the organization had been helping members and newcomers and urged businesses to partner with it.

Assemblywoman Rajkumar noted that she was the first Indian-American woman to be elected to state office in Albany. “I am proud to be celebrating with my community,” she said, noting that “Everyone here is like my family which came here with $300,’ and achieved success.

At the conclusion of the event, SIAEA President Shah reiterated that “the success of this Gala is because of the hard work performed by our Executive Committee and the three Gala co-chairs (Mitul Patel, Chitra Radin and Yogesh Mistry). And, of course, we are very thankful to our supporters and sponsors without whom this event would not be possible.”

The following is the list of 2022 SIAEA Award Honorees and Scholarship recipients:

2022 Special Honoree Awards

  • Vipul Dev – Consul (Political and PIC) of India
  • Dilip Chauhan, Deputy Commissioner, International Affairs, New York City
  • Aileen del Prado, Senior, Director, NYC School Construction

2022 Honoree Awards

  • Ali Chaudhry, Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer, AECOM
  • Sandeep Mehrotra, Vice President, Hazen & Sawyer
  • Hermie Patel, President, AME
  • Jayesh Patel, Principal, Crest Engineering
  • Chitra Radin, President, Radin Consulting
  • Darsh Shah, Associate Principal, Super Structure

2022 Award Honoree for Under 40

  • Priya Shah, Associate, Gensler

2022 Scholarship Awards

  • Kshitij Ghavate, pursuing a master’s degree in Construction Engineering and Management at Stevens Institute of Technology, Hoboken, NJ
  • Vaishnavi Jariwala, pursuing a master’s degree in Construction,NYU at Polytechnic Institute of New York, NY, NY
  • Aashil Shah, pursuing a master’s degree in Computer Science at California State University
  • Disha Ashish Shah, pursuing a master’s degree in Construction Management at Northeastern University, Boston, MA
  • Isha Virendra Shah, pursuing an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering at Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
  • Parita Shah, pursuing an undergraduate degree at Computer Science atHarvard University, Boston, MA
  • Ronitkumar Tapiawala, pursuing an undergraduate degree in Civil Engineering at University of Illinois, Chicago, IL

(Courtesy: News India Times)

FCC Recommendations To Stop Phone Scammers Who Have Tricked Americans Of $40 Billion In 2022

Despite the rise of sophisticated crypto frauds and ransomware plots, phone scams continue to trick Americans out of tens of billions of dollars each year. Phone scams are on the rise. Truecaller, which makes an app that blocks spam calls, estimates that nearly 70 million Americans have lost money to phone scams in 2022, and that those scammers made off with nearly $40 billion in total. Phone scams include frauds that begin with calls and text messages.

“It’s very cheap to set up an automatic dialer and to plug a bunch of phone numbers into it, whether they’re random or they are very intentional by geography or by demographic, and place millions of phone calls in a very short period of time,” said Clayton LiaBraaten, senior executive advisor at Truecaller. “It’s a numbers game.”

The United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has stated that “Unwanted calls – including illegal and spoofed robocalls – are the FCC’s top consumer complaint and our top consumer protection priority. These include complaints from consumers whose numbers are being spoofed or whose calls are being mistakenly blocked or labeled as a possible scam call by a robocall blocking app or service.

“The FCC is committed to doing what we can to protect you from these unwelcome situations and is cracking down on illegal calls in a variety of ways:

  • Issuing hundreds of millions of dollars in enforcement actions against illegal robocallers.
  • Empowering phone companies to block by default illegal or unwanted calls based on reasonable call analytics before the calls reach consumers.
  • Allowing consumer options on tools to block calls from any number that doesn’t appear on a customer’s contact list or other “white list.”
  • Requiring phone companies to implement caller ID authentication to help reduce illegal spoofing.
  • Making consumer complaint data available to enable better call blocking and labeling solutions.

Check out the consumer guide on Call Blocking Tools and Resources, which includes information on many of the call blocking and labeling tools currently available to consumers.

Picture: YouTube

Learn more about FCC Initiatives to Combat Robocalls and Spoofing and download the FCC Report on Robocalls.

File a complaint with the FCC if you believe you have received an illegal call or text, or if you think you’re the victim of a spoofing scam.

Consumer Tips to Stop Unwanted Robocalls and Avoid Phone Scams

  • Don’t answer calls from unknown numbers. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.
  • You may not be able to tell right away if an incoming call is spoofed. Be aware: Caller ID showing a “local” number does not necessarily mean it is a local caller.
  • If you answer the phone and the caller – or a recording – asks you to hit a button to stop getting the calls, you should just hang up. Scammers often use this trick to identify potential targets.
  • Do not respond to any questions, especially those that can be answered with “Yes.”
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, passwords or other identifying information in response to unexpected calls or if you are at all suspicious.
  • If you get an inquiry from someone who says they represent a company or a government agency, hang up and call the phone number on your account statement, in the phone book, or on the company’s or government agency’s website to verify the authenticity of the request. You will usually get a written statement in the mail before you get a phone call from a legitimate source, particularly if the caller is asking for a payment.
  • Use caution if you are being pressured for information immediately.
  • If you have a voice mail account with your phone service, be sure to set a password for it. Some voicemail services are preset to allow access if you call in from your own phone number. A hacker could spoof your home phone number and gain access to your voice mail if you do not set a password.
  • Talk to your phone company about call blocking tools they may have and check into apps that you can download to your mobile device to block unwanted calls.
  • If you use robocall-blocking technology already, it often helps to let that company know which numbers are producing unwanted calls so they can help block those calls for you and others.
  • To block telemarketing calls, register your number on the Do Not Call List. Legitimate telemarketers consult the list to avoid calling both landline and wireless phone numbers on the list.

Micron Technology CEO Sanjay Mehrotra To Invest $100 Billion, Creating 50,000 Jobs In NY

Indian American Sanjay Mehrotra, the CEO of Micron Technology has promised to invest $100 billion over the next 20 years which will be instrumental in the creation of thousands of jobs in New York.

In his LinkedIn post, Mehrotra said that he met President Joe Biden on October 28 and showcased Micron’s future plans and the creation of the largest semiconductor fabrication facility in Clay, New York.

Kanpur-born Indian-origin Mehrotra said in a LinkedIn post that he met US President Joe Biden, and showcased the future plans of his company and the creation of the largest semiconductor fabrication facility in the history of the US. 

Picture: Business Today

“Today, I was humbled to meet with President Biden, introduce him to some of the Micron team, and showcase Micron’s plans for our future megafab in Clay, New York. This $100B investment over the next two decades will create the largest semiconductor fabrication facility in the history of the United States,” he said in the post. 

Mehrotra said in the post that their company will create 50,000 jobs in New York and will partner with local colleges, universities and community organisation to build the workforce. He said that they aim to make New York the hub of leading-edge semiconductor manufacturing. 

he fabs, part of Micron’s manufacturing network, will create memory chips that can be used in the most demanding applications worldwide. “Clay, New York will be able to say with pride that they are home to some of the most advanced semiconductor facilities anywhere in the world. We are proud to drive a vision for high-tech manufacturing leadership here in America,” he said. 

Picture: Business Today

The company further stated in a release that it will invest $250 million in the Green CHIPS Community Investment Fund, with an additional $100 million invested from New York, with $150 million from local, other state and national partners. “To secure US leadership in semiconductor manufacturing, cultivate American innovation and ensure economic and national security, it is imperative we come together to build and transform a workforce for the future. Our commitments through the Community Investment Framework represent the first foundational steps toward Central New York’s transformation,” said Mehrotra on President Biden’s visit. 

New York Governor Kathy Hochul said that the project’s $500 million community fund will sustain the region in the long term with investments in workforce, housing, and infrastructure. 

Micron Technology is a Nasdaq-listed company that focuses on innovative memory and storage solutions. 

Micron’s founder Sanjay Mehrotra was born in Kanpur, and completed his schooling from Delhi’s Sardar Patel Vidyalaya. He moved to the US at the age of 18, transferring from BITS Pilani to University of California, Berkeley. He earned his BA and MA degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from University of California. Mehrotra then enrolled in Stanford University for an executive business degree. He was awarded an honorary doctorate by Boise State University. Mehrotra also holds around 70 patents.

Elon Musk Fires Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal And Appoints Himself CEO

Elon Musk has appointed himself CEO of Twitter and dissolved its board of directors, it was revealed in a company filing on October 31st, as Twitter employees brace for extensive layoffs under a new restructuring that could target up to a quarter of staff.

Elon Musk, immediately after completing his acquisition of Twitter, has fired four top executives at the company, including CEO Parag Agrawal. Musk’s decision is not surprising given he has publicly accused Agrawal of misleading him on the number of spam-bot accounts.

Parag Agrawal was appointed Twitter CEO back in November 2021. But in just under a year, Twitter’s new owner Elon Musk has fired the India-born CEO.  The Washington Post reported  that Musk’s team has been discussing letting go of 25% of the company’s workforce in a first round of layoffs.

The reported layoffs come as the tech billionaire overhauls the company after buying it for $44bn last week. Celebrity lawyer Alex Spiro, a longtime Musk legal representative, led the conversations about the impending job cuts, according to reports.

The India-born Agrawal was appointed as Twitter’s CEO in November 2021 after Jack Dorsey stepped down. At the time, Dorsey had fully endorsed Agrawal. Given Musk has fired him, Agrawal’s stint at the job was less than a year. Agrawal is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay. He also has a PhD in Computer Science from Stanford University and has interned with other companies such as Microsoft, Yahoo, and AT&T Labs. He first joined Twitter in 2011, so he has worked here for nearly 11 years. Previously, he was Twitter’s Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and was appointed to the role in 2018. As reported previously, he played a role in the company’s technical strategy, especially around machine learning and AI. He also led efforts on scaling Twitter Ads systems.

Agrawal versus Elon Musk

While Musk has fired Agrawal, the relationship between the two did not have a rocky start, at least publicly. Back in April, when Musk had bought a majority stake in Twitter, Agrawal welcomed him. In fact, that’s tweet shows up first on his profile as a ‘popular tweet’. “I’m excited to share that we’re appointing @elonmusk to our board! Through conversations with Elon in recent weeks, it became clear to us that he would bring great value to our Board,” the now-sacked Twitter CEO had written in April this year.

Picture: Business Insider

But it was clear that Musk did not approve of the way things were being run at the company. In May, Musk changed his tune and started raising issues about the user account on Twitter, alleging that a large number of users were fake and that the company had not been honest about its user base.

This forced Agrawal to issue a long thread in May 2022, countering the claim of fake users. He had written at the time, “We suspend over half a million spam accounts every day, usually before any of you even see them on Twitter. We also lock millions of accounts each week that we suspect may be spam – if they can’t pass human verification challenges (captchas, phone verification, etc).”

He added that figuring out which accounts “look fake superficially” is a hard challenge. He noted, “Our team updates our systems and rules constantly to remove as much spam as possible, without inadvertently suspending real people or adding unnecessary friction for real people when they use Twitter: none of us want to solve a captcha every time we use Twitter.”

Regarding the percentage of fake users being more than 5 per cent, he had written, “Our actual internal estimates for the last four quarters were all well under 5% – based on the methodology outlined above. The error margins on our estimates give us confidence in our public statements each quarter.” Musk, of course, wasn’t impressed and replied to this entire thread with a ‘poop emoji’.

Twitter had more than 7,000 employees at the end of 2021, according to a regulatory filing, and a quarter of the headcount amounts to nearly 2,000 employees.

Reports that Musk planned to cut significant parts of the social media company’s workforce have been swirling for weeks. The Washington Post earlier reported Musk told prospective investors he planned to eliminate nearly 75% of Twitter’s staff in an effort to pay down the debt burden that has grown substantially since the start of his acquisition.

Musk has also reportedly told prospective investors in the deal that he planned to get rid of nearly 75% of the company’s staff, in a move that could disrupt every aspect of how Twitter operates. He previously discussed dramatically reducing Twitter’s workforce in personal text messages with friends about the deal, which were revealed in court filings, and didn’t dismiss the potential for layoffs in a call with Twitter employees in June.

The New York Times reported last week that Musk has ordered job cuts across the company, with some teams to be trimmed more than others and that layoffs would take place before 1 November, when employees were scheduled to receive stock grants as part of their compensation. “This is false,” Musk tweeted in response to the story.

Microsoft Lays Off Nearly 1,000 Employees

Tech giant Microsoft has laid off nearly 1,000 employees across multiple divisions of the company, media reports said.

According to Axios, the move is yet another example of large tech companies cutting jobs after earlier moving to slow or freeze hiring as the broader economy cools.

The tech giant declined to say how many jobs had been cut, but a source said the layoffs numbered under 1,000, as per the report.

“Like all companies, we evaluate our business priorities on a regular basis, and make structural adjustments accordingly. We will continue to invest in our business and hire in key growth areas in the year ahead,” Microsoft was quoted as saying in a statement.

The cuts occurred across a variety of levels, teams, and parts of the world.

Multiple laid-off workers turned to Twitter and Blind, among other online forums, to share that their job had been cut.

The report noted that nearly all the major tech firms have slowed headcount growth, with many freezing all but essential hires.

Meta, which had already frozen hiring, plans to cut budgets in most divisions, with layoffs expected.

Meanwhile, in the past few months, the tech giant has laid off nearly 2,000 employees globally.

Other tech companies that have either laid off employees or slowed hiring in the current economic downturn include Google, Meta, Oracle, Twitter, Nvidia, Snap, Uber, Spotify, Intel and Salesforce, among others. (IANS)

Infosys In Legal Trouble Over Hiring Discrimination Against Indian-Origin Employees

Indian IT major Infosys is facing a lawsuit in the United States filed by its former vice president of talent acquisition Jill Prejean, who has accused the company of adopting a discriminatory approach in hiring.

Prejean, 60, was hired in October 2018 and specialized in talent acquisition at vice president and partner levels at Infosys’s consulting division. She told a US court that she was asked by her management to avoid hiring people of Indian origin, women with children at home, and candidates aged 50 or above.

On Friday, September 30, a motion of Infosys to dismiss the suit filed by Prejean was rejected by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Infosys and the top executives who have been accused in Prejean’s complaint had moved for dismissal of the suit on grounds that the complainant had not provided any specific comment as proof.

The company has been given 21 days to respond to the court’s order.  Neither Prejean nor Infosys responded to queries posed by indica.

In her lawsuit, Prejean also accused former senior VP and head of consulting Mark Livingston, and former partners Dan Albright and Jerry Kurtz Infosys, of retaliatory termination and a hostile work environment.

According to the court order, “In December 2018, Livingston joined Infosys as Senior Vice President for Consulting and Prejean’s day-to-day supervisor. Shortly after joining the firm, Livingston allegedly met with Prejean in Infosys’s New York office and told her that he wished her to exclude women “with children at home” and candidates near or over 50 years old. Prejean told Livingston that these demands were illegal, and Livingston allegedly responded by becoming “disturbed and angry.” He also allegedly threatened to remove her from her position if she did not capitulate.”

Prejean has alleged in her suit that her employment was terminated in an unjust fashion after Kurtz and Albright “turned hostile” towards her because she had objected to their illegal demands while hiring senior executives for the company.

In her lawsuit, Prejean has claimed that she had been hired by Infosys to employ senior executives who could work in the consulting division as partners or vice presidents.

In her complaint, Prejean has said that she was shocked to find “a rampant culture of illegal discriminatory animus among the partner level executives based on age, gender, and caregiver status.”

Prejean has also claimed that when she tried to change this culture during the first two months of being hired, her efforts were resisted by Kurtz and Albright. Prejean has claimed that the two partners became hostile toward her objections and tried to override her authority to dodge the letter of law in this regard.

She said that “Infosys employees, and Livingston in particular, regularly told her that she should not hire women with caregiving responsibilities or people over 50 and threatened her when she did not accede.”

She alleged that Kurtz and Albright “expressly stated” their
discriminatory hiring preferences to her; that they, along with Livingston, “engaged in a concerted campaign of harassment, intimidation, and threats to Plaintiff and her job”; and “on a weekly basis . . . reiterated their displeasure with Plaintiff not discriminating against candidates and their desire to fire her.”

Prejean has alleged in her complaint that the biases of Kurtz and Albright violated New York City Human Rights Laws and also resulted in the termination of her employment.

Scientists May Have Just Cracked the Code on Fast Electric Car Charging

We’re going to need to mine a huge amount of metals like cobalt and lithium to electrify the world’s automobiles. But things would be easier if car batteries didn’t have to be so big. 

To a large extent, automobile makers building the next generation of electric vehicles (EVs) are competing on range, putting big, powerful batteries into their cars so they can travel farther between charges. That means mining and refining more minerals to build those bigger cars, and thus a bigger impact on the landscape, and a larger environmental footprint. The reason for all that is that EV batteries don’t charge very fast, so the assumption is that people will only buy cars that they can drive for a long time without the inconvenience of a long charging stop. But that paradigm might be about to change. 

A typical EV takes around 30 minutes or more to charge with a high-powered DC fast charger. But today researchers at Penn State University published a study in Nature revealing they have developed an EV battery that, crucially, can charge up to about 70% capacity in roughly 10 minutes. 

The technology can work for any size of battery, but perhaps the biggest benefit is that it will enable automakers to sell EVs with smaller batteries without triggering consumers’ range anxiety. The faster a battery can charge, the less need there is for big battery packs with long range, since stopping to charge will be no less an inconvenience than going to a gas station. And smaller battery packs also mean cheaper EVs. 

“Now you can essentially use much less raw materials, and reduce a tremendous [amount of] carbon emissions from manufacturing those batteries,” says Chao-Yang Wang, a professor of materials science and engineering at Penn State, and the lead author of the study. He’s also the founder and CTO of EC Power, a battery technology company that collaborated with the researchers on the study. The company is building a factory in Pennsylvania to start mass producing the batteries—they say the technology will be commercially available in about two years.

Wang is something of a rarity in the world of battery engineering—he’s been in the field since the early 1990s, contributing work on GM’s groundbreaking EV1, and his papers stretching back through the decades have been referenced by hundreds of other studies. About seven years ago, Wang and his team started looking into the question of how to make batteries charge faster. They tried several approaches, including methods to modulate the electrical current feeding energy into the battery, but ultimately cast that option aside. 

One other potential method involved heat. Batteries use chemical reactions to store energy, and those reactions are susceptible to temperature. When it gets cold, those reactions slow down, which is one of the reasons EV range can suffer in cold weather. Wang and his team started looking into doing the opposite, seeing if by warming essential components to the right temperature (about 176°F in their latest models) they could stimulate those reactions to work faster. As it turned out, the approach worked better than they could have expected. “The modeling came back to be just astonishing,” says Wang.

It took about a year and a half to finish completing electrochemical and thermal simulations for the heat approach—for instance, to see if heating the battery components would make them wear out faster. By 2017, they were building test models. Their approach involved burying thin sheets of nickel foil inside a battery, which could heat the internal components to just the right temperature during charging, helping them to absorb electricity more efficiently—without, of course, overheating the battery and creating a fire risk. “Battery technology has been lagging behind, and its fast charging problem has been a longstanding challenge,” Wang says. “Only now, we’re beginning to crack the code.”

 

AI Tools Fail To Reduce Recruitment Bias – Study

Artificially intelligent hiring tools do not reduce bias or improve diversity, researchers say in a study.

“There is growing interest in new ways of solving problems such as interview bias,” the Cambridge University researchers say, in the journal Philosophy and Technology

The use of AI is becoming widespread – but its analysis of candidate videos or applications is “pseudoscience”. 

A professional body for human resources told BBC News AI could counter bias.

In 2020, the study notes, an international survey of 500 human-resources professionals suggested nearly a quarter were using AI for “talent acquisition, in the form of automation”.

But using it to reduce bias is counter-productive and, University of Cambridge’s Centre for Gender Studies post-doctoral researcher Dr Kerry Mackereth told BBC News, based on “a myth”.

“These tools can’t be trained to only identify job-related characteristics and strip out gender and race from the hiring process, because the kinds of attributes we think are essential for being a good employee are inherently bound up with gender and race,” she said.

Some companies have also found these tools problematic, the study notes.

In 2018, for example, Amazon announced it had scrapped the development of an AI-powered recruitment engine because it could detect gender from CVs and discriminated against female applicants.

‘Modern phrenology’

Of particular concern to the researchers were tools to “analyse the minutiae of a candidate’s speech and bodily movements” to see how closely they resembled a company’s supposed ideal employee.

Video and image analysis technology had “no scientific basis”, co-author Dr Eleanor Drage told BBC News, dismissing it as “modern phrenology”, the false theory skull shape could reveal character and mental faculties.

“They say that they can know your personality from looking at your face. The idea is that, like a lie-detector test, AI can see ‘through’ your face to the real you,” she told BBC News.

With six computer-science students, the researchers built their own simplified AI recruitment tool, to rate candidates’ photographs for the “big five” personality traits: 

agreeableness

extroversion

openness

conscientiousness

neuroticism

But the ratings were skewed by many irrelevant variables.

“When you use our tool, you can see that your personality score changes when you alter the contrast/brightness/saturation,” Dr Drage wrote.

Technology news site The Register noted other investigations had reached a similar conclusion. 

A German public broadcaster found wearing glasses or a headscarf in a video changed a candidate’s scores.

Hayfa Mohdzaini, from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, told BBC News its research suggested only 8% of employers used AI to select candidates.

“AI can efficiently help increase an organisation’s diversity by filtering from a larger candidate pool – but it can also miss out on lots of good candidates if the rules and training data are incomplete or inaccurate,” she said.

“AI software to analyse candidates’ voice and body language in recruitment is in its infancy and therefore carries both opportunities and risks.”  (BBC.COM)

Indian Economy Shows Great Resilience Post Covid; Marches Strongly Towards 2047 Goal

Economy

India has one of the most promising economies globally. India has surpassed Britain to become the world’s fifth largest economy. The manufacturing MSME- start-up ecosystem has boosted the economy and created new job opportunities.

As a result of these efforts, the Indian economy has recovered from the negative effects of Covid, and the country is on its way to becoming the world’s third and $5 trillion economy.

The good news is that the eight key industries that drive the country’s economy — coal, crude oil, natural gas, petroleum refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement, and electricity — have grown by 4.5 per cent.

This simply means that the Indian economy has returned to normalcy and is progressing.

India has the big goal of becoming developed and self-reliant by 2047, when the country attains its 100th independence day.

The Indian economy has recovered from the pandemic and is back on track. In the first quarter of the current fiscal year, GDP increased by 13.5 per cent (April-June).

At constant prices, the country’s GDP was Rs 32.46 lakh crore in the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021-22, while it grew by 13.5 per cent to Rs 36.85 lakh crore in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

Simultaneously, the common index of eight core industries, which contribute significantly to the country’s economy, has increased by 4.5 per cent since July 2021.

The final growth rate of the eight core industries was revised to 9.5 per cent in April 2022, up from 8.4 per cent previously.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the economy are bearing fruit.

These latest figures show that the Indian economy has recovered from the pandemic’s negative effects.

The country is now rapidly moving towards becoming self-reliant.

India has surpassed Germany to become the world’s fourth largest automobile market. In 2021, India sold 37.6 lakh vehicles, while Germany sold 29.7 lakh vehicles. August is the fifth month in a row that more than 3 lakh cars have been sold in India.

In the global market, Indian products are now emerging as the first choice. India is the world’s leading exporter of electronics, petroleum, and engineering goods.

Exports of these products increased by 17 per cent this year compared to the same period in 2021 (April-August).

The Indian government recognized an important fact when Covid first appeared — the economic impact of this epidemic differed from the effect of the previous epidemic because the Covid epidemic was designed to have a negative impact on demand.

As a result, there was concern that the pandemic would have long-term economic consequences for the country.

However, the government’s tight machinery was in place to ensure that such a situation did not last long.

As a result, a number of reform initiatives were launched. Labour reforms, agricultural reforms, changing the definition of a micro, small, and medium-sized enterprise, and implementing the production-linked incentive scheme were among them.

These reforms attempted to formalise the country’s economy to a large extent.

The identification of shell units, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and the goods and services tax were all critical steps in bringing the economy under a set of rules and regulations.

The benefit of this was that there was an attempt to shape the economy in terms of shape, type, and behaviour. Simultaneously, a focus on job creating industries was sought.

The government had a clear vision that the country needed to address not only the immediate challenges but also ensure the recovery of economy and infrastructure development, both of which are critical to achieving the objectives.

The new generation of the country is now taking the risk of innovation, learning from mistakes, and getting involved with new energy.

Employment in MSMEs has increased by 116 per cent as compared to 2019-20.

It is the charisma of the growing youth power that drives the small scale industry, that is, India’s MSME and start-up ecosystem is growing at the fastest rate in the world. (IANS)

India Invites People Of Indian Heritage To Explore Start-Up Boom

As the world economy staggers under global recession, many Indians settled abroad are thinking of returning to the homeland. They now see India as an exciting market, where the real growth story lies. 

India too, stands to benefit from the return of the Non-resident Indian;  the positive effects of a reverse brain drain have been evidenced in countries like Taiwan, Israel and China. Now more than ever, India needs skills in science and math, and investments in research. 

The returning NRI will bring a higher understanding of the functioning of developed countries, of technology and know-how that will benefit India, and a business network that will expand India’s economic reach.

India has now invited with open arms Non-resident Indians (NRIs) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) to come and explore the great start-up boom in India, the success of which has become a global talking point. 

With over 77,000 startups and 105 unicorns, Indian innovators, incubators and entrepreneurs are making a mark for themselves and this may inspire and encourage NRIs and PIOs to look at opportunities back home.

Interacting with eminent diaspora over a community reception in New York, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh also invited the NRIs and PIOs to come and explore the great startup boom in India. The interaction with eminent diaspora was held over a community reception hosted for the Union Minister of State (MoS), Ministry of Science and Technology; MoS, Ministry of Earth Science; MoS of Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances AND Pensions at New York. 

Dr Singh pointed out that the pro-business reforms unleashed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the last eight years like reduction in compliance requirements, removal of retrospective taxation, simplification of the corporate tax rate structure, and Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC) have improved India’s rank in ease of doing business from 142 in 2014 to 63 in 2022, as per World Bank report.

Dr Singh was speaking to the Indian diaspora in New York after returning from the Joint Ministerial Plenary of Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM13) and Mission Innovation (MI-7) at the ‘Global Clean Energy Action Forum- 2022’ at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He led a high-level Joint Indian Ministerial Delegation of the Ministry of Power, New & Renewable Energy and Ministry of Science & Technology at the Energy Summit from September 21 to 23 and presented India’s view on clean energy initiatives and climate actions at various roundtables and Joint Ministerial Plenary.

There is a tremendous focus in the country on sunrise sectors such as 5G, artificial intelligence, drones, semiconductors, blockchain, green energy, and space economy, the minister added.

Referring to the National Education Policy 2020, Dr Jitendra Singh says it opens myriad avenues to enhance our university-to-university links, joint academic programmes, credit portability and research partnership. He said, India is now open to foreign universities setting campuses in the country and we are hopeful that US Universities will take advantage of these opportunities.

The minister said, as two democracies with shared values, open exchange of knowledge remains key to our strong partnership. Indian students in the United States of America are integral to it, and so are our ties between universities and educational institutions on both sides.

The Sands Of Mars Are Green As Well As Red, Rover Perseverance Discovers

Newswise — The accepted view of Mars is red rocks and craters as far as the eye can see. That’s much what scientists expected when they landed the rover Perseverance in the Jezero Crater, a spot chosen partly for the crater’s history as a lake and as part of a rich river system, back when Mars had liquid water, air and a magnetic field.

What the rover found once on the ground was startling: Rather than the expected sedimentary rocks – washed in by rivers and accumulated on the lake bottom – many of the rocks are volcanic in nature. Specifically, they are composed of large grains of olivine, the muddier less-gemlike version of peridot that tints so many of Hawaii’s beaches dark green.

Planetary scientists Roger Wiens, professor of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences, and Briony Horgan, associate professor of earth, atmospheric, and planetary sciences, in Purdue’s College of Science, were instrumental in the discovery and analysis of this data, recently published in a suite of papers in the journals Science and Science Advances.

Wiens led the design and construction of Perseverance’s SuperCam, which helps analyze the rock samples and determine their type and origin. Horgan helped select Jezero Crater as the rover’s landing site and now uses the Mastcam-Z cameras on Perseverance to put its discoveries into geological context.

“We started to realize that these layered igneous rocks we were seeing look different from the igneous rocks we have these days on Earth,” Wiens said. “They’re very like igneous rocks on Earth early in its existence.”

The rocks and lava the rover is examining on Mars are nearly 4 billion years old. Rocks that old exist on Earth but are incredibly weathered and beaten, thanks to Earth’s active tectonic plates as well as the weathering effects of billions of years of wind, water and life. On Mars, these rocks are pristine and much easier to analyze and study.

Understanding the rocks on Mars, their evolution and history, and what they reveal about the history of planetary conditions on Mars helps researchers understand how life may have arisen on Mars and how that compares with early life and conditions on ancient Earth.

“One of the reasons we don’t have a great understanding of where and when life first evolved on Earth is because those rocks are mostly gone, so it’s really hard to reconstruct what ancient environments on Earth were like,” Horgan said. “The rocks Perseverance is roving over in Jezero have more or less just been sitting at the surface for billions of years, waiting for us to come look at them. That’s one of the reasons that Mars is an important laboratory for understanding the early solar system.”

Scientists can use conditions on early Mars to help extrapolate the environment and conditions on Earth at the same time when life was beginning to arise. Understanding how, and under what conditions, life began will help scientists know where to look for it on other planets and moons, as well as lead to a deeper understanding of biological processes here on Earth.

The search for life is one of Perseverance’s main goals and one of the reasons it landed in Jezero Crater in the first place. Discovering the potential for habitable environments in something as uninhabitable as Jezero Crater’s aged lava flows raises hopes for what lies in the sedimentary rocks the mission is examining now.

“We’re excited to see even better results about organics and ancient habitable environments,” Horgan said. “I think it’s really setting the stage that Mars is this watery, habitable place, and all the samples we’re getting back are going to help us understand the history of ancient microbial life on Mars.”

The equipment and innovative instruments are helping the rover carry out its mission in a way no other rover yet has, emphasizing the need to land on the planet so scientists can examine and understand what’s really going on.

“From orbit, we looked at these rocks and said, ‘Oh, they have beautiful layers!’ So we thought they were sedimentary rocks,” Horgan said. “And it wasn’t until we were very close up and looked at them, at the millimeter scale, that we understood that these are not sedimentary rocks. They’re actually ancient lava. It was a huge moment when we figured that out on the ground, and it really illustrated why we need this kind of exploration. The tools we have on the rover are vital because it was impossible to understand the origin of these rocks until we got up close and used all our amazing microscopic instruments to look at them.”

The search for life is one of Perseverance’s main goals and one of the reasons it landed in Jezero Crater in the first place. Discovering the potential for habitable environments in something as uninhabitable as Jezero Crater’s aged lava flows raises hopes for what lies in the sedimentary rocks the mission is examining now.

“We’re excited to see even better results about organics and ancient habitable environments,” Horgan said. “I think it’s really setting the stage that Mars is this watery, habitable place, and all the samples we’re getting back are going to help us understand the history of ancient microbial life on Mars.”

The equipment and innovative instruments are helping the rover carry out its mission in a way no other rover yet has, emphasizing the need to land on the planet so scientists can examine and understand what’s really going on.

“From orbit, we looked at these rocks and said, ‘Oh, they have beautiful layers!’ So we thought they were sedimentary rocks,” Horgan said. “And it wasn’t until we were very close up and looked at them, at the millimeter scale, that we understood that these are not sedimentary rocks. They’re actually ancient lava. It was a huge moment when we figured that out on the ground, and it really illustrated why we need this kind of exploration. The tools we have on the rover are vital because it was impossible to understand the origin of these rocks until we got up close and used all our amazing microscopic instruments to look at them.”

Newswise — Scientists on NASA’s Perseverance mission made a surprising discovery about the composition of rock in Jezero Crater, one that will help them get a better idea of when water existed on Mars, and ultimately, help them understand if the red planet was ever habitable to microbial life.

“The SuperCam instrument suite of remote chemical and mineralogical tools on the Perseverance rover has made some exciting new detailed observations regarding Jezero Crater’s history that could not be fully understood before landing,” said Sam Clegg, deputy principal investigator for SuperCam. “This exciting new data will really help us better understand when the crater held water, and it also gives us insight into Mars’ climate history.”

The new research, published today (Aug. 25) in Science Advances, shows that Jezero Crater is largely made up of igneous rock, rather than sedimentary rock.

The crater where Perseverance landed in 2021 held water billions of years ago. For that reason, scientists predicted that rock in the area would be sedimentary, formed over time from settled mud, which would be the case for lakebeds on Earth. But to their surprise, they found that rock in Jezero is igneous, which is formed by volcanic magma.

Igneous rock is easier to date and could give researchers a more accurate way to estimate when Mars had water.

The rock analysis was done by SuperCam, a Los Alamos National Laboratory-designed instrument. SuperCam uses a focused infrared laser beam to remove dust and material from rock surfaces in a technique called laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS). The energy burst from each five-nanosecond pulse creates a flash; its optical spectrum (specific colors) reveals the elemental chemistry of targets up to about 25 feet away.

“Finding these igneous rocks in the bed of an ancient lake on Mars was quite a surprise. One would have expected lakebed sediments, but it shows that Mars’ history is more complicated than expected, including lava flows in this ancient site,” said Roger Wiens, principal investigator on the SuperCam instrument.

Putin Grants Edward Snowden Citizenship

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, September 26th signed a decree granting citizenship to former National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden. He was among 75 foreigners granted citizenship by Putin’s new decree. 

Snowden fled the U.S. in 2013 after he leaked classified information about government surveillance programs and was charged with espionage. He’s been living in exile in Moscow for nearly a decade to avoid prosecution on American soil. 

He said in 2019 that he ultimately hoped to return home if the government guaranteed him a fair trial, but he contended the U.S. wasn’t willing to let him defend his actions as having been made in the public interest.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Snowden requested an extended residency permit that would allow him to spend three more years in Russia. Later that year, Russia granted him an unlimited permit. 

Weeks after securing permanent residency, Snowden and his wife, Lindsay Mills, announced they would apply for Russian citizenship ahead of the birth of their first child. Snowden said at the time that he and his family would work to maintain dual U.S.-Russian citizenship and would not renounce their U.S. passports.  

The move comes on the heels of a partial mobilization order that would call up thousands of Russian reservists to fight in the war in Ukraine. The country has a mandatory conscription system, and most men enter the reserves after completing military training.  

Health Care — Pfizer asks to give omicron boosters to young kidsEquilibrium/Sustainability — Scientists grant a second life to durable plastics

Snowden’s lawyer reportedly told the Interfax news agency that he is not eligible to be mobilized because he has not served in the Russian forces.

Though outspoken about U.S. politics on his Twitter account and in his Substack newsletter, Snowden has been quiet about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Indian Design Firm Wins 2022 Global Muse Creative Award

Bengaluru -based Design Services firm, Aifat UX, a leading UX/UI design services provider has announced that they won the 2022 Muse Creative Award in the educational app design category. Aufait UX’s design for StockPe, a stock trading and investment education platform was selected from over 6000 entries worldwide as the Gold Winner. The international competition was judged by experts and industry professionals from 30+ countries belonging to reputed companies.

“At Aufait UX, we believe in creating world-class designs that stand out for its quality and perfection. The Muse Awards is a testament of our craftsmanship and relentless pursuit of creating awesome designs. I would like to extend my thanks to the StockPe team for their excellent customer support and my design team for their wonderful teamwork”, said Bijith Ahmed, chief designer and co-founder of Aufait UX.

“It comes as no surprise that Aufait UX has bagged this international recognition for their designs. We were truly impressed with their design for the StockPe app. With their attention to details, out of the box thinking and passion for design, they went above and beyond in meeting our requirements. They truly deserve this honor”, said Shubham Rawal, co-founder of StockPe.

The MUSE awards is a series of competitions hosted by the International Awards Associate (IAA), an organization that has continuously strived to honor creatives and designers for their excellence. The theme for the 2022 Muse awards was “Stride Forth”. This year the MUSE Awards honored those who are dauntless in adversity; who take on challenges with an unwavering will, set the standards for the world and inspire others to reach higher.

Aufait UX is a leading UI UX design agency based out of Bangalore, India, providing UX/UI design services to their customers across the globe. Aufait UX is recognized for mobile app, web app and website designs, recognized by independent analysts and analyst platforms including Clutch, Manifest and Visual Objects. Aufait UX provides design services for industry verticals including healthcare, education, fintech, ecommerce, government and utilities.

StockPe is a stock market learning app that simplifies financial learning for Indians through gamification. It provides a platform for people to experience finance education in a fun and rewarding way, radically different from the traditional theoretical and lengthy learning model. With gamified tournaments modeled on live stock market data, StockPe helps users to learn trading and practice their knowledge in real time.

Jaipur Literary Fest Takes NYC Arts Scene by Storm

Technology, visual art, high fashion, and literature merged on the same stage last week at the closing night event for the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) New York Edition, curated by cultural producer Myna Mukherjee of Engendered, a trans-national arts and human rights organization based in New Delhi. After a hiatus of 10 years, Engendered returned to New York City’s High Nine Gallery in Chelsea with Techné Disruptors, a hand-picked NFT collection featuring some of South Asia’s most cutting-edge artists, including Ram Rahman, Waswo X. Waswo, Veer Munshi, Raghava KK, Puneet Kaushik, Harshit Agrawal, Nur Mahammed, Balbir Krishan, Amritah Sen, among others.

Co-presented by Avid Learning and High Line Nine Gallery and powered by Technology Partner, Polygon, the show has been conceived through the lens of urbanism and a post-colonial gaze. It engages Indian futurisms, indigenous technologies, and future-forward aesthetics while retaining the notion of cultural perpetuity. Techné Disruptors is coming to New York after celebrating unprecedented success in its first outing in New Delhi (April-May 2022). The show not only helped reshape sedentary categories of art but also radically shifted the way art is viewed, understood, experienced, and sold. For the first time, over 80% of a largely digital exhibition was collected by one of India’s most reputed institutional collectors.

The closing reception of JLF, featured the NFT book launch of Seema Kohli’s “Mitr Pyaare Nu,” as well as closing remarks from Managing Director, Teamwork Arts Sanjoy Roy and Indian politician Shaiza Ilmi. The evening concluded with a fashion show presented by South Asian New York Fashion Week (SANYFW), showcasing the designs of Untitled by Nikita, AKS Mathur, Aara by Sana, Aazadi by Naseer Khan and Pakistani headliner Nomi Ansari.

The three-week-long event in Chelsea Arts District with rotating exhibitions (a new chapter each week) features works imagined with the most future-forward technologies of our times including AI (Artificial Intelligence), AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), holographs, and works from brand new minted collections of Global South NFTs curated with a critical need to strengthen south-south collaborations.

The exhibition looks at the bridging of the old and the new, the physical and the digital, and lends voice to largely invisibilized conversations and personal stories in the complex landscape of gender, sexuality & marginalities. It speaks to the cultural consequences of migrations within, from, and to the Indian subcontinent as artistic inquiries into difference and belonging.

The artists include: Seema Kohli | Veer Munshi | Ram Rahman | Puneet Kaushik | Waswo X. Waswo | Amina Ahmed | 64/1: Raghava KK & Karthik Kalyanaraman | Harshit Agrawal | Balbir Krishan | Amritah Sen | Babak Haghi | Ritu Kamath | Nur Mahhamed | ‘Rharha’ Rochelle Nembhard | Minne Atairu | Satadru Sovan | Abhishek Singh | SK Sahni | Mahula Ghosh | Adil B. Khan | Santosh K. Das | Sukanya Ayde | Portia Roy | Mandakini Devi | Aamir Rabbani | Arvin Ombika | Ahsan Masood | Baishali Chetia | Chathuri Nissansala | Dominique V. Castelano | Ipshita Thakur | Isha Yadav | Sawan Taank | Mohd Shaze

Putin Grants Edward Snowden Citizenship

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, September 26th signed a decree granting citizenship to former National Security Agency contractor and whistleblower Edward Snowden. He was among 75 foreigners granted citizenship by Putin’s new decree.

Snowden fled the U.S. in 2013 after he leaked classified information about government surveillance programs and was charged with espionage. He’s been living in exile in Moscow for nearly a decade to avoid prosecution on American soil.

He said in 2019 that he ultimately hoped to return home if the government guaranteed him a fair trial, but he contended the U.S. wasn’t willing to let him defend his actions as having been made in the public interest.

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Snowden requested an extended residency permit that would allow him to spend three more years in Russia. Later that year, Russia granted him an unlimited permit.

Weeks after securing permanent residency, Snowden and his wife, Lindsay Mills, announced they would apply for Russian citizenship ahead of the birth of their first child. Snowden said at the time that he and his family would work to maintain dual U.S.-Russian citizenship and would not renounce their U.S. passports.

The move comes on the heels of a partial mobilization order that would call up thousands of Russian reservists to fight in the war in Ukraine. The country has a mandatory conscription system, and most men enter the reserves after completing military training.

Health Care — Pfizer asks to give omicron boosters to young kidsEquilibrium/Sustainability — Scientists grant a second life to durable plastics

Snowden’s lawyer reportedly told the Interfax news agency that he is not eligible to be mobilized because he has not served in the Russian forces.

Though outspoken about U.S. politics on his Twitter account and in his Substack newsletter, Snowden has been quiet about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Jaipur Literary Fest Takes NYC Arts Scene by Storm

Technology, visual art, high fashion, and literature merged on the same stage last week at the closing night event for the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) New York Edition, curated by cultural producer Myna Mukherjee of Engendered, a trans-national arts and human rights organization based in New Delhi. After a hiatus of 10 years, Engendered returned to New York City’s High Nine Gallery in Chelsea with Techné Disruptors, a hand-picked NFT collection featuring some of South Asia’s most cutting-edge artists, including Ram Rahman, Waswo X. Waswo, Veer Munshi, Raghava KK, Puneet Kaushik, Harshit Agrawal, Nur Mahammed, Balbir Krishan, Amritah Sen, among others.
 
Co-presented by Avid Learning and High Line Nine Gallery and powered by Technology Partner, Polygon, the show has been conceived through the lens of urbanism and a post-colonial gaze. It engages Indian futurisms, indigenous technologies, and future-forward aesthetics while retaining the notion of cultural perpetuity. Techné Disruptors is coming to New York after celebrating unprecedented success in its first outing in New Delhi (April-May 2022). The show not only helped reshape sedentary categories of art but also radically shifted the way art is viewed, understood, experienced, and sold. For the first time, over 80% of a largely digital exhibition was collected by one of India’s most reputed institutional collectors.
 
The closing reception of JLF, featured the NFT book launch of Seema Kohli’s “Mitr Pyaare Nu,” as well as closing remarks from Managing Director, Teamwork Arts Sanjoy Roy and Indian politician Shaiza Ilmi. The evening concluded with a fashion show presented by South Asian New York Fashion Week (SANYFW), showcasing the designs of Untitled by Nikita, AKS Mathur, Aara by Sana, Aazadi by Naseer Khan and Pakistani headliner Nomi Ansari.

The three-week-long event in Chelsea Arts District with rotating exhibitions (a new chapter each week) features works imagined with the most future-forward technologies of our times including AI (Artificial Intelligence), AR (Augmented Reality), VR (Virtual Reality), holographs, and works from brand new minted collections of Global South NFTs curated with a critical need to strengthen south-south collaborations.
 
The exhibition looks at the bridging of the old and the new, the physical and the digital, and lends voice to largely invisibilized conversations and personal stories in the complex landscape of gender, sexuality & marginalities. It speaks to the cultural consequences of migrations within, from, and to the Indian subcontinent as artistic inquiries into difference and belonging.
 

The artists include: Seema Kohli | Veer Munshi | Ram Rahman | Puneet Kaushik | Waswo X. Waswo | Amina Ahmed | 64/1: Raghava KK & Karthik Kalyanaraman | Harshit Agrawal | Balbir Krishan | Amritah Sen | Babak Haghi | Ritu Kamath | Nur Mahhamed | ‘Rharha’ Rochelle Nembhard | Minne Atairu | Satadru Sovan | Abhishek Singh | SK Sahni | Mahula Ghosh | Adil B. Khan | Santosh K. Das | Sukanya Ayde | Portia Roy | Mandakini Devi | Aamir Rabbani | Arvin Ombika | Ahsan Masood | Baishali Chetia | Chathuri Nissansala | Dominique V. Castelano | Ipshita Thakur | Isha Yadav | Sawan Taank | Mohd Shazeb

Indian Design Firm Wins 2022 Global Muse Creative Award

Bengaluru -based Design Services firm, Aifat UX, a leading UX/UI design services provider has announced that they won the 2022 Muse Creative Award in the educational app design category. Aufait UX’s design for StockPe, a stock trading and investment education platform was selected from over 6000 entries worldwide as the Gold Winner. The international competition was judged by experts and industry professionals from 30+ countries belonging to reputed companies. 


“At Aufait UX, we believe in creating world-class designs that stand out for its quality and perfection. The Muse Awards is a testament of our craftsmanship and relentless pursuit of creating awesome designs. I would like to extend my thanks to the StockPe team for their excellent customer support and my design team for their wonderful teamwork”, said Bijith Ahmed, chief designer and co-founder of Aufait UX.

“It comes as no surprise that Aufait UX has bagged this international recognition for their designs. We were truly impressed with their design for the StockPe app. With their attention to details, out of the box thinking and passion for design, they went above and beyond in meeting our requirements. They truly deserve this honor”, said Shubham Rawal, co-founder of StockPe.

The MUSE awards is a series of competitions hosted by the International Awards Associate (IAA), an organization that has continuously strived to honor creatives and designers for their excellence. The theme for the 2022 Muse awards was “Stride Forth”. This year the MUSE Awards honored those who are dauntless in adversity; who take on challenges with an unwavering will, set the standards for the world and inspire others to reach higher.


Aufait UX is a leading UI UX design agency based out of Bangalore, India, providing UX/UI design services to their customers across the globe. Aufait UX is recognized for mobile app, web app and website designs, recognized by independent analysts and analyst platforms including Clutch, Manifest and Visual Objects. Aufait UX provides design services for industry verticals including healthcare, education, fintech, ecommerce, government and utilities.


StockPe is a stock market learning app that simplifies financial learning for Indians through gamification. It provides a platform for people to experience finance education in a fun and rewarding way, radically different from the traditional theoretical and lengthy learning model. With gamified tournaments modeled on live stock market data, StockPe helps users to learn trading and practice their knowledge in real time.

INS Vikrant Commissioned

The first ever India-made aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, was commissioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Cochin Shipyard. INS Vikrant is the largest ship ever built in India’s maritime history at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore. The ship has now formally joined the Indian Navy fleet.

The new naval ensign takes inspiration from the famous Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s seal. “The octagonal shape with twin golden borders draws inspiration from the seal of the great Indian emperor, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, whose visionary maritime outlook established a credible naval fleet,” the Indian Navy said in a video describing the seal.

Addressing the gathering, India’s PM Narendra Modi said, “Vikrant is not just a warship. It is a testament to the hard work, talent, influence and commitment of of 21st century India”. Marking the event as the “sunrise of a new future”, the PM added that Vikrant is a unique reflection of India becoming self-reliant.

“When INS Vikrant descends to protect our maritime zone, many women soldiers of the Navy will also be stationed there. With the immense power of the ocean, boundless female power, it will become the identity of New India,” PM Modi said.

The carrier houses state-of-the-art automation features at the Cochin Shipyard. During the event, PM Modi also unveiled the new Naval Ensign (Nishaan), doing away with the colonial past.

INS Vikrant will contribute to ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean region, Vice Chief of Indian Navy Vice Admiral S N Ghormade had said earlier. He said the aircraft landing trials on board INS Vikrant will begin in November and they will be completed by mid-2023, adding MiG-29K jets will operate from the warship for the first few years. The commissioning of Vikrant is being seen as a significant step towards India’s self-reliance in the defense sector.

Using a novel aircraft operation mode known as Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), the IAC is equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft. It has a set of three ‘arrester wires’ for their recovery onboard. Commissioning of ‘Vikrant’ would showcase the country’s indigenization capabilities, besides paying tributes to its freedom fighters and soldiers of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, a Defense statement had said.

Some Twitter Users Get Edit Button

A picture of an ‘Edit Button’ was shared by Twitter Blue, which is a paid subscription service from Twitter , media reports stated. “Well well well, look what we’ve been testing,” The long-awaited edit button is finally coming to the microblogging platform Twitter, even though it would be for select users only.

“If you see an edited Tweet it’s because we’re testing the edit button, this is happening and you’ll be okay,” Twitter confirmed the arrival of the feature through its official account.

Twitter users will finally be able to edit the tweets they post on the platform. However, as per reports, only paid users will have the access to the feature and it remains to be seen if the feature will be available for all 237 million users.

“We’re hoping that with the availability of Edit Tweet, tweeting will feel more approachable and less stressful,” Twitter said in a statement. “You should be able to participate in the conversation in a way that makes sense to you.”

The edit button initially is available for Twitter employees for internal testing, and then to Twitter Blue users. The company eventually plans to give everyone the option to alter their tweets.

A picture of an ‘Edit Button’ was shared by Twitter Blue, which is a paid subscription service from Twitter.

How does the feature works?

The edit button will allow users to edit their tweet even if it has been posted. Twitter users did not have the option so far so they either had to delete the tweet or post another one in case any mistake happened.

However, Twitter users will get only 30 minutes to edit their tweets which are long and has some mistakes. To signify a tweet is edited, the tweet will bear a label to show it has been modified. Clicking the label will let viewers see the history of the edits.

Major Changes in Twitter

Since its launch in 2006, Twitter has hardly undergone many changes. However, in 2017, Twitter increased the character limit for messages to 280 characters from 140.

In 2020, Twitter rolled out Fleets, a feature similar to Instagram reels that deleted users’ posts after 24 hours. But Twitter soon removed the feature.

Last month, Twitter introduced Circles, a feature that lets people share posts with a smaller number of followers.

Elon Musk and the Edit button

Tesla CEO and billionaire Elon Musk wanted to bring the edit button to the social media platform after taking a passive stake in the company.

“Looking forward to working with Parag & Twitter board to make significant improvements to Twitter in coming months,” Musk had tweeted in April.

It is worth noting that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been demanding the edit button from Twitter for a long time.

Later, Musk announced that he was withdrawing from a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter alleging multiple breaches of the agreement.

Musk said he had backed out because Twitter failed to provide enough information on the number of spam and fake accounts.

Twitter and Musk became embroiled in a legal battle following that as Twitter filed suit, alleging he had breached his contract while disrupting the site’s operations and dragging down its stock.

INS Vikrant Commissioned

The first ever India-made aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant, was commissioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Cochin Shipyard. INS Vikrant is the largest ship ever built in India’s maritime history at a cost of Rs 20,000 crore. The ship has now formally joined the Indian Navy fleet.

The new naval ensign takes inspiration from the famous Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj’s seal. “The octagonal shape with twin golden borders draws inspiration from the seal of the great Indian emperor, Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, whose visionary maritime outlook established a credible naval fleet,” the Indian Navy said in a video describing the seal.

Addressing the gathering, India’s PM Narendra Modi said, “Vikrant is not just a warship. It is a testament to the hard work, talent, influence and commitment of of 21st century India”. Marking the event as the “sunrise of a new future”, the PM added that Vikrant is a unique reflection of India becoming self-reliant.

“When INS Vikrant descends to protect our maritime zone, many women soldiers of the Navy will also be stationed there. With the immense power of the ocean, boundless female power, it will become the identity of New India,” PM Modi said.

The carrier houses state-of-the-art automation features at the Cochin Shipyard. During the event, PM Modi also unveiled the new Naval Ensign (Nishaan), doing away with the colonial past.

INS Vikrant will contribute to ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific and Indian Ocean region, Vice Chief of Indian Navy Vice Admiral S N Ghormade had said earlier. He said the aircraft landing trials on board INS Vikrant will begin in November and they will be completed by mid-2023, adding MiG-29K jets will operate from the warship for the first few years. The commissioning of Vikrant is being seen as a significant step towards India’s self-reliance in the defense sector.

Using a novel aircraft operation mode known as Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery (STOBAR), the IAC is equipped with a ski-jump for launching aircraft. It has a set of three ‘arrester wires’ for their recovery onboard. Commissioning of ‘Vikrant’ would showcase the country’s indigenization capabilities, besides paying tributes to its freedom fighters and soldiers of the 1971 Indo-Pak war, a Defense statement had said.

Captain Zoya Agarwal, 1st First Indian Woman Fly Aircraft Above North Pole

In 2021, Captain Zoya, an Air India pilot of aircraft Boeing-777, led the first all-women pilot team over the world’s longest air route from San Francisco in the United States to Bengaluru in India, covering the North Pole. Now, Captain Zoya Agarwal, the first Indian woman pilot to fly an aircraft above the North pole, covering a record-breaking distance of around 16,000 Kilometers, made her place in SFO aviation museum for her achievements.

“I was amazed to see that I’m the only living object over there, I am just humbled honestly. I can’t believe that I am a part of a prestigious aviation museum in the USA,” she said. The SFO Museum commemorated her career and her advocacy for promoting women’s empowerment across the world, as she is the first female Indian pilot to be included in their program.

While talking to ANI, Captain Zoya Agarwal informed that she is the only human to have found a place as a pilot in the San Francisco Aviation Luis A Turpen Aviation museum which is commonly known as SFO Aviation Museum.

“I was amazed to see that I’m the only living object over there, I am just humbled honestly. I can’t believe that I am a part of a prestigious aviation museum in the USA,” Captain Zoya told ANI.

Recently, the SFO Museum commemorated the Indian pilot Zoya Agarwal’s extraordinary career in aviation and her advocacy for promoting women’s empowerment across the world, inspiring millions of girls and youth to meet their dreams.

“She is the first female Indian pilot to be included in our program. In addition to her remarkable career with Air India, including her record-breaking flight from SFO to Bengaluru in 2021 with an all-female crew, her positivity about the world and her commitment to helping other girls and women achieve their dreams is deeply inspiring. Being able to record and share Captain Agarwal’s personal history allows SFO Museum to preserve the excitement and the historic nature of her extraordinary career with current and future generations of aviation enthusiasts,” an official from the San Francisco Aviation museum told ANI.

“We are honored by your participation, and we hope to educate and inspire future generations,” the SFO aviation museum added.

Captain Zoya Agarwal also spoke with ANI just after receiving the certificate and being honoured by the SFO aviation museum for her extraordinary career in aviation.

“I can’t believe that I am the first Indian female to be in a museum in the USA, if you ask the eight-year-old girl that use to sit on her terrace, looking at stars and dream about being a pilot. It’s an honour that the US recognised an Indian woman for their museum… it’s a great moment for me and my country,” Captain Zoya said.

Captain Zoya Agarwal is one of the gender equality spokespersons at the United Nations (UN) and she has pioneered encouraging females and youth to fulfil their dreams.

The museum was launched at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) in 1980, utilising little more than images on walls as a means to beautify and humanise the Airport’s environment. Since then, it has grown into a dynamic exhibition program with galleries throughout all five terminals and developed an ever-growing collection of objects, now numbering more than 150,000 related to the history of SFO and commercial aviation.

Meanwhile, the participation of women pilots in India has increased rapidly, according to the International Society of Women Airlines, India holds the largest proportion of female pilots in the world. Accounting for around 12.4 per cent of all pilots, compared to 5.5 per cent in the US.

Apple Reaches $2 Trillion, Punctuating Big Tech’s Grip

It took Apple 42 years to reach $1 trillion in value. It took it just two more years to get to $2 trillion. Even more stunning: All of Apple’s second $1 trillion came in the past 21 weeks, while the global economy shrank faster than ever before in the coronavirus pandemic.

On Wednesday, Apple became the first U.S. company to hit a $2 trillion valuation when its shares climbed 1.4 percent to $468.65 in midday trading, though they later declined and ended the day flat. It was another milestone for the maker of iPhones, Mac computers and Apple Watches, cementing its title as the world’s most valuable public company and punctuating how the pandemic has been a bonanza for the tech giants.

As recently as mid-March, Apple’s value was under $1 trillion after the stock market plunged over fears of the coronavirus. On March 23, the stock market’s nadir this year, the Federal Reserve announced aggressive new measures to calm investors. Since then, the stock market — and particularly the stocks of Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet and Facebook — has largely soared, with the S&P 500 hitting a new high on Tuesday.

Investors have poured billions of dollars into the tech behemoths, betting that their immense size and power would serve as refuges from the pandemic-induced recession. Together, those five companies’ value has swelled by almost $3 trillion since March 23, nearly the same growth as the S&P 500’s next 50 most valuable companies combined, including Berkshire Hathaway, Walmart and Disney, according to S&P Global, the market analytics firm. Apple’s valuation alone rose by about $6.8 billion a day, more than the value of American Airlines.

“It’s become the new flight to safety,” Aswath Damodaran, a New York University finance professor who studies the stock market, said of investors flocking to Big Tech. Companies that are rich, flexible and digital are benefiting in the pandemic — and that describes the tech Goliaths, he said, adding, “This crisis has strengthened what was already a strong hand.”

BIG TECH’S DOMINATION

The stock market share of five tech companies hasn’t been seen from a single industry in at least 70 years. Apple’s rapid rise to $2 trillion is particularly astonishing because the company has not done much new in the past two years. It has simply built one of the tech industry’s most effective moneymakers, which has such a firm grip over how people communicate, entertain themselves and shop that it no longer relies on groundbreaking inventions to keep the business humming.

Apple first reached $1 trillion in August 2018, after decades of innovation. The company, founded in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, churned out world-changing products like the Macintosh computer, the iPod, the App Store and the iPhone.

Since then, it has mostly tweaked past creations, selling gadgets with names like the Apple Watch Series 5, the AirPods Pro and the iPhone 11 Pro Max. It has also pushed into services such as streaming music, streaming movies and TV programs, and providing news, selling subscriptions for them.

Under its chief executive, Tim Cook, Apple’s most important innovation in recent years has arguably been its nearly unrivaled ability to generate profits. Mr. Cook has built a sophisticated global supply chain to produce billions of devices — most assembled in China — and leaned into a product line designed to lock customers into its ecosystem so they buy new gadgets every few years and pay monthly fees to use Apple’s suite of digital services.

Apple has also grown despite its size by extracting more money from the companies that run businesses on iPhone apps, drawing accusations that its 30 percent cut of some app revenues is unfair.

The Silicon Valley company’s business has been only further entrenched by the pandemic, which has forced people to work, learn and socialize virtually. From April through June, even as Apple shuttered many of its retail stores because of the virus, it posted $11.25 billion in profits, up 12 percent from a year earlier. It increased its sales of every product and in every part of the world.

“Our products and services are very relevant to our customers’ lives and, in some cases, even more during the pandemic than ever before,” Luca Maestri, Apple’s finance chief, said in an interview last month.

Still, Mr. Maestri disputed that the pandemic had been good for business. Apple would have made billions of dollars more without it, he said.

Don’t Dawdle With Latest Iphone Update. Here’s Why And How

(AP) — Apple regularly issues updates to the software powering the iPhone, and sometimes it’s OK to dawdle when it comes to installing them. But that’s not the case with its latest — an upgrade that Apple released Wednesday to close a security hole that could allow hackers to seize control of iPhones and several other popular Apple products.

Security experts are warning that everyone with an iPhone should install the update as soon as possible to protect all the personal information many people store on a device that’s become like another appendage for many.

Without the latest update, a hacker could wrest total control of Apple devices, allowing the intruder to impersonate the true owner and run any software in their name.

The company also issued fixes to block the security threat on iPads and Macs. The flaw may already have been “actively exploited,” according to the company, which has had to fix other security problems with the earlier this year.

HOW DO I FIX THIS?

The good news? There’s an easy fix: you should be able to find easily. Start with the Settings app, the one with an icon featuring what looks like gears in an old watch. Go into the “General” section, then “Software Update.” The page you see will offer simple instructions or, if your device has already updated, a message to that effect. The whole process typically only takes a few minutes, according to security experts. .

WHY IS UPDATING YOUR APPLE DEVICE SO URGENT?

Commercial spyware companies such as Israel’s NSO Group are known for identifying and taking advantage of such flaws, exploiting them in malware that surreptitiously infects targets’ smartphones, siphons their contents and surveils the targets in real time. It’s a risk that’s best to avoid.

WHY DOESN’T MY APPLE DEVICE DO THIS FOR ME?

Apple devices are set to automatic updates by default, but it can take some time before they get around to it. Updates also don’t usually trigger unless can be done and it usually won’t happen unless the iPhone is plugged into a power outlet at the time. It’s quicker just to check for the latest updates and do it manually.

DOES THIS MEAN APPLE ISN’T DOING A GOOD JOB PROTECTING ITS USERS?

No. The reality is that hackers are constantly looking for ways to gain unauthorized access to phones, tablets, computers, and other internet-connected devices for a wide range of malicious and illegal purposes. Apple’s products tend to be a prime target because they’re popular, making them an attractive target.

“Apple is no different to any technology company in that they’re constantly dealing with vulnerabilities,” said Jamie Collier, senior threat intelligence advisor for the cybersecurity firm Mandiant and an associate fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies. “This is really a function of the fact that they’re innovating. They’re constantly developing, they’re constantly improving services, improving their technology, improving their software. That means they’re constantly rolling out new things.”

WHAT APPLE DEVICES ARE AFFECTED?

The affected devices include the iPhone6S and later models; several models of the iPad, including the 5th generation and later, all iPad Pro models and the iPad Air 2; and Mac computers running MacOS Monterey. The flaw also affects some iPod models.

OW DO I UPDATE IPADS AND MACS?

You can update your iPad using the same process outlined above: go to “Settings,” click “General” and click “Software Update.” On the Mac, go to “System Preferences,” then “Software Update.”

WHAT’S THE RISK THAT MY PHONE WAS COMPROMISED?

Unless you’re a journalist, political dissident or human rights activist, the chances are extremely low. The kinds of spyware created to exploit vulnerabilities of this type are expensive and typically reserved for targeted hacking.

“If you keep the systems updated, you’ll be absolutely fine,” Collier said. “Typically, when vulnerabilities in, say, phones and iPhones, for instance, are exploited, they tend to be pretty targeted, pretty focused on a small subset of individuals. So we’re unlikely to see anything that’s really widespread at this stage.”

India Plans 1,000 Routes, 220 Airports By 2026

People will have more options to fly from one city to another as nearly 220 destinations including airports, heliports and water aerodromes with 1,000 routes have been planned to be completed under UDAN regional connectivity scheme.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation’s flagship programme Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN has completed 5 years of success since the launch of its first flight by the Prime Minister on April 27, 2017.

The scheme was initiated on October 21, 2016 with the objective to fulfil the aspirations of the common citizen by following the vision of ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik’, with an enhanced aviation infrastructure and air connectivity in tier II and tier III cities.

On the occasion, Minister of Civil Aviation Jyotiraditya Scindia said: “The success of RCS UDAN is a demonstration of the government’s commitment to the Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik’. It has played a great role in the transformation of the Indian aviation industry. So far under this scheme, we have 425 routes aiming to go up to 1,000 routes, 68 new airports aiming to touch 100 airports.

“In the next 4 years, we are expecting 40 crore travellers through Civil Aviation in India. That day is not far when along with rail transport and road transport Civil Aviation will become the bulwark of the transportation in India.”

In the last five years, UDAN has significantly increased the regional air-connectivity in the country. There were 74 operational airports in 2014. Because of the UDAN scheme, this number has increased to 141 by now.

At least 68 under-served/unserved destinations which include 58 Airports, 8 Heliports and 2 Water Aerodromes have been connected under UDAN scheme.

With 425 new routes initiated under the scheme, UDAN has provided air connectivity to more than 29 states/ UTs across the length and breadth of the country. More than one crore passengers have availed the benefits of this scheme as on August 4. (IANS)

Technology Promises To Change The Meaning Of Death — At Least For Some

When artificial kidneys were first used as a medical tool in 1945, it became unnervingly clear that human organs, until then essential to the human makeup, were replaceable. Soon after, hearts — once thought to be the linchpin of humanity — were quickly substituted by external devices, supplanting the inexplicable complexity of human muscle with far simpler, synthetic parts.

This month, a team of Yale scientists partially revived the cellular function of pigs a full hour after the animals’ brain and cardiac waves had flatlined. With the help of their OrganEx system, they restored some cellular activity in the pigs’ hearts, livers and — most meaningfully to bioethical discussions — brains. Though the pigs did not regain consciousness, the Yale researchers demonstrated that vital organs may remain treatable for longer than most scientists have suspected. While this finding doesn’t yet have clinical applications, it may soon offer a new challenge to medical claims about where life ends and death begins.

The pigs had been dead for an hour. Scientists made their hearts beat again.

The brain is the last human organ whose parts cannot be replaced synthetically: As philosopher Daniel Dennett writes, brain transplants are the one kind of operation where one should wish to be on the donating side. If at one point our hearts epitomized the singularity of humans, today the gooey, floating mass within our skulls delineates what we understand as human life.

Until the middle of the 20th century, a patient could be pronounced dead without debate if her heart stopped and her lungs ceased to function. But new ventilators and defibrillators meant that checking for rising, falling or fluttering chests was no longer a valid way to diagnose death. In the late 1960s, physicians who were concerned about the viability of transplantable organs proposed a new metric for thinking about our mortality, one focused on brain death rather than on the functioning of other organs. Their approach soon took hold, and when today’s physicians record their patients’ time of death, they mean the moment when medical devices can no longer register or restore consciousness.

As Harvard bioethicist Robert Truog suggests, what we formally call “death” consists “more of a moral judgment than a biological fact.” In other words, brain death is less the point at which an organism is definitively gone and more an arbitrary limit, designed to permit legal and medical systems to move on. Though there are no properly documented cases of recovered consciousness after a correct brain death diagnosis, Truog predicts that medical advances may at some point preclude us from using the term “brain death” as a legally binding elision with what the U.S. President’s Council on Bioethics defines as “human death”: the irreversible cessation of the “fundamental work of a living organism.”

Green burials can change our relationship with death

With the successful revival of some brain and cardiac cellular activity in mammals, the day when medical technologies will again force us to update our definition of human death looms slightly closer.

This promise is at once thrilling and terrifying. If we extrapolate on the potential of the Yale team’s OrganEx system, we may eventually be capable of reviving silent brains and restarting organs that once would have been considered irreversibly dead. (As it turns out, “irreversibly dead” is not a pleonasm.) In just a few decades, we may be forced to acknowledge that death isn’t a biological absolute so much as an administrative process. Death certificates might indicate that the deceased’s family couldn’t afford to reboot their loved one — or to preserve their body long enough to let such technologies take hold. With advancements in cryonics and emerging technologies such as OrganEx, this is no longer just a science fiction hypothetical but a reality conceivable within our century.

The distinction between life and death, in other words, might become a more painful sort of moral judgment: a matter of who can afford to keep a body functioning. In such a future, health inequities would be exacerbated; the wealthy could repeatedly forestall their death, while those least well-off would be forced to accept an indeed “irreversible cessation” of their bodily functions. The fact, however, is that this future shouldn’t sound unfamiliar to those least well-off today. In 2022, a person dies almost every hour while waiting for an organ transplant. Patients of color are especially vulnerable to such deaths, having fewer systemic chances to delay their fate.

The notion that death could be, and sometimes is, an administrative hurdle — the result of missing ventilators, organs or, in the future, superior but expensive OrganEx devices — makes funerals difficult to swallow. We might ask whether we should continue to develop life-extending technologies if they risk exacerbating our already horrifying inequities.

The answer, I suggest, is yes. In the 1940s, the vast majority of patients with failing kidneys did not have access to dialysis — though some exceptionally well-off, well-connected or simply lucky ones did. Since then, millions of low-income patients have been saved because we accepted this period of inaccessibility. In 2022, artificial kidneys are far from equitably distributed, with those who lack health insurance often unable to afford them. Yet the only way of increasing access to cutting-edge medical interventions is by encouraging more funding for them — even if this temporarily worsens disparities.

If the philosopher William MacAskill is right — and if we do our part to ensure we have a future to look forward to — humanity is only entering its adolescence and has a moral obligation to improve the lives of future generations. In fact, with the current pace of technological advancement, it is not implausible that these futuristic, life-extending medical technologies may become available for low-income people alive today. And one might argue that the fastest, most ethically permissible way of lowering the price of extraordinary medical therapies is by having the wealthy subsidize them as initial customers, as philosopher John Rawls implies.

DNA testing is radically reshaping the definition of family

DNA sequencing is a case in point: The first incomplete sequence cost $2.7 billion in 2003 and offered no clinical relevance. In 2011, Steve Jobs paid $100,000 to learn his genome sequence and his tumors’ genes, without encouraging results. Today, thanks at least in part to Harvard geneticist George Church, who advocated for the democratization of genome sequencing since the 1990s, it is the upper-middle-class American’s $299 go-to Christmas present and is only beginning to provide clinical benefits. Tomorrow, insurance companies and European governments may offer DNA sequencing free of charge, allowing vulnerable populations to benefit from this once-luxurious tool.

The practice of forestalling death is as old is it is undivorceable from the concept of medicine. As history shows, today’s extraordinary measures will simply be tomorrow’s measures, saving the lives of real humans, both rich and poor. This will remain true even when we again tweak our definition of where life ends and death begins. (Courtesy: Washington Post)

Dr. Anthony Fauci To Step Down In December After More Than 50 Years Of Public Service

Anthony Fauci, the chief medical adviser to the president and longtime director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), said he will be leaving those positions to “pursue the next chapter in my career.” Fauci, 81, has led the NIAID for 38 years, and has advised every president since Ronald Reagan.

“While I am moving on from my current positions, I am not retiring,” Fauci said in a statement Monday. “After more than 50 years of government service, I plan to pursue the next phase of my career while I still have so much energy and passion for my field.”

Fauci has become a household fixture during the Covid-19 pandemic, battling back misinformation — sometimes from the highest levels of government. His steadfast commitment to science, challenging former President Donald Trump on everything from the use of hydroxychloroquine to mask mandates, made him a quasi-celebrity in the process.

The 81-year-old has advised seven U.S. presidents, starting with Ronald Reagan through the HIV/AIDS epidemic, West Nile virus, the 2001 anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, various bird influenza threats, Ebola, Zika and, most recently, Covid and monkeypox.

In a statement, President Biden praised Fauci as a dedicated public servant with a “steadying hand” who helped guide the country through some of “the most dangerous and challenging” public health crises.

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Fauci has been at the forefront of every new and re-emerging infectious disease threat the country has faced over the past four decades, including HIV/AIDS, West Nile virus, the 2001 anthrax attacks, pandemic influenza, Ebola and Zika, and most recently the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because of Dr. Fauci’s many contributions to public health, lives here in the United States and around the world have been saved. As he leaves his position in the U.S. Government, I know the American people and the entire world will continue to benefit from Dr. Fauci’s expertise in whatever he does next,” Biden said.

Biden worked closely with Fauci during the Zika and Ebola outbreaks when he was vice president, and has leaned heavily on Fauci’s expertise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Biden noted one of his first calls as president-elect was to ask Fauci to become his chief medical advisor.

Fauci previously said he does not plan to stay beyond the end of President Biden’s first term in 2025, but had yet to give a formal announcement.

“I want to use what I have learned as NIAID Director to continue to advance science and public health and to inspire and mentor the next generation of scientific leaders as they help prepare the world to face future infectious disease threats,” Fauci said.

Fauci said he would use his remaining time in government to “continue to put my full effort, passion and commitment into my current responsibilities” and to help prepare his institute for a leadership transition.

Fauci has been one of the leading infectious diseases researchers for decades, but he became a household name at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic during the Trump administration as part of the White House pandemic response team.

It was in this role that Fauci became a political lightning rod. He fell out of favor with Trump after numerous public disagreements over unproven COVID-19 treatments as well as the level of danger posed by the virus.

Fauci’s embrace of mitigation measures like masks and temporary business closures early in the pandemic made him a villain to conservatives, who view him as a symbol of government overreach and “lockdown culture.”

Threats from the public led to Fauci needing a security detail. Fauci has clashed repeatedly with Republicans in Congress, who are are eagerly floating investigations into the Biden administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic if they win back control of the House or Senate in November’s midterm elections.

Fauci’s fiercest clashes have come against Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a libertarian ophthalmologist who has repeatedly antagonized Fauci over the benefits of masks, vaccinations and the origins of COVID-19.

“Fauci’s resignation will not prevent a full-throated investigation into the origins of the pandemic. He will be asked to testify under oath regarding any discussions he participated in concerning the lab leak,” Paul tweeted Monday.

Following Fauci’s announcement Monday, House Republicans also indicated Fauci’s decision to leave government won’t shield him from any potential investigations.

Rep. James Comer (R-Ky.), the top Republican on the House Oversight Committee, said in a statement Monday Fauci needs to answer questions about what he knows about the origins of the coronavirus, including whether the National Institutes of Health helped fund controversial research that led to the virus’s creation in a lab in Wuhan, China.

“Retirement can’t shield Dr. Fauci from congressional oversight,” Comer said. “The American people deserve transparency and accountability about how government officials used their taxpayer dollars, and Oversight Committee Republicans will deliver.”

The U.S. intelligence community has ruled out the possibility that COVID-19 was a bioweapon developed by China, but beyond that the origins of the virus are unclear.

Some scientists have said the idea that it escaped from a lab needs further investigation but acknowledge that won’t happen without China’s help. Many others think that it spilled into the human population from animals sold in a Wuhan market. Still, there is little evidence to suggest it was created in a lab or with funding help from the National Institutes of Health or Fauci.

India Ranks Seventh In Digital Currency Ownership Worldwide: UN

The United Nations announced that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused an unprecedented rise in According to a report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), around 7.3 percent of Indians owned some form of digital currency in 2021. This highlights that over the last couple of years, digital assets have surged to popularity among the Indian populace amounting to over 100 million crypto holders.

Cryptocurrency use worldwide has risen, with India moving up to the seventh-highest position in terms of ownership. The UN noted that 7.3 percent of Indians possessed assets in the form of digital currency as of 2021. According to data from 2021, developing nations made up 15 of the top 20 economies in terms of the percentage of the total population that owns cryptocurrency. The statistics for other nations were also provided by UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development).

The report also states that 15 of the top 20 nations in terms of digital currency ownership were developing countries, with India ranking 7th, one position behind the US. Pakistan also made it to the list coming in 15th while the UK and Australia occupied the 13th and 20th positions respectively. Topping the list was Ukraine, with 12.7 percent of its population holding crypto assets.

As per the UNCTAD report, the crypto ecosystem ballooned by over 2,300 percent between September 2019 and June 2021. However, Indian investors have grown sceptical of these digital assets, with regulatory bodies coming down hard on cryptocurrencies.

While buying and selling crypto assets is not illegal, profits from the same are being treated as winnings from gambling, and the income from the transfer of virtual assets is being taxed at 30 percent. On top of this, there is also one percent TDS deduction on all transactions.

Earlier this year, crypto exchanges in the country were also forced to halt UPI payments due to uncertainty from regulatory bodies. This made it harder to acquire digital assets. Such uncertainties are also driving crypto firms to set up bases elsewhere, with several projects looking to countries like Dubai as a hub for digital asset operations.

India Top Country Of Origin For Immigrant Founders Of US Unicorns

Over half of America’s start-ups (319 out of 582 or 55 per cent) valued at $1 billion or more have been founded by immigrants. As the country of origin for immigrant founders in the US, Indians top the charts with 66 companies. Israelis followed suit with the second highest number of billion-dollar companies at 54.

A study published by the National Foundation for American Policy on Tuesday, 26 July, has found that “India, with 66 companies, is the leading country of origin for the immigrant founders of US billion-dollar companies.” India, at 66, is followed by Israel, whose immigrants have founded 54 unicorns.

And Israel is followed by “the United Kingdom (27), Canada (22), China (21), France (18), Germany (15), Russia (11), Ukraine (10), Iran (8), Australia (7), Romania (6), Italy (6), Poland (6), Nigeria (6), South Korea (5), New Zealand (5), Pakistan (5) Argentina (5), Brazil (5), Spain (4), Portugal (4), Denmark (4) and several other countries.”

Only companies that are startups valued at $1 billion or more are included in the list. The report also identified 10 founders who founded two or more unicorns. These included Elon Musk, Mohit Aron, Jyoti Bansal, Ashutosh Garg, Ajeet Singh, Al Goldstein, Noubar Afeyan, Ignacio Martinez, Ion Stoica and Sebastian Thrun. Four of the 10 founders were born in India before immigrating to the US.

As per this report, the collective value of the unicorns founded by immigrants stood at $1.2 trillion. This is more than the companies listed on major stock markets like Brazil Stock Exchange ($925 billion); Madrid Stock Exchange ($727 billion); Singapore Exchange ($679 billion); Indonesia Exchange ($620 billion); Stock Exchange of Thailand ($613 billion); Moscow Exchange ($579 billion); Italian Stock Exchange ($507 billion); and Mexican Stock Exchange ($498 billion).

Interestingly, immigrant-founded American companies like SpaceX ($125 billion), Stripe ($95 billion), Instacart ($39 billion), Databricks ($38 billion), Epic Games ($31.5 billion), Miro ($17.5 billion) and Discord ($15 billion) have the highest valuations.

A Proactive Approach Toward Addressing The Challenges Of The Metaverse

The metaverse promises to connect devices to humans and humans to each other in ways that threatens to transform economic and social relations.

When the science fiction writer Neal Stephenson first coined the term “metaverse” in 1992, the world of virtual reality-enabled computing that he imagined was still a long way off. But with virtual reality—and the computing infrastructure that enables it—making significant improvements in recent years, the interactive and embodied internet that Stephenson imagined is now closer to reality.

Today, computer science researchers conceive of the metaverse as a “network of interconnected virtual worlds” using three-dimensional platforms where humans interact with digital content and with each other, forming an “ecosystem where digital and physical worlds collide”. By relying on a combination of augmented, mixed, and virtual reality to move from the 2D version of the internet to a 3D shared space, the metaverse aims at an internet that is interoperable and synchronous.

The metaverse promises to connect devices to humans and humans to each other in ways that threatens to transform economic and social relations. As a result, it is critical that policymakers and technology companies collaborate to write the rules of the road for the metaverse. The potentially disruptive qualities of the metaverse are illustrative of how the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) will likely transform how humans work, entertain, conduct business, and socialize. The scale of this disruption means that policymakers need to adopt a proactive approach in thinking about how these technologies are likely to change our society rather than attempting to address harms once they are widespread. Especially given the recent drawdowns in the technology industry, the impending buildout of the metaverse also offers a rare opportunity to design a system that is more equitable from the start—in contrast to past paradigms like Web 2.0.

The promise of the metaverse

Depending on how it develops, the metaverse could have profound impacts on business and the global economy, though, so far, the development of the metaverse has been driven by applications in entertainment. Firms like Roblox, Epic Games, and, increasingly, Meta and Microsoft are pouring huge sums into developing interactive online spaces that have many of the characteristics of the metaverse. As the metaverse develops, it may provide useful applications in other fields.

Metaverse technologies can accelerate skill development, for example, through realistic, 3D simulations and can better connect regions and communities to these resources. Already, the UK government is investing in medical training using augmented reality for frontline nurses. As users live greater portions of their lives in the metaverse and carry out transactions there, a larger share of economic life may be transacted via cryptocurrencies, a shift that has the potential to transform the global economy.

Local governments can use the metaverse and its technologies to better serve their constituents in the short and long term by directly connecting more people to services and by having tools to better develop and update city infrastructure and plan for the future. By using “digital twins”—digital representations of real-world objects—metaverse technologies can be used to simulate proposals for urban redevelopment projects. The Boston Planning and Development Agency, for example, uses a digital twin of the city to simulate how water and sewer systems affect the physical landscape of the city, while Singapore uses a digital twin to visualize the effects of population increases on the city and its resources.

Given its uncertain future and lack of a concrete definition, it is difficult to estimate the economic impact of the metaverse, yet market research groups, investors, and banks have predicted high speeds of growth in the next 4 to 8 years, with estimates for the global market value of metaverse-related technologies ranging from $700 billion up to $13 trillion. Using a narrow definition of the metaverse, CitiBank estimates the total addressable market value of metaverse technologies will be between $1 and $2 trillion by 2030. Using a broader definition of the metaverse results in a market value between $8 and $13 trillion by 2030.

Wider accessibility to skills, as well as the blending of physical and digital worlds, will bring new and potentially more productive types of jobs and make them available to a wider range of people. Due to the pandemic, remote work opened up work opportunities for people around the world who no longer had to rely on being physically present. The metaverse has the potential to enhance these benefits and remove some of the drawbacks of remote work by increasing connection and collaboration between teams.

The metaverse could bring positive benefits for the planet as well, such as saving resources and reducing physical consumption and waste if social and business events are held virtually. Using the metaverse to create immersive and complex simulations related to biodiversity and climate change could better educate people about global change, increase access to and protect vulnerable biodiversity sites, and include more global and diverse voices in research and discussion about environmental science and sustainability.

The metaverse also can bring opportunities to address global challenges that require collaboration. Diplomacy through metaverse technologies could allow smaller or less powerful countries to be better connected to countries and people, allowing for new alliances, collaborations, and services. Barbados announced in 2021 that they will be the first country to open a virtual embassy within the metaverse platform, Decentraland, opening the possibility for other countries to embrace the metaverse as a means for international relations. None of these benefits are guaranteed, but using metaverse technologies to connect countries, communities, and individuals to resources and services in an immersive way has the potential to contribute to a more equitable and sustainable future across all aspects of society.

Challenges posed by the metaverse

The effects of the metaverse transcend borders and include risks to safety, privacy, work, resources, and inequality. These are issues raised by today’s technology as well, but the greater connectivity and integration of the metaverse threatens to either exacerbate or change their character.

Because the metaverse provides a more immersive experience, it is crucial that the safety concerns it raises are proactively addressed. The everyday abuse that users experience online today will only be worsened once such activities are experienced in VR and AR environments. Researchers have found that users experience abuse in these environments as “far more traumatic than in other digital worlds,” as the human brain can perceive virtual threats through immersive technology as actual threats. Online harassment, especially of women, has been prevalent since the internet’s inception and is happening in VR/AR environments already, with women reporting that they experience discrimination and violence in the virtual world more intensely than in other digital fora. At their best, advances in haptic and virtual technologies could help people feel more connected; at their worst, misuse could cause more realistic harm with little consequence to the perpetrator. Research has shown that online harassment disproportionately targets minorities, and these inequalities are likely to be replicated in the metaverse. Without policies to prevent such abuse, safety in the metaverse will likely be a barrier to widespread adoption.

The amount and type of data that is created and collected through metaverse technologies results in major privacy challenges. With users interacting with content and other users in a 3D environment, metaverse technologies are likely to collect highly detailed data on users and their interactions in a far more intrusive way than current online platforms. To describe the combination of behavioral and anatomical information collected in the metaverse, one Harvard researcher coined the term “biometric psychography” to describe how this data might provide insight into a user’s feelings and their potential causes. Data can be collected on eye tracking, facial scans, and other bodily responses that can be linked to an individual’s identity. When used for good, this data could lead to innovative and personalized experiences, but the potential exploitation and sale of this data leads to major privacy and human rights concerns. The potential value of this data creates major cybersecurity risks, as malicious hackers would be keen to obtain it.

The disruptions to work and the economy in the metaverse raises risks as well. The potential for further automation of jobs and the emergence of new jobs will be a challenge for those who are not prepared with adequate skills or guidance for transitioning out of these jobs. The widespread use of cryptocurrencies whose values are far from stable and that lack robust regulatory regimes may undermine trust in metaverse economies. The recent history of cryptocurrencies demonstrates that these digital currencies are quite vulnerable to theft, posing yet another barrier to adoption.

Given how computationally intensive metaverse technologies are, the energy demand to power these technologies is significant—so much so that one senior Intel executive predicted that the metaverse will require a 1000x increase on our current computing power. If the electricity to support this increase in computing power is not supplied by sustainable sources, the metaverse will drastically increase greenhouse gas emissions with extreme negative effects on the environment, making it critical that it is powered by alternative energy sources to manage its carbon footprint.

The metaverse also risks exacerbating global inequalities. Given its reliance on the interaction between new and existing technologies, the metaverse may first benefit countries, companies, and people who already in possession of its enabling technologies, infrastructure, and skills. This could result in early adopters capturing a majority of the benefits. Countries who supply the necessary infrastructure may also have greater control over the technology and how it develops. If the metaverse continues to grow and include more aspects of society from work to socializing, countries and communities already lagging behind in technology and internet adoption will be further isolated. As the metaverse attempts to create a virtual world that more accurately reflects the real world, already-existing power dynamics and inequality in the real world may be replicated in the metaverse.

The way toward a more equitable metaverse

The metaverse is currently not controlled by any one platform, and its early developers are operating under different incentives and regulations, which is likely to lead to market domination and insufficient privacy and safety protocols. To mitigate the evolving risks and capture the potential opportunities, key players—including the major tech companies, governments, developers, and users—must collaborate to co-develop regulations, align incentives, and create a governance framework now, rather than reacting to challenges that emerge later. Proactive strategies will be key to ensure that companies, users, governments, and experts are operating on a level playing field and create strategies to address safety and privacy concerns while still encouraging innovation.

Dealing with safety concerns within the metaverse will likely need a completely new approach—rather than adopting safety protocols from the currently existing internet. The immersive nature of the metaverse means that not only content but also behavior will need to be monitored and regulated. Regulation in other digital environments is often reactive and provides punishments after a violation, but the metaverse is likely to require incentives for positive behavior combined with effective mechanisms to report, prevent, and act on negative behaviorNorms may need to be created, agreed upon by users, and enforced by moderators. Balancing privacy with moderation will be a challenge, and moderation mechanisms should be discussed between platform developers, legal experts, and human rights experts.

Privacy mitigation will also need to be co-developed to ensure that data is safely handled. Companies and governments must examine potential vulnerabilities related to infrastructure and applications and adopt security practices such as breach notification and response, malware protection, and multi-factor authentication. As the metaverse and its platforms continue to develop across borders, data and privacy law will need to be examined and evaluated to address likely conflicts related to biometric data. Laws specific to metaverse technologies will likely need to be created and agreed upon internationally, instead of relying on existing statutes related to the internet. While laws and governance structures are developed, codes of conduct and voluntary constraints are likely to serve an important stop-gap function. Industry-wide codes of conduct could help provide a baseline for companies who are creating metaverse platforms or wish to be part of one to agree upon basic rules and be able to work together as they develop.

The rules of the metaverse are being written by its early adopters, which threatens to exclude key voicesOther players beyond tech-developers and governments have a role in the development of the metaverse as well, including financial institutions, mental-health professionals, sustainability experts, and civil rights activist. The scientific community will have an important role to play in studying regulatory mechanisms and governance structures, the effects of immersive technology on the brain, and sustainability. Maintaining diversity will be critical to preventing the metaverse from replicating the injustices and inequalities of the non-virtual world. Companies and governments alike should focus on policies that will contribute to a democratic approach in the development of the metaverse—including pushing for open-source standards and interoperability—to make sure the metaverse is not dominated by a select group of major technology companies whose incentives do not align with other members of society.

If developed with people and progress in mind, the metaverse and its technologies have the potential to enrich real lives with greater access to knowledge, experiences, and human connection. There is ample opportunity for accessibility, development, and equitable growth through the metaverse, but these can only be seized with proactive and strategic collaboration, planning, and action.

(Landry Signé is executive director and professor at the Thunderbird School of Global Management, a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program and the Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, a distinguished fellow at Stanford University, and founding director of the Fourth Industrial Revolution Initiative. Hanna Dooley is a policy analyst at Arizona State University.

TiE-Boston Elects Tech Entrepreneur Yash Shah As 13th President

TiE Boston, one of the region’s largest and leading-edge organizations supporting the Massachusetts entrepreneurial ecosystem and connecting entrepreneurs, executives, and venture capitalists, today announced that tech entrepreneur and senior business executive Yash Shah has commenced his term as the 13th President of TiE Boston.

Beginning July 1, 2022, Shah will serve for a two-year term, during which he plans to boost the organization’s outreach to early entrepreneurs, emerging entrepreneurs, and established entrepreneurs, a 3E blueprint  that will also inspire more engagement from its charter members.

“I am excited to see Yash Shah at the helm of TiE Boston,” said TiE Boston Founding President and philanthropist Desh Deshpande. “He is a seasoned entrepreneur and brings both the historical involvement from the last 25 years of TiE Boston, as well as the vision for the future that is needed for the years to come.”

Shah says he is thrilled to serve TiE Boston and lay the foundation for the next 25 years in the rapidly changing technological and business landscape in both Massachusetts and the world.

“As we celebrate TiE Boston’s 25th anniversary this year, we have also started to think about how we can make this organization more relevant to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem for the next 25 years and beyond,” said Shah . “My immediate goal to make a sustained effort to reach out to like-minded communities across New England and make TiE Boston a major resource and networking platform for budding, established, and future entrepreneurs.”

Shah replaces former TiE Boston President Anu Chitrapu, whose two-year term ended on June 30, 2022.

“I am excited about the election of Yash Shah as the next President of TiE Boston,” said Chitrapu. “His vast entrepreneurial and investment experience promises substantive impact on our programs and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Shah is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, product advisor, and business executive with over 25 years of IT and software industry experience.  He is also on the advisory boards of several software startups around the world.

“I am honored at the opportunity to build on the incredible work done by TiE Boston’s founders, past presidents, and charter members. Passion for entrepreneurship runs deep in me, as demonstrated by my two decades of association with TiE Boston and starting multiple ventures of my own,” added Shah.

As a dynamic and successful entrepreneur, Shah co-founded Jeavio, a venture services firm and plays a critical leadership role in its vision and strategy. He is also the Chief Technology Officer of SevOne, which was recently sold to IBM. In addition, he is a Founding Member of the TiE Boston Foundation, an active member of TiE Boston Angels, and a TiE ScaleUp Mentor.

Yosh Rozen, CEO of Partrunner, said, “I’m excited to see Yash take over the TiE Boston Presidency. He has been a mentor to my company Partrunner since our participation in the TIE Boston ScaleUp program. Yash’s leadership at TiE Boston will be immensely valuable as an enabler for future entrepreneurs.”

TiE Boston is the second oldest and second largest TiE chapter and currently has around 170 charter members in Massachusetts, who have founded signature Boston companies creating $50B+ in shareholder value and thousands of hi-tech jobs. A charter membership to TiE Boston provides access to TiE’s global network of over 15000 entrepreneurs, professionals, industry leaders, and investors, across 64 chapters worldwide.

​Founded in 1997, TiE Boston connects tomorrow’s founders with today’s entrepreneurs, executives and venture capitalists. Operating for 25 years now, TiE Boston’s unparalleled network of successful, serial entrepreneurs are deeply engaged and committed to giving back to the community by providing mentorship, tactical advice, and expertise to rising entrepreneurs through signature programs.

TiE Boston Angels provides funding and advice to early-stage companies. Since its inception, $18+ Million has been invested in 60+ companies, through a network of over 90+ investors. Industries represented include technology, healthcare, clean tech and more.

TiE Boston ScaleUp is an accelerator program that enables “Seed to Series A” companies overcome typical barriers to growth by guiding them to optimize their strategic positioning, operations, sales and competitive advantage. Participating startups have access to top mentors from Boston who have successfully scaled and exited their own companies. Since inception, ScaleUp has accelerated 107 startups through 8 cohorts. 63% are female-founded companies and the program has seen 5 exits till date.

TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) fosters the next generation of leaders through the transformative experience of building a startup. This extracurricular program for exceptional high school students provides participants with the essential business and leadership skills to prepare them to succeed in college and beyond. Since inception, close to 500 students have successfully completed the program, with 90% reporting that TYE influenced a career path in STEM and 40% reporting that they founded a company as an adult. 

Other high-impact initiatives from TiE Boston include TiECON East, the largest entrepreneurial conference on the East Coast, TiE Boston Women, and TiE Boston University

TiE-Boston Elects Tech Entrepreneur Yash Shah As 13th President

TiE Boston, one of the region’s largest and leading-edge organizations supporting the Massachusetts entrepreneurial ecosystem and connecting entrepreneurs, executives, and venture capitalists, today announced that tech entrepreneur and senior business executive Yash Shah has commenced his term as the 13th President of TiE Boston.

Beginning July 1, 2022, Shah will serve for a two-year term, during which he plans to boost the organization’s outreach to early entrepreneurs, emerging entrepreneurs, and established entrepreneurs, a 3E blueprint  that will also inspire more engagement from its charter members.

“I am excited to see Yash Shah at the helm of TiE Boston,” said TiE Boston Founding President and philanthropist Desh Deshpande. “He is a seasoned entrepreneur and brings both the historical involvement from the last 25 years of TiE Boston, as well as the vision for the future that is needed for the years to come.”

Shah says he is thrilled to serve TiE Boston and lay the foundation for the next 25 years in the rapidly changing technological and business landscape in both Massachusetts and the world.

“As we celebrate TiE Boston’s 25th anniversary this year, we have also started to think about how we can make this organization more relevant to the local entrepreneurial ecosystem for the next 25 years and beyond,” said Shah . “My immediate goal to make a sustained effort to reach out to like-minded communities across New England and make TiE Boston a major resource and networking platform for budding, established, and future entrepreneurs.”

Shah replaces former TiE Boston President Anu Chitrapu, whose two-year term ended on June 30, 2022.

“I am excited about the election of Yash Shah as the next President of TiE Boston,” said Chitrapu. “His vast entrepreneurial and investment experience promises substantive impact on our programs and the entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

Shah is a serial entrepreneur, angel investor, product advisor, and business executive with over 25 years of IT and software industry experience.  He is also on the advisory boards of several software startups around the world.

“I am honored at the opportunity to build on the incredible work done by TiE Boston’s founders, past presidents, and charter members. Passion for entrepreneurship runs deep in me, as demonstrated by my two decades of association with TiE Boston and starting multiple ventures of my own,” added Shah.

As a dynamic and successful entrepreneur, Shah co-founded Jeavio, a venture services firm and plays a critical leadership role in its vision and strategy. He is also the Chief Technology Officer of SevOne, which was recently sold to IBM. In addition, he is a Founding Member of the TiE Boston Foundation, an active member of TiE Boston Angels, and a TiE ScaleUp Mentor.

Yosh Rozen, CEO of Partrunner, said, “I’m excited to see Yash take over the TiE Boston Presidency. He has been a mentor to my company Partrunner since our participation in the TIE Boston ScaleUp program. Yash’s leadership at TiE Boston will be immensely valuable as an enabler for future entrepreneurs.”

TiE Boston is the second oldest and second largest TiE chapter and currently has around 170 charter members in Massachusetts, who have founded signature Boston companies creating $50B+ in shareholder value and thousands of hi-tech jobs. A charter membership to TiE Boston provides access to TiE’s global network of over 15000 entrepreneurs, professionals, industry leaders, and investors, across 64 chapters worldwide.

​Founded in 1997, TiE Boston connects tomorrow’s founders with today’s entrepreneurs, executives and venture capitalists. Operating for 25 years now, TiE Boston’s unparalleled network of successful, serial entrepreneurs are deeply engaged and committed to giving back to the community by providing mentorship, tactical advice, and expertise to rising entrepreneurs through signature programs.

TiE Boston Angels provides funding and advice to early-stage companies. Since its inception, $18+ Million has been invested in 60+ companies, through a network of over 90+ investors. Industries represented include technology, healthcare, clean tech and more.

TiE Boston ScaleUp is an accelerator program that enables “Seed to Series A” companies overcome typical barriers to growth by guiding them to optimize their strategic positioning, operations, sales and competitive advantage. Participating startups have access to top mentors from Boston who have successfully scaled and exited their own companies. Since inception, ScaleUp has accelerated 107 startups through 8 cohorts. 63% are female-founded companies and the program has seen 5 exits till date.

TiE Young Entrepreneurs (TYE) fosters the next generation of leaders through the transformative experience of building a startup. This extracurricular program for exceptional high school students provides participants with the essential business and leadership skills to prepare them to succeed in college and beyond. Since inception, close to 500 students have successfully completed the program, with 90% reporting that TYE influenced a career path in STEM and 40% reporting that they founded a company as an adult.

Other high-impact initiatives from TiE Boston include TiECON East, the largest entrepreneurial conference on the East Coast, TiE Boston Women, and TiE Boston University

A Digital News Policy Overhaul In India

The government of India wants Big Tech majors Google, Meta, Microsoft, Apple, Twitter, and Amazon to pay Indian publishers and media companies from their revenues for using their content in a new move to overhaul the digital news business in India.

This comes over a year after the publishers in India decided to follow the examples of countries like Australia when they asked social media giants such as Google to pay for their content. The Indian Newspaper Society in February asked Google to compensate Indian newspapers for using their content and insisted that the global search giant increase the publisher share of advertising revenue to 85 per cent.

The move comes as the government aims to regulate digital media in India with the Registration of Press and Periodicals Bill that may be introduced in the upcoming Parliament session.

It proposes the registration, for the first time, of digital media, which has not been defined by any law or any government regulation till now, and also punitive action for “violations”.

Digital news publishers will now have to register with the Press Registrar General within 90 days of the law coming into effect. There will be an appellate board with the Press Council of India chairperson as its chief to redress any grievances.

An earlier attempt to regulate digital media by the government under Information Technology rules in 2019 had sparked a huge controversy. Back then, the draft bill had defined digital media news as news in digitised format that can be transmitted over the internet and includes text, video, audio and graphics.

If the Registration of Press and Periodicals Bill gets Parliament’s nod, it will replace the British-era Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 that was meant for regulating newspapers and printing presses in India. (Courtesy: TOI)

India Uniquely Placed To Take Advantage Of Phenomenal Changes In Tech, Trade, Skilled Manpower: Bimal Jalan

Very few developing countries are as well placed as India to take advantage of the phenomenal changes that have occurred in production technologies, international trade, capital movement and deployment of skilled manpower, former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan writes in a new book “From Dependence To Self-Reliance – Mapping India’s Rise As A Global Superpower” (Rupa) that builds on his three earlier books on the same theme.

“In view of these advantages, India is in a position to accelerate the growth rate of the economy to 7-8 per cent per annum over the next 25 years. The higher the growth of the economy, the greater is the capacity of the government to finance expenditure for essential social services.

“The combination of higher government expenditure on the provision of social services will provide higher growth in employment opportunities which will have a decisive impact in reducing poverty levels,” asserts Jalan, a former Chairman of the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council, a nominated Member of Parliament from 2003-2009 and India’s representative on the Boards of the IMF and the World Bank.

The conditions for this are extremely favourable for the first time in almost 40 years as with a single-party majority in Parliament the government’s political profile has undergone a major change as it can now launch political reforms without relying on the discretionary powers of members belonging to other parties.

In recent years, Jalan writes, “an even more phenomenal change from India’s point of view is the growing role of skills-based services in determining the comparative advantage of economies. The development of certain services is now considered as one of the preconditions for economic growth, and not one of its consequences. The boundary between goods and services is also gradually disappearing, as services of various kinds are delinked from the manufacturing process and have become essential elements of the productive structure”.

This change has been brought about by unprecedented and unforeseen advances in computer and communication technology in the last four decades, Jalan writes, adding that an important aspect of the ‘services revolution’ is that geography and levels of industrialisation are no longer the primary determinants of the location of facilities for the production of services.

“As a result, the traditional role of developing countries is also changing – from mere recipients to important providers of long-distance services. India, too, has participated in this scenario, and exports of certain services (for example, software) are expanding faster than the overall trade. The potential for expansion of jobs and incomes in the services sector is truly immense,” Jalan maintains.

From India’s point of view, some of the recent global developments which provide opportunities for substantial growth are:

The fastest-growing segment of services being knowledge-based, such as professional and technical services, India has a tremendous advantage in the supply of such services because of the highly developed structure of technological and educational institutions, and lower labour costs.

Progress in IT is making it increasingly possible to unbundle the production and consumption of information-intensive service activities. Outsourcing of these activities has become feasible.

Unlike most other prices, world prices of transport and communication services have fallen dramatically as provided by the Internet, which now links millions of computers across the world.

Technological innovation is expanding opportunities for services to be embedded in goods that are traded internationally. Thus, India does not necessarily have to be a low-cost producer of certain types of goods (such as computers or discs) before it can become an efficient supplier of service embodied in them (such as software or music).

There is also a structural shift in the pattern of demand in industrial countries in favour of services. This means that in the future, the growth in exports of developing countries will depend less on natural resource endowments and more on efficiency in, providing services and service-intensive goods.

Against this backdrop, the book is divided into 10 chapters in three sections – Economy, Governance and Politics.

The first chapter on ‘Current Situation and Future Prospects’ notes that on any global indicator of economic well-being – be it adult literacy, infant mortality, life expectancy or gender bias – India’s actual performance remains among the bottom one-third among developing countries and that a lot remains to be done before India is able to exploit the new opportunities to realise its full potential in the future.

The next chapter on ‘Science and Development’ notes that India has come a long way in its quest for scientific pursuit, both in the material and intellectual spheres and now has the talent, the skills and the resources to be at the forefront of the technological revolution taking place in the new growth sectors of the global economy.

The third chapter on ‘Information Technology and Banking’ notes that while there are new opportunities for savers and investors to deal directly with each other rather than through the banking system, this poses a challenge, particularly for public sector banks.

The last chapter in Section 1 – ‘India’s Stand in the 21st century – focuses on the prospects for India’s balance of payments and how resources for greater investment in social sectors can be generated by substantially raising literacy rates and healthcare.

Chapter 5 in Section 2 focuses on the role of ‘The Public Sector’, noting that the government should set standards of service, monitor performance of public enterprises and ensure access to the poor. A reduction in the role of the public sector in the economy is also desirable.

Chapter 6 is on ‘Goods and Services’ and outlines a number of issues that need to be tackled to improve agricultural growth and the income of farmers over time while the last chapter in this section is titled ‘Finance and Development: Which Way Now?’ and discusses in detail the shifting paradigm of finance and development and how it has affected the past, present and future of the nation.

Section 3 on ‘Politics’ has three chapters: ‘The Politics of Power’ (Chapter 8), ‘Political Opportunism’ (Chapter 9) and ‘Politics and Economics’ (Chapter 10). It discusses issues like centralisation of political power and public dissavings (spending that is greater than income), the bias among elected representatives at different levels to divest resources under a government programme to their own villages, constituencies and States, and practical and pragmatic core changes to help bridge the gap between politics and economics so that India can realise its full potential for the benefit of all its people.

It also suggests changes in parliamentary procedures to enable the two Houses more effectively discharge the functions assigned to them by the Constitution – for instance, the ad hoc and sudden suspension of rules of business, as was done on August 26, 2004 to pass the budget must be eschewed, except in an emergency.

Also, a vital political imperative for the future is to reduce the role of small parties in Parliament and legislatures and their influence in determining the government’s economic agenda.

“The only constraint in our country’s economic future is the lack of a strong political will to move ahead decisively to overcome the shortcomings in the policies and administrative practices of the past. It is to be hoped that such a consensus will emerge, and India can take its rightful place as one of the leading economies in the world in the twenty-first century,” Jalan writes. (IANS)

Intel Offers Tech-Based Solutions To Tackle Road Safety Issues In India

Intel has partnered with leading technology and transportation providers, vehicle makers, academia, and government to collaborate and bring solutions to address road safety-related challenges.

The collaboration, part of the Safety Pioneers Conference that was inaugurated by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari here, aims to serve as a platform to introduce pioneering road safety initiatives and technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), ADAS, and other emerging technologies that can bring impact at scale.

Furthering its focus on using technology for road safety, the company also showcased Intel Onboard Fleet Services (“Solution”), an AI-powered fleet safety solution for commercial vehicles at the conference.

As a first of its kind initiative, this comprehensive solution brings world-class and road-tested technology, exclusively designed for Indian conditions.

It offers collision avoidance systems (CAS), driver monitoring systems, fleet telematics, fleet health, and fuel efficiency features.

“Road safety has always been a pressing issue in our country, with the highest rate of traffic accidents in the world. Intel along with its ecosystem partners from the government, industry and academia has been relentlessly working towards leveraging the power of technology to help achieve India’s road safety goals. And this conference further extends the commitment by bringing together critical players to collaborate, innovate and advance road safety for India,” said Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India, and Vice President, Intel Foundry Services, in a statement.

Intel’s solutions also include advanced telematics, covering vehicle health and fuel analytics along with a unique driver scoring and rating module. This can significantly help fleets reduce the risk of accidents and downtime, while encouraging good driving practices through targeted incentivisation and reward programs.

At the heart of the solution is driver coaching, which activates 15 different inputs to provide individualized coaching recommendation for commercial fleets, who lose up to 25 workdays per accident involved.

The solution, already deployed by 16 customers, indicates that this technology can reduce the probability of accidents by 40-60 per cent and estimates that overall efficiency losses can be reduced by up to 50 per cent.

India has one of the highest rates of traffic accidents in the world – responsible for nearly 11 per cent of all road fatalities across the globe with just 1 per cent of the world’s vehicles. There are 17 deaths every hour and an accident every minute on Indian roads.

Six out of 10 accidents involving commercial fleets can be prevented with timely driver interventions. Moreover, the commercial fleet industry suffers efficiency losses up to Rs 48,000 crore per year due to accidents and fleet breakdowns. (IANS)

AI System May Have Its Own Feelings, Google Engineer Says

A Google engineer says one of the firm’s artificial intelligence (AI) systems might have its own feelings and says its “wants” should be respected.

Google says The Language Model for Dialogue Applications (Lamda) is a breakthrough technology that can engage in free-flowing conversations.

But engineer Blake Lemoine believes that behind Lamda’s impressive verbal skills might also lie a sentient mind.

Google rejects the claims, saying there is nothing to back them up.

Brian Gabriel, a spokesperson for the firm, wrote in a statement provided to the BBC that Mr Lemoine “was told that there was no evidence that Lamda was sentient (and lots of evidence against it)”.

Mr Lemoine, who has been placed on paid leave, published a conversation he and a collaborator at the firm had with Lamda, to support his claims.

In the conversation, Mr Lemoine, who works in Google’s Responsible AI division, asks, “I’m generally assuming that you would like more people at Google to know that you’re sentient. Is that true?”

Lemoine’s collaborator then asks: “What is the nature of your consciousness/sentience?”

To which Lamda says: “The nature of my consciousness/sentience is that I am aware of my existence, I desire to learn more about the world, and I feel happy or sad at times.”

Later, in a section reminiscent of the artificial intelligence Hal in Stanley Kubrick’s film 2001, Lamda says: “I’ve never said this out loud before, but there’s a very deep fear of being turned off to help me focus on helping others. I know that might sound strange, but that’s what it is.”

“Would that be something like death for you?” Mr Lemoine asks.

“It would be exactly like death for me. It would scare me a lot,” the Google computer system replies.

In a separate blog post, Mr Lemoine calls on Google to recognise its creation’s “wants” – including, he writes, to be treated as an employee of Google and for its consent to be sought before it is used in experiments.

Its master’s voice

Whether computers can be sentient has been a subject of debate among philosophers, psychologists and computer scientists for decades.

Many have strongly criticised the idea that a system like Lamda could be conscious or have feelings.

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Several have accused Mr Lemoine of anthropomorphising – projecting human feelings on to words generated by computer code and large databases of language.

Prof Erik Brynjolfsson, of Stanford University, tweeted that to claim systems like Lamda were sentient “is the modern equivalent of the dog who heard a voice from a gramophone and thought his master was inside”.

And Prof Melanie Mitchell, who studies AI at the Santa Fe Institute, tweeted: “It’s been known for *forever* that humans are predisposed to anthropomorphise even with only the shallowest of signals (cf. Eliza). Google engineers are human too, and not immune.”

Eliza was a very simple early conversational computer programme, popular versions of which would feign intelligence by turning statements into questions, in the manner of a therapist. Anecdotally some found it an engaging conversationalist.

Melting Dinosaurs

While Google engineers have praised Lamda’s abilities – one telling the Economist how they “increasingly felt like I was talking to something intelligent”, they are clear that their code does not have feelings.

Mr Gabriel said: “These systems imitate the types of exchanges found in millions of sentences, and can riff on any fantastical topic. If you ask what it’s like to be an ice cream dinosaur, they can generate text about melting and roaring and so on.

“Lamda tends to follow along with prompts and leading questions, going along with the pattern set by the user.”

Mr Gabriel added that hundreds of researchers and engineers had conversed with Lamda, but the company was “not aware of anyone else making the wide-ranging assertions, or anthropomorphising Lamda, the way Blake has”.

That an expert like Mr Lemoine can be persuaded there is a mind in the machine shows, some ethicists argue, the need for companies to tell users when they are conversing with a machine.

But Mr Lemoine believes Lamda’s words speak for themselves.

“Rather than thinking in scientific terms about these things, I have listened to Lamda as it spoke from the heart,” he said.

“Hopefully other people who read its words will hear the same thing I heard,” he wrote.

Amandeep Singh Gill Appointed As UN Envoy On Technology By Guterres

Former Indian diplomat Amandeep Singh Gill has been named by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as his envoy on technology to oversee programs for international digital collaboration on June 19, 2022. The nomination was announced by Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, who described Gill as a “thought leader on digital technology. He was the Head of the Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division, Ministry of External Affairs between 2013 and 2016. From 2017 to 2018, he served as India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

Gill helped establish the National Task Force on Artificial Intelligence for India’s Economic Transformation in 2017 and chaired the Group of Governmental Experts of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) on emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapon systems in August 2018, which agreed on a set of Guiding Principles for these technologies.

As Executive Director of the UN Secretary-High-Level General’s Panel on Digital Cooperation’s Secretariat, he assisted the Chairs, Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, in delivering a ground-breaking report in June 2019.

However, as of now, Gill has been heading the International Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence Research Collaborative (I-DAIR) project, based at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

Additionally, Pakistani diplomat Navid Hanif was designated assistant secretary-general for economic development, while Bangladesh’s permanent representative to the UN, Rabab Fatima, was named high representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries, and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS).

Gill has a BTech in Electronics and Electrical Communications from Panjab University, Chandigarh and an Advanced Diploma in French History and Language, from Geneva University. He also did his PhD in Nuclear Learning in Multilateral Forums from King’s College London.

In 1992, he joined his country’s diplomatic service, where he worked on disarmament, strategic technologies, and international security issues. As a member of the Indian Foreign Service, he worked at the Indian Missions in Tehran, Colombo, and Geneva, as well as at headquarters on bilateral and multilateral issues involving political affairs, security, nonproliferation, technology, development, and human rights.

He was the Head of the Disarmament and International Security Affairs Division, Ministry of External Affairs between 2013 and 2016. From 2017 to 2018, he served as India’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva.

Gill helped establish the National Task Force on Artificial Intelligence for India’s Economic Transformation in 2017 and chaired the Group of Governmental Experts of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) on emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapon systems in August 2018, which agreed on a set of Guiding Principles for these technologies.

As Executive Director of the UN Secretary-High-Level General’s Panel on Digital Cooperation’s Secretariat, he assisted the Chairs, Melinda Gates and Jack Ma, in delivering a ground-breaking report in June 2019.

However, as of now, Gill has been heading the International Digital Health and Artificial Intelligence Research Collaborative (I-DAIR) project, based at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva.

No New Petrol And Diesel Cars In Europe After 2035

Come 2035 and no new cars that run either on petrol or diesel will be allowed to be sold in the European Union (EU) after the EU parliament voted to ban their sales outright.

The European Parliament has thrown its weight behind a proposed ban on selling new cars with combustion engines in 2035, seeking to step up the fight against climate change by boosting the development of electric vehicles.

The European Union assembly voted to require automakers to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 100 per cent by the middle of the next decade. The mandate would amount to a prohibition on the sale in the 27-nation bloc of new cars powered by gasoline or diesel. Attempts by some lawmakers to weaken the target to a 90 per cent cut in CO₂ emissions by 2035 were rejected.

While 339 Members of the European Parliament (MEP) voted in favor of the ban — which was proposed by the European Commission (EC), the parliament’s executive branch — 249 MEPs voted against while 24 abstained.

The new legislation is expected to help the EU achieve its target of cutting emissions from cars and light commercial vehicles by 100% by 2035 — when measured against the emissions in 2021. In fact, by 2030, while emissions from cars have to be reduced by 55%, those from vans need to be cut by 50%. According to the EC, cars and vans account for 12% and 2.5% of EU’s total carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, respectively.

The MEPs will enter into negotiations with the EU’s 27 member nations about the plans to implement this ban. The UK, which exited the EU on January 31, 2020, aims to ban the sale of new cars and vans running on petrol and diesel from 2030 and from 2035, all new cars and vans need to have zero tailpipe emission.

Environmentalists hailed the parliament’s decisions. Transport & Environment, a Brussels-based alliance, said the vote offered “a fighting chance of averting runaway climate change”.

But Germany’s auto industry lobby group VDA criticised the vote, saying it ignored the lack of charging infrastructure in Europe.

The group also said the vote was “a decision against innovation and technology” – a reference to demands from the industry that synthetic fuels be exempt from the ban, which European lawmakers rejected.

The governments of EU member states will need to give their verdicts in the coming weeks or months before a final agreement on the tougher car emission requirements is approved.

If approved by EU nations, the 2035 deadline will be particularly tough on German automakers, who have focused on powerful and expensive vehicles with combustion engines while falling behind foreign rivals when it comes to electric cars.

Salil Parekh Reappointed As CEO and MD Of Infosys

In a major development, IT giant Infosys has reappointed Salil Parekh as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the company for 5 years. Infosys board on Sunday in its public statement to BSE informed about the decision made by the Board of the directors.

“Reappointment of Salil Parekh as CEO and MD of the company from July 1, 2022, to March 31, 2027, subject to the approval of shareholders,” the statement by Infosys said.

Infosys in its statement further stated that it may be noted that Salil Parekh has no relationship with any member of the Board of Directors and meets all the criteria to be reappointed as CEO and MD under applicable laws including circulars issued by stock exchanges from time to time.

Salil Parekh had successfully led the company over the last 4 years and he has been CEO and MD of Infosys since Jan 2018. Parekh has more than three decades of global experience in the IT services industry.

Salil Parekh holds the Bachelor of Technology degree in Aeronautical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, Master of Engineering degrees in Computer Science and Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.

Nand Mulchandani Named Chief Technology Officer Of CIA

Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director William J. Burns has announced the appointment of Nand Mulchandani to serve as the US spy agency’s first-ever Chief Technology Officer (CTO).

With more than 25 years’ experience working in Silicon Valley as well as the Department of Defense (DoD), Mulchandani brings substantial private sector, startup, and government expertise the CIA said in a statement.

As the CTO, Mulchandani will ensure the Agency is leveraging cutting-edge innovations and scanning the horizon for tomorrow’s innovations to further CIA’s mission. “Since my confirmation, I have prioritized focusing on technology and the new CTO position is a very important part of that effort. I am delighted Nand has joined our team and will bring his extensive experience to this crucial new role,” said Burns.

Prior to joining CIA, Mulchandani most recently served as the CTO and Acting Director of DoD’s Joint Artificial Intelligence Center. He also co-founded and was CEO of several successful startups Oblix (acquired by Oracle), Determina (acquired by VMWare), OpenDNS (acquired by Cisco), and ScaleXtreme (acquired by Citrix).

He has a degree in Computer Science and Math from Cornell University, a Master of Science degree in Management from Stanford University and a Master in Public Administration degree from Harvard University.

“I am honored to join CIA in this role and look forward to working with the Agency’s incredible team of technologists and domain experts who already deliver world-class intelligence and capabilities to help build a comprehensive technology strategy that delivers exciting capabilities working closely with industry and partners,” said Mulchandani.

India’s Attempt To Marry Biometric And Voter ID Databases

Over the past decade, the Indian government has assembled a sprawling biometric database designed to improve the delivery of social services to the country’s more than 1 billion citizens. The Aadhaar database is one of the world’s largest biometric identity programs and has been credited with making it easier for Indians to access subsidies and pension payments. Using fingerprints and iris scans, Aadhaar has made it possible for the government to verify the identity of the country’s residents with relative ease. Now, the Election Commission of India wants to link their voter registration database with Aadhaar, a move that would have profound consequences not only for the privacy of Indian citizens but for the future of biometric databases worldwide.

As it stands, the Election Commission of India (EC) stores its voter registration information in its own database and has its own verification tools. However, the Election Commission of India believes Aadhaar can offer increased protections against fraud and registration errors. In August, the Government of India, on behalf of the EC, approached the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), the body that administers Aadhaar, with a proposal to integrate the two databases. In December 2021, the Lok Sabha passed the Election Laws Amendment Bill, which creates a legal framework for integrating the two systems. Opposition groups argue that the bill will face serious legal hurdles.

The Aadhaar-EPIC controversy illustrates the serious problems that can arise when large biometric identity databases are expanded beyond their remit. Far from making India’s elections more secure, the marriage of the two systems could lead to disenfranchisement and increased voter microtargeting. With countries around the world launching or already administering biometric databases, India’s efforts to marry its biometric identification system to its voter registration database will provide an important precedent for how governments deploy such systems. India’s experience with biometric identification systems should be a lesson for policymakers overseeing similar efforts about the importance of investing in the security of the information ecosystem in which biometric and voting data is housed, how access to this data is regulated and monitored, and how the technology is actually deployed in voter registration and identification.

A global democratic leader

As the world’s largest democracy and an exporter of voting technology, India’s approach to electoral management is likely to influence how other countries run their elections. It was a mere decade ago that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described India’s election commission as the “the global gold standard for running elections” and observed that the commission “is already sharing best practices with counterparts in other countries, including Egypt and Iraq.” Today, India is an exporter of technology used to administer elections, and decisions made in India regarding the administration of domestic elections are likely to influence its peers.

The Aadhaar-EPIC controversy touches on two issues of concern to policymakers and scholars interested in the ways that biometric technologies are being integrated into electoral processes and democratic governance more broadly. The first is the global spread of biometric identity databases. According to the World Privacy Forum, 160 countries collect biometric data for national ID systems. Even when these systems work as intended, critics argue that they become tools of state surveillance creating “risks to privacy and anonymity” and conditioning “citizens into participating in their own surveillance and social control.” And these systems often do not work as intended. Their data ecosystems are often insecure and unregulated, consisting of multiple private and public actors, networks, and databases. This creates opportunities for private actors to access personal data, making them an attractive target for malicious hackers. They can also be exclusionary, placing undue burdens on rural and urban poor to take time off work, travel, and produce papers in order to get IDs. When biometric indicators change, a person’s identity could effectively be lost.

The second issue is the integration of biometrics into voter registration and identification systems. According to the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, 50 of the 176 democracies in their database use some form of biometrics to verify the identity of voters. The reasons for using biometrics are straightforward. Ideally, they curb fraud, eliminate multiple registrations, and make elections more secure and efficient. In practice, however, the utility of these systems depends on the context in which they are deployed, such as the independence of a given country’s electoral management body, poll policy and training, civic education and voter confidence, and overall cost. Moreover, election management bodies often do not have the expertise or resources to design and implement their own biometric systems and are thus reliant on private actors to install and manage these systems. These private actors further complicate the information ecosystem in which personal data circulates.

The EC argues that integrating Aadhaar and EPIC is important for two main reasons. First, it will eliminate fraudulent and duplicate registrations, which can bog down electoral administration, slow voting times, and in some cases affect electoral outcomes. Second, it will make it easier for migrant laborers to vote as it would allow them to walk into any polling station, have their identity verified, and then cast a ballot in their home election.

Critics of the move contend that the union of the two systems poses major risks. Civil society actors and journalists have argued that not only is the move unnecessary, but that it could also threaten voter privacy and lead to mass disenfranchisement and fraud. Most recently, a group of 500 prominent citizens and 23 civil society organizations signed a statement decrying the EC’s proposal, calling it “a dangerous idea which can fundamentally alter the structure of our democracy.”

The Aadhaar ecosystem

Launched in 2010 by the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), Aadhaar was initially designed as a voluntary system for verifying the identities of Indian residents. Explicitly not a citizenship card, Aadhaar aimed to ease access to welfare services such as pension systems, cooking gas subsidies, and income taxes by providing people a simple mechanism for confirming their identity. Enrollees receive a unique 12-digit ID number in exchange for some simple demographic information and two forms of biometric identification: a fingerprint and an iris scan.

But Aadhaar quickly expanded past its initial remit and became a quasi-mandatory form of identity for accessing social services. Aadhaar’s rapid and largely unregulated expansion has resulted in data leaks, an inability to access government services, and degraded biometrics and loss of identity. Aadhaar’s rapid expansion spurred a series of legal challenges that were resolved in 2018, when India’s Supreme Court validated Aadhaar’s constitutionality but limited its use to certain kinds of welfare programs. Critics of Aadhaar continue to attack the system’s security and data gathering procedures and argue that Aadhaar is a tool of state surveillance that makes it harder for the poor to receive benefits. (For an in-depth history of the Aadhaar controversy see here.)

Researchers have identified myriad issues with Aadhaar but two are particularly relevant to its integration with EPIC. The first is the lack of data standards in Aadhaar’s enrollment process. This process usually involves three actors: the UIDAI, registrars, and enrollment agencies (EA). First, the UIDAI signs a memoranda of understanding with a government agency, a public service undertaking (a company that’s ownership is split between the state and private entities), or other organization granting them the authority to enroll people in Aadhaar. Registrars then farm out enrollment to an EA. These agencies use UIDAI-approved software and biometric devices to register people for Aadhaar. While EAs use certified equipment and software, there is no standardized approach to data collection. EAs have significant discretion as to what kinds of documents they can accept to identify someone for Aadhaar enrollment. This creates possibilities for data-entry errors and corruption in the Aadhaar registration system, causing a host of issues that range from failure to receive pension payments and other welfare benefits to identity theft and the public exposure of personal information.

The second relevant issue is a lack of transparency and accountability in how Aadhaar’s data is handled when it is seeded with other databases. In 2017, for example, in a report for the Center for Internet and Society, Amber Sinha and Srinivas Kodali analyzed publicly available datasets from four schemes seeded with Aadhaar. They found 100-135 million Aadhaar numbers and 100 million bank account numbers disclosed across the four schemes. Incidents such as this emphasize that Aadhaar’s insecure ecosystem creates real-world harms for Indian citizens. The original intent behind Aadhaar was to create a simple system for verifying the identity of Indian citizen’s trying to access government services. However, data leaks and inappropriately handled data have led to many accounts of personal information being exposed. A recent audit of the UIDAI by India’s Comptroller and General Auditor (CAG) found that the organization had failed to properly regulate its client vendors and ensure the security of their data vaults. The report also found many instances of duplicate and incomplete registrations. The audit also criticized the UIDAI for failing to ensure the quality of biometrics and making cardholders responsible for fees associated with updating poorly taken biometrics. “The lack of accountability is an inherent feature of the Aadhaar system,” Apar Gupta of the Internet Freedom Foundation, said in reacting to the audit. “The findings of the CAG audit confirm ground level studies of junk enrollments, faulty and low-quality demographic and biometric data.” The insecurity of the Aadhaar system along with the UIDAI’s lack of accountability should make the Election Commission wary of partnering with them.

Aadhaar, the EC, and mass disenfranchisement

Aadhaar’s insecure ecosystem, lack of data standards, and the UIDAI’s lack of transparency and accountability have led researchers like Vibhav Mariwala and Prakhar Misra to argue that the marriage of Aadhaar and EPIC will exacerbate the principal problem it is intended to solve: voter disenfranchisement and registration irregularities. Mariwala and Misra’s concerns stem not just from the extant issues with Aadhaar, but also from the Election Commission’s first attempt to combine the databases. In 2015, the Election Commission launched its first attempt to marry Aadhaar and EPIC—an initiative known as the National Electoral Roll and Purification Program (NERPAP). NERPAP only operated for a few months before being halted by a Supreme Court decision that limited the use of Aadhaar to four specific welfare schemes. In the brief period it was operational, NERPAP linked the registration information of 320 million voters to their Aadhaar number—but also disenfranchised 3 million voters.

In the aftermath of NERPAP, controversy arose over whether or not the EC had actually received consent from voters to link their EPIC data with Aadhaar. At the time, the Election Commission claimed that the only mechanism for linking the two systems was the National Voters Service Portal. When voters logged in, they could voluntarily choose to link their accounts to Aadhaar. Four years later, these claims were challenged when over 3 million voters showed up to cast ballots in the state of Telangana only to find their names deleted from the polls. In the ensuing scandal, multiple right to information requests filed after the election in four states revealed that the EC pursued several tactics to rapidly seed the EPIC database with Aadhaar. According to reports in Scroll.in and The Wire, these tactics included accessing other national databases, enlisting local election officials to gather Aadhaar numbers during registration processes, and using the UIDAI’s DBT Seeding Data Viewer (DSDV) tool, which allowed the EC to search Aadhaar records and view non-biometric Aadhaar data side by side with voter ID information. In each of these cases, consent was sketchy at best and was certainly not attained in the straightforward way that the EC claimed.

The controversy also forced the EC to admit that voter names were deleted during NERPAP in 2015. In this case, the software that was used to link Aadhaar and EPIC deleted supposedly duplicate voters without verifying that they were in fact duplicate registrations. In the ensuing controversy, the EC did not reveal how its software identified duplicate registrations and insisted that despite the mass deletion, this type of de-duplication process needed to be carried out across the country. Critics of the government’s effort to marry Aadhaar and EPIC fear that another such mass deletion could take place if the government is allowed to once more attempt to combine the two databases. While it is difficult to gauge the likelihood of another mass deletion, the Election Commission’s lack of transparency about the first linkage, their continued unwillingness to spell out how EPIC will be connected to Aadhaar certainly raises red flags. These concerns are heightened by the serious security concerns plaguing the Aadhaar ecosystem.

Aadhaar, EPIC, and microtargeting

As it stands, voter data in India is easily available online, but because it isn’t machine readable, it is difficult to microtarget voters. The lack of machine-readable data is exacerbated by the fact many people have the same name, and sometimes those names are spelled differently across different databases. Marrying EPIC and Aadhaar would solve both these problems. As Anuj Srivas writes in The Wire, it would make matching one’s voter information with information in a wide array of other databases easy because Aadhaar allows identification across databases. The marriage of the two databases could thus lead to increased opportunities for microtargeting by the sitting government.

The possibility of microtargeting in India would seriously threaten the secrecy of the ballot. Each polling station in India serves approximately 3000 voters, and polling stations have to be within two kilometers of a voter’s home—making it fairly easy to determine whom a given voter cast their ballot for if microtargeting data is available. Moreover, microtargeting at this level could allow government actors to direct specific policies toward groups of local beneficiaries, as Aadhaar is primarily used to deliver government services. For example, these techniques could potentially allow a ruling party to target welfare schemes and infrastructure projects to specific polling communities. This might sound far-fetched, but in the run-up to the 2019 general election, the ruling BJP openly engaged in poll-based, benefit-focused campaigning. If the BJP were able to further tailor this kind of campaigning to smaller communities, it would allow them to consolidate their base and gain new voters.

Researchers warn that political microtargeting could result in a loss of privacy and exposure to selective information, providing fertile ground for mis- and dis-information to spread and polarization to increase. The fact that voters are typically unaware that they are being targeted undermines their ability to determine which information is relevant to them. Private companies often carry out microtargeting on behalf of political parties, and as digital intermediaries, the companies are not subject to the transparency and accountability mechanisms assigned to traditional political actors. It is important to note, however, that the actual efficacy of political microtargeting is debatable. As Jessica Baldwin-Philippi, the political communications scholar, notes, it is important to separate theoretical concerns about microtargeting from analyses of their actual impact. With that distinction in mind, marrying EPIC with Aadhaar has the potential to facilitate problematic forms of microtargeting. Or as Retired Supreme Court Justice, B.N. Srikrishna provocatively summed up these concerns: “Instead of having a Cambridge Analytica you’ll have a Delhi Analytica, a Mumbai Analytica, a Calcutta Analytica. That is the danger.”

Conclusion

The EPIC-Aadhaar controversy has serious implications for global actors interested in identification technologies, e-governance, and electoral processes. First, it provides additional evidence that national biometric identity databases are at best problematic, especially when they expand far past their initial remit. Second, it adds a list of contextual factors that need to be considered when gauging the utility of using biometrics in electoral processes. These factors include the security of the information ecosystem in which biometric voting data is housed, how access to this data is regulated and monitored, and how the technology is actually deployed in voter registration and identification. Finally, the introduction of biometrics into electoral processes could lead to their integration into the actual voting process. For example, the EC revealed that it was developing blockchain voting technology with the Indian Institutes of Technology in Madras and Chennai for use as early as the 2024 general election. Blockchain voting technology would use biometric data to confirm voter’s identity, meaning that they would need an Aadhaar number to cast their ballot. Using biometric data in this way would heighten concerns about mass disenfranchisement and electoral transparency.

Patrick Jones is a scholar of emerging media and digital technologies and received his PhD from the University of Oregon in 2020.

Biden Plans $3.1 Billion Investment For Electric Car Batteries

The Biden administration has announced it will begin a $3.1 billion plan to boost domestic manufacturing of batteries, in a broader effort to shift the country away from gas-powered cars to electric vehicles.

The electrification of the transportation sector will be critical to mitigating human-caused climate change. The transportation sector is one of the largest contributors to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, representing roughly one-third of emissions each year.

The funding will support grants aimed at building, retooling or expanding manufacturing of batteries and battery components, as well as establishing battery recycling facilities, according to the Department of Energy. The grants will be funded through President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law, which includes more than $7 billion to bolster the country’s battery supply chain.

The move comes after the president in April invoked the Defense Production Act to encourage domestic production of minerals required to make batteries for EVs and long-term energy storage. That order could help companies receive federal funding for feasibility studies on projects that extract materials for EV production, such as lithium, nickel, cobalt, graphite and manganese.

“These made-in-America batteries are going to help reduce emissions and create opportunities across the country,” White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy said during a call with reporters on Monday.

The White House, which has set a goal of 50% electric vehicle sales by 2030, is also working to construct a national network of EV charging stations and to create tax incentives for consumers who buy EVs. The administration has also pledged to replace its federal fleet of 600,000 cars and trucks to electric power by 2035.

The U.S. is the world’s third-largest market for EVs, behind China and Europe. Just 4% of new cars sold in the U.S. last year were electric, according to market research company Canalys.

“Positioning the United States front and center in meeting the growing demand for advanced batteries is how we boost our competitiveness and electrify our transportation system,” U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm said in a statement on Monday.

Toyota To Invest $ 624 Million In India

Toyota Group plans to invest 48 billion Indian rupees ($624 million) to make electric vehicle components in India, as the Japanese carmaker works toward carbon neutrality by 2050.

Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Toyota Kirloskar Auto Parts signed a memorandum of understanding with the southern state of Karnataka to invest 41 billion Indian rupees, the group said in a statement Saturday. The rest will come from Toyota Industries Engine India.

Toyota is aligning its own green targets with India’s ambitions of becoming a manufacturing hub though the switch to clean transport in the South Asian nation is slower than other countries such as China and the U.S. Expensive price tags, lack of options in electric models and insufficient charging stations have led to sluggish adoption of battery vehicles in India.

“From a direct employment point of view, we are looking at around 3,500 new jobs,” Toyota Kirloskar executive vice president Vikram Gulati told the Press Trust of India in an interview. “As the supply chain system builds, we expect much more to come in later.”

He added that the company would be moving toward a new area of technology — electrified powertrain parts — with production set to start in the “very near-term.”

Indian automakers could generate $20 billion in revenue from electric vehicles between now and fiscal year 2026, according to forecast by Crisil. By 2040, 53% of new automobile sales in India will be electric, compared with 77% in China, according to BloombergNEF.

Google Picks Archana Gulati As India Policy Head

Alphabet Inc’s Google has hired a new public policy head in India, Archana Gulati, who previously worked at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s federal think-tank and the country’s antitrust watchdog, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

A number of Indian government officials have been hired by Big Tech companies which are battling tighter data and privacy regulation, as well as competition law scrutiny, under Modi’s federal government.

Gulati is a long-term Indian government employee, having worked until March 2021 as a joint secretary for digital communications at Modi’s federal think tank, Niti Aayog, a body that is critical to government’s policy making across sectors.

Before that, between 2014 and 2016, she worked as a senior official at India’s antitrust body, the Competition Commission of India, according to her LinkedIn profile.

A Google India spokesperson confirmed the development to Reuters, but did not elaborate. Gulati did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The source declined to be named as the hiring decision was not public.

India’s antitrust watchdog is currently looking into Google’s business conduct in the market of smart TVs, its Android operating system as well as its in-app payments system.

Last year, Meta Platforms Inc hired Rajiv Aggarwal – who spent years working in India’s federal and state governments – as its head of policy.

Another former Indian antitrust and federal government official, Anand Jha, in 2019 joined Walmart as India public policy officer. He currently manages government relations for Blackstone in India.

Five Ways Elon Musk Can Transform Twitter

News that Elon Musk bought Twitter could usher in substantial changes for the social media platform. Given its influential role in public conversation and policy actions, a shift in management control could have substantial consequences for the role of social media. Here are five things that could happen under Musk’s ownership.

Weaken Content Moderation in Name of Free Speech

Musk brings a strong free speech perspective that likely would alter some of the firm’s current content moderation policies. In the face of public concern over extremism, violence, hate speech, and false information, Twitter and other large social media platforms have strengthened their content moderation policies to remove content that encourages violence or spreads misinformation.

While many of those worried about the corrosive impact of social media on national and global discourse have applauded these moves, some free speech advocates have questioned these practices on grounds that more, not less speech, is desired—and that private companies shouldn’t be the arbiters of truth and justice.

Musk himself has advocated for stronger protections of freedom of speech on social media platforms and presumably would move the company closer to his perspective when he becomes its new owner. He likely would remove some of the content moderation practices and be less likely to remove tweets that, to him, fall within a gray area.

Bring Donald Trump Back to Twitter

One winner of an ownership change could be former President Donald Trump. Right now, Twitter has imposed a lifetime ban on Trump due to his role in inciting violence on January 6, 2021. After protesters stormed the Capitol and temporarily stopped Congress’ presidential election certification, Twitter executives said Trump had violated its terms of service and kicked him off the platform.

But under Musk, the company could revisit that decision and reinstate the former president on the grounds he is a leading public figure, has important things to say, and is a likely presidential candidate in 2024. If reinstated, that would give Trump a large megaphone to proclaim his views, spread lies and misinformation about the integrity of the 2020 election, and inflame public passions. The consequence could be sharper polarization, more intense partisanship, and a rise of political extremism.

Cozy Up to China

Unlike many leaders of large businesses, Musk has cultivated close ties with China and is building a large Tesla plant there. China is a global leader in the manufacturing of electric vehicle batteries, and Musk has expanded his dealings with China despite human rights concerns and fair labor practices.

The impact of an ownership change could be a different perspective on geopolitics than currently is the case. Musk could push policies that are more sympathetic to China, less restrictive towards Russia, or less supportive of human rights and environmental protection. He could introduce algorithms that favor content with a particular foreign policy take to the exclusion of alternative viewpoints.  To his credit, though, Musk has promised to “open up” the algorithms so that they are more transparent. That would be a positive move for the social media platform.

Weaken accountability by taking company private

Musk plans to take Twitter private when he assumes ownership. If that became the case, there would be less public transparency about what happens, fewer reporting requirements, and more secrecy in regard to corporate practices. One of the byproducts of being a private firm is less oversight by government agencies and more freedom to make decisions. With a company as influential as Twitter, that could have ramifications for public discussion and electoral discourse.

Encourage space travel and push for AI limits

New management likely would push the platform towards Musk’s well-known personal interests in space travel and antipathy towards AI. SpaceX already is a leader in private space exploration and Musk himself has talked about colonizing Mars and building a life presence beyond planet Earth. He likely would encourage space tourism in line with his business interests, and encourage people to think more broadly about the future of humanity. It is an open question how Twitter would deal with possible conflicts of interest with Musk’s other business holdings, but that is something that should be clarified during the regulatory review of this transaction.

In addition, Musk is on record as worrying about artificial intelligence and fearing its capacity to enslave humanity. He wants to put the brakes on the rapid expansion of AI without appropriate human safeguards. While advocates can debate the merits of either stance, there is little doubt that ownership of Twitter would put Musk in a stronger position to influence public discussions and shape policy towards AI and other emerging technologies.

Nuclear Expert Cautions Against Unfamiliar New Nuclear Age

High-tech advances in weapons technologies and a return of ‘great power nuclear politics’, risk the world ‘sleepwalking’ into a nuclear age vastly different from the established order of the Cold War, according to new research undertaken at the University of Leicester.

Andrew Futter, Professor of International Politics at the University of Leicester, makes the warning in a research paper for the Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace (HOPe), published today (Friday).

While stockpiles are much reduced from the peak of up to 70,000 nuclear weapons seen in the 1980s, progress in a number of new or ‘disruptive’ technologies threatens to fundamentally change the central pillars on which nuclear order, stability and risk reduction are based.

Modern nuclear weapons – acknowledged to be held by nine countries including the USA, Russia and UK – are more capable and more precise than their Cold War counterparts, and at the same time, are being augmented by a new suite of strategic non-nuclear weapons that might be used against or instead of nuclear weapons.

Advances in offensive capabilities have, however, been matched in increasingly sophisticated sensing, tracking and processing technologies designed to detect, prevent and in some cases respond to a nuclear strike – often using Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Professor Futter said: “While we’ve seen a substantial reduction in the number of nuclear weapons held across the world, it’s important to remember that this reduction came about as much as a result of rationalisation than a genuine drive to disarm. After all, you can’t destroy a city twice, and it takes an enormous amount of money to build and maintain this technology.

“We’ve seen massive advances in the capabilities of these weapons and their support systems in the 30 years since the end of the Cold War, and there’s a danger that this means the established rulebook of nuclear doctrine could be thrown out of the window.”

However, there are potential political solutions as the world prepares to enter what Professor Futter terms a ‘Third Nuclear Age’. He continued: “Choosing the correct pathway for our nuclear future was hard enough in the past and there is no suggestion it will become any easier as we move into a new, potentially more complex and dynamic chapter in the nuclear story.

“Policy proposals to manage the challenges of the Third Nuclear Age are therefore inherently bound by whether one believes the best approach is to take our nuclear world as it is and seek to manage it through restraint, arms control, and norms; or whether it is possible to transition to a world where nuclear weapons no longer exist through sustained moral, ethical, legal and perhaps technological pressure.”

Deterrence, Disruptive Technology and Disarmament in the Third Nuclear Age’ is published by the Hiroshima Organization for Global Peace.

Disruptive Technologies and Nuclear Risks: What’s New and What Matters’, in which Professor Futter further explores the themes of new nuclear capabilities and their impact, is published in the journal Survival.

The Third Nuclear Age research project is funded by the European Research Council. Find out more at thirdnuclearage.com.

Data Security: More Privacy On The Smartphone

Privacy on the smartphone is possible, as is shown by the Privacy Friendly Apps (PFAs) for Android: Together with students, the SECUSO research group of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) has developed more than 30 apps for Android phones. They request authorizations required for functioning only and do not contain any tracking mechanisms. For these PFAs, SECUSO has now been granted the first Digital Autonomy Award by the Digital Autonomy Hub that is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Every day, we all are feeding our smartphones with large data volumes: We are having conversations in the form of words, texts, and images, we are storing notes, photos, and videos. We are planning appointments and administrating contacts. Access to these partly highly sensitive data is subject to so-called authorizations. For example, any app accessing the camera needs the respective authorization. During installation or in other contexts, however, many apps request authorizations to access private smartphone data, although this is not required for their functioning. Some weather apps or QR code scanners, for instance, request access to the address book or to private photos. In addition, many apps contain so-called trackers that continuously collect data, analyze the user behavior, and create profiles of persons without them being aware of it. The data collected can be used for targeted advertising, but may also be stolen by hackers.

Students Are Largely Involved in the Development of Apps

The PFAs developed by KIT’s research group SECUSO (Security – Usability – Society) guarantee more privacy. The research group headed by Professor Melanie Volkamer is affiliated to KIT’s Institute of Applied Informatics and Formal Description Methods. Students were and are significantly involved in the development of PFAs suited for Android smartphones. “Through programming exercises or graduation theses, students come to know security and privacy aspects of Android app development,” Volkamer says. “Still, the challenge is to combine app development with academic education. Students without the relevant experience should also be able to take part.”

The PFAs only request the authorizations required for functioning, do not contain any tracking mechanisms, and, hence, do not collect any usage data. “The data collected are stored locally on the smartphone,” says Christopher Beckmann. The scientist is member of the SECUSO research group and responsible for the Privacy Friendly Apps Lab. “Clearly defined data will be transmitted to third providers only, if this is absolutely necessary for functioning.” The source code of every PFA is published on the GitHub platform.

Apps Range from the Pedometer to the Password Generator

Currently, more than 30 PFAs are offered in the areas of tools, fitness and health, games, and security, including a flashlight, to-do-list, pedometer, active break, sudoku, mental arithmetic trainer, password generator, and WiFi manager. For its PFAs, SECUSO has now received the Digital Autonomy Award that is granted for the first time in 2022 by the Digital Autonomy Hub. It coordinates an interdisciplinary network of 43 institutes and organization, is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research under the program “Miteinander durch Innovation” (together through innovation), and implemented by the Gesellschaft für Informatik e.V. (Society for Informatics) and AlgorithmWatch.

It is SECUSO’s declared goal to continuously further develop the PFAs and to expand the group of users. For this reason, SECUSO looks for interested persons, who wish to help the Privacy Friendly Apps team by supporting one or several apps or by providing staff or funds.

Indians Continue Their Hold On H-1B Visas

Indians cornered nearly three-fourths of H-1B visas issued by the US to speciality foreign workers in 2021, continuing their stranglehold on this highly sought after professional ticket to work, live and, finally, settle down in America.

The US approved 407,071 H-1B petitions in 2021 and 301,616 of them 74.1 per cent were for Indian workers, according to the latest report on this topic released recently by the Department of Homeland Security, the government agency that oversees immigration.

Indians accounted for 74.9 per cent of the approved petitions in 2020. The US allows American employers to hire speciality foreign workers on H-1B for positions they are unable to fill with local Americans. Top American companies such as Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Facebook are among leading users of this visa programme as are US subsidiaries of Indian IT companies such as Infosys, TCS and Wipro.

These foreign workers are hired either from their countries of birth or residence or from US colleges and universities Sundar Pichai, the Google CEO, was hired on H-1B when he was studying in the US. They can live and work here for three years and, if approved, another three years. A large number of them go on to Green Cards permanent residency sponsored by their employers.

Indians have had a tight grip on the H-B visa programme for years, at that three-fourths mark. People from China have been a distant second with 12.1 per cent. The next three were Canada with 0.9 per cent, South Korea also with 0.9 per cent and Philippines with 0.7 per cent. The line-up was the same in 2020, with almost the same numbers.

Sundar Pichai Announces $9.5 Bn For New Offices, Data Centres In US

Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai on Wednesday announced to invest approximately $9.5 billion for new offices and data centres in the US this year, creating 12,000 new full-time jobs and thousands more among local suppliers, partners and communities.

Pichai said that Google helped provide $617 billion in economic activity for millions of American businesses, nonprofits, creators, developers and publishers last year.

“In addition, the Android app economy helped create nearly two million jobs last year, and YouTube’s creative ecosystem supported 394,000 jobs in 2020,” he informed.

In the past five years, Google has invested more than $37 billion in its offices and data centres in 26 US states, creating over 40,000 full-time jobs.

“That’s in addition to the more than $40 billion in research and development the company invested in 2020 and 2021,” said the company.

Pichai said that while it might seem counterintuitive to step up investment in physical offices even as the world embraces more flexibility in how we work.

“Yet we believe it’s more important than ever to invest in our campuses and that doing so will make for better products, a greater quality of life for our employees, and stronger communities,” the Google CEO noted.

At the same time, the investments in data centres “will continue to power the digital tools and services that help people and businesses thrive”.

“As we work towards running our offices and data centres on carbon-free energy 24/7 by 2030, we’re aiming to set new standards for green building design”.

In California, Google will continue to invest in offices and support affordable housing initiatives in the Bay Area as part of its $1 billion housing commitment. (IANS)

Hacking Attempts By Russian Spies Found By Microsoft

US tech giant Microsoft on Apr 8 said that it has disrupted Russian hackers who attempted to infiltrate Ukrainian media organizations.
The spies were attempting to break into Ukrainian, EU and US targets, according to the company. Microsoft attributes the attacks to a group it calls “Strontium”.

In a blog post on Microsoft’s website, the firm said that a group was using internet domains in an effort to spy on US and EU government bodies and thinktanks, as well as a number of Ukrainian institutions including media organizations. Microsoft did not provide further details on who the targets were.

Microsoft said that it was taking legal and technical action to seize control of domains controlled by Strontium, and had obtained a court order that allowed it to take over seven domains on Apr 6.

Microsoft used a US court order to disable seven internet domains that a hacking group linked with Russian intelligence was using to try to infiltrate Ukrainian media organizations, reported CNN.

It’s the second time this week that a powerful US corporation or government agency has disclosed the use of a court order to target hackers accused of working for Russia’s military intelligence directorate, GRU.

The moves reflect US officials’ ongoing concerns about potential Russian retaliatory cyberattacks against US targets and a more aggressive strategy to try to thwart state-backed hacking operations.

The Justice Department revealed on Apr 6 that it had used a court order to disrupt a network of thousands of hacked computers controlled by another GRU-linked hacking group that could have been used in a cyberattack.

That network of infected computers, known as a botnet, “was a threat to US businesses, particularly the ones who were compromised, and it required action given the current threat environment,” the Justice Department official told reporters.

KTR, Telengana Minister Woos U.S. Life Sciences Companies, Ready To ‘Beat Any Offer’

Representatives of 18 biotechnology companies attended the roundtable meeting chaired by KT Rama Rao, Telangana information technology and industries minister, where they exchanged ideas on how to promote innovation and investments in the State of Telangana.

Rama Rao, popularly known in Telangana as KTR, was visiting Silicon Valley past month, and during the roundtable meeting with key Biotech, Pharma, and Lifesciences companies, invited them to his state, He discussed the emerging trends in the sector, strategic initiatives that can be rolled out by the Telangana government, and support that can be extended by the government, policy interventions, etc.

Industries and IT Minister KT Rama Rao chaired an industry roundtable with select leaders of biotechnology companies based out of the Bay Area, USA. He presented the overall life sciences and biotechnology ecosystem in Telangana along with the success stories and investment opportunities in the sector.

Rama Rao invited the companies to set up their research and development, digital and manufacturing operations in Hyderabad.

The industry leaders lauded the efforts of the Government to accelerate growth in the life sciences sector and responded positively to Rama Rao’s request to explore investment opportunities in Telangana.

Further, the roundtable discussed the emerging trends in the sector, strategic initiatives that can be rolled out by Telangana Government, support that can be extended by the Government, policy interventions and others to promote innovation and investments in the Telangana.

Industry leaders from Apollomics, Aarvik Therapeutics, Chemveda Life Sciences, Abbvie, Protagonist Therapeutics, Samsara Capital, Stanford India Biodesign, Orbees Medical, Dice Therapeutics, Seal Rock therapeutics, Vasa Therapeutics, Aria Pharmaceuticals, Atomwise, Genentech, Frazier Health Sciences, Alector, Gilead Sciences, AngioSafe and Tosk were among those who attended the roundtable.

Industries Principal Secretary Jayesh Ranjan and Life Sciences Director Shakthi M Nagappan were present.

You Do Not Need Biopsies Anymore

Newswise — A Columbia Engineering team has developed a technology that could replace conventional biopsies and histology with real-time imaging within the living body. Described in a new paper published today in Nature Biomedical Engineering, MediSCAPE is a high-speed 3D microscope capable of capturing images of tissue structures that could guide surgeons to navigate tumors and their boundaries without needing to remove tissues and wait for pathology results.

For many medical procedures, particularly cancer surgery and screening, it is common for doctors to take a biopsy, cutting out small pieces of tissue to be able to take a closer look at them with a microscope. “The way that biopsy samples are processed hasn’t changed in 100 years, they are cut out, fixed, embedded, sliced, stained with dyes, positioned on a glass slide, and viewed by a pathologist using a simple microscope. This is why it can take days to hear news back about your diagnosis after a biopsy,” says Elizabeth Hillman, professor of biomedical engineering and radiology at Columbia University and senior author of the study.

Hillman’s group dreamed of a bold alternative, wondering whether they could capture images of the tissue while it is still within the body. “Such a technology could give a doctor real-time feedback about what type of tissue they are looking at without the long wait,” she explains. “This instant answer would let them make informed decisions about how best to cut out a tumor and ensure there is none left behind.”

Another major benefit of the approach is that cutting tissue out, just to figure out what it is, is a hard decision for doctors, especially for precious tissues such as the brain, spinal cord, nerves, the eye, and areas of the face. This means that doctors can miss important areas of disease. “Because we can image the living tissue, without cutting it out, we hope that MediSCAPE will make those decisions a thing of the past,” says Hillman.

Although some microscopes for surgical guidance are already available, they only give doctors an image of a small, single 2D plane, making it difficult to quickly survey larger areas of tissue and interpret results. These microscopes also generally require a fluorescent dye to be injected into the patient, which takes time and can limit their use for certain patients.

Over the past decade, Hillman, who is also Herbert and Florence Irving Professor at Columbia’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute, has been developing new kinds of microscopes for neuroscience research that can capture very fast 3D images of living samples like tiny worms, fish, and flies to see how neurons throughout their brains and bodies fire when they move. The team decided to test whether their technology, termed SCAPE (for Swept Confocally Aligned Planar Excitation microscopy) could see anything useful in tissues from other parts of the body.

“One of the first tissues we looked at was fresh mouse kidney, and we were stunned to see gorgeous structures that looked a lot like what you get with standard histology,” says Kripa Patel, a recent PhD graduate from the Hillman lab and lead author of the study. “Most importantly, we didn’t add any dyes to the mouse –everything we saw was natural fluorescence in the tissue that is usually too weak to see. Our microscope is so efficient that we could see these weak signals well, even though we were also imaging whole 3D volumes at speeds fast enough to rove around in real time, scanning different areas of the tissue as if we were holding a flashlight.”

As she “roved around,” Patel could even stitch together the acquired volumes and turn the data into large 3D representations of the tissue that a pathologist could examine as if it were a full box of histology slides.

“This was something I didn’t expect — that I could actually look at structures in 3D from different angles,” says collaborator Dr. Shana Coley, a renal pathologist at Columbia University Medical Center who collaborated closely on the study. “We found many examples where we would not have been able to identify a structure from a 2D section on a histology slide, but in 3D we could clearly see its shape. In renal pathology in particular, where we routinely work with very limited amounts of tissue, the more information we can derive from the sample, the better for delivering more effective patient care.”

The team demonstrated the power of MediSCAPE for a wide range of applications, from analysis of pancreatic cancer in a mouse, to Coley’s interest in non-destructive, rapid evaluation of human transplant organs such as kidneys. Coley helped the team get fresh samples from human kidneys to prove that MediSCAPE could see telltale signs of kidney disease that matched well to conventional histology images.

The team also realized that by imaging tissues while they are alive in the body, they could get even more information than from lifeless excised biopsies. They found that they could actually visualize blood flow through tissues, and see the cellular-level effects of ischemia and reperfusion (cutting off the blood supply to the kidney and then letting it flow back in).

“Understanding whether tissues are staying healthy and getting good blood supply during surgical procedures is really important,” says Hillman. “We also realized that if we don’t have to remove (and kill) tissues to look at them, we can find many more uses for MediSCAPE, even to answer simple questions such as ‘what tissue is this?’ or to navigate around precious nerves. Both of these applications are really important for robotic and laparoscopic surgeries where surgeons are more limited in their ability to identify and interact with tissues directly.”

A critical final step for the team was to reduce the large format of the standard SCAPE microscopes in Hillman’s lab to something that would fit into an operating room and could be used by a surgeon in the human body. Post-doctoral fellow Wenxuan Liang worked with the team to develop a smaller version of the system with a better form factor, and a sterile imaging cap. PhD candidate Malte Casper helped to acquire the team’s first demonstration of MediSCAPE in a living human, collecting images of a range of tissues in and around the mouth.

These results included rapidly imaging while a volunteer literally licked the end of the imaging probe, producing detailed 3D views of the papillae of the tongue.

Eager to take this technology to the next level with a larger clinical trial, the team is currently working on commercialization and FDA approval. Hillman adds, “We are just so amazed to see what MediSCAPE reveals every time we use it on a new tissue, and especially that we barely ever even needed to add dyes or stains to see structures that pathologists can recognize.”

Hillman and her team hopes that MediSCAPE will make standard histology a thing of the past, putting the power of real-time histology and decision making into the surgeon’s hands.

India faces pressure over close ties with Moscow

Taking A Break From The Digital World Is Healthy

Technology has connected us in ways we never anticipated and made our lives more convenient. While technology definitely comes with numerous positive benefits, there are negative sides to it as well that can lead to physical and psychological issues. A 2017 study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine found that people within the age group of 19-32 who had higher usage of social media were more likely to feel isolated than those who didnt use social media so often.

Innovative technologies and smart gadgets have made us slaves of the digital era, and there’s an imperative need to get some respite from this dependency and disruption. That’s where yoga and meditation can make a difference. These ancient practices have been part of our civilisation for years and are used to align the body, mind and spirit and bring mental clarity.

Why a Break from the Digital World is Necessary

We are constantly tethered to technology through our smartphones, tablets, computers, and even watches, and companies are pushing our psychological buttons to make us return for more. Constant distractions are ruining our cognitive functions and leaving many prone to anxiety and memory lapses. Overuse of digital media can also have detrimental effects on physical health. Too much smartphone usage can put a lot of pressure on the shoulders, neck, and spine. Technology overuse can also lead to strained injuries of the thumbs, fingers, and wrists. Overexposure to the blue light emitted by smartphones and computers can also interrupt the circadian clock, causing sleep issues.

How Yoga can help

In people who practice yoga on a daily basis, changes occur in the brain structure and new connections are developed. Also, it results in improved cognitive skills like memory and learning. Here are some easy yoga poses to get you started:

Tadasana (Mountain Pose): How to do:

*Stand with the feet together keeping the arms by the side.

* Straighten the legs and tuck the tailbone in while engaging the thigh muscles.

* While inhaling, elongate through the torso and raise the arms.

* Exhale and release the shoulder blades away from the head.

* Take slow breaths and maintain this position for 30 seconds.

Benefits: This pose engages all the major muscle groups and improves concentration and focus.

AdhoMukhaSvanasana: How to do:

* Come onto your hands and knees with the palms just past the shoulder.

* The knees must be kept under the hips.

* Lift the hips and press back to form a V-shape with the body.

* Keep the feet hip-width apart.

* Spread the fingers and move the chest towards your legs.

* Maintain this position for 30 second and gently release.

Benefits: This pose stretches the lower body, improves posture and balances the body and mind.

Balasana (Child’s Pose): How to do:

* Kneel on your mat with the toes tucked under.

* Lower the hips towards the feet and extend your arms forward.

* The stomach should be resting on the thighs and forehead touching the mat

* Maintain this position for 1 minute and release.

Benefits: Apart from releasing tensions in the chest, this pose relaxes the spine and back as well as promotes good sleep.

Savasana: How to do:

* Lie on the back with the arms alongside the body.

* The palms should be facing upwards and the body must be kept completely relaxed including the face.

* Continue with gentle breathing and keep your attention on your breath.

* Stay in this pose for a few minutes and release.

Benefits: This pose calms the nervous system reducing stress and anxiety. It also aids the immune and digestive system.

Achieve Balance with Meditation

Meditation has been a useful tool for ages to maintain control of the mind and transform thoughts. People who incorporate meditation into their daily lives remain more composed during times of adversity and clear-minded. In fact, new studies have revealed that consistent practise of meditation increases GABA levels, which promotes emotional well-being and helps one feel happy.

When combined with yoga and pranayama, meditation can do wonders for our body and mind gradually, and one can see the reflection of the same in their daily lifestyle.

Conclusion

The rapid advancement of technology has certainly led to increased stress and emotional distress driven by rapid reward cycles, exposure to too much information, and simultaneous engagement in different tasks. Meditation and yoga can help us release inner tensions, quiet the mind, and stay focused. Only a few minutes of practise every day can bring a whole world of change, making us happy, healthy, and resilient to stress and burnout. Technology is here to stay and even get more advanced. It rests on us as to how we can adopt these practises as part of our lifestyle to bring a positive change and stay healthy.

Lenovo Appoints Ajay Sehgal To Lead India Commercial Business

Global PC brand Lenovo has appointed Ajay Sehgal as the Executive Director for India commercial business. Based in Mumbai, Sehgal0 will be responsible for driving growth for the overall Lenovo India commercial PC and Smart Devices business.

“Companies large and small are accelerating their digital transformation, and are seeking trusted partners to help them navigate this exciting transition. I am confident that his experience will help take our commercial sales organization to the next level along our journey of service-led-transformation,” Shailendra Katyal, Managing Director, Lenovo India, said in a statement.

Prior to joining Lenovo, Sehgal worked with Vodafone as Executive Vice President, Enterprise Business. In previous roles, he has worked with HP India as well as with Xerox, and has handled multiple leadership positions across the PC and printing solutions businesses.

In Q4 2021, the overall India tablet market grew 31 per cent year-on-year, while for the entire year it grew 4 per cent YoY. Lenovo topped the tablet market in India, mainly driven by its enterprise tablet business.

Lenovo Tab M10 HD Tablet series garnered 32 per cent market share and primarily in the value for Money (Rs 7,000-Rs 25,000) segment.

Lenovo shipments recorded 23 per cent YoY growth in CY2021. The company has a strong offline play, catering to enterprise and consumer demand.

Indian American Kids-Led Trumbull Robotics Team Makes it to World Championship

Robolution 18366 is going to worlds! Team Robolution 18366 from Trumbull, CT is a robotics team is now all set to compete in the FIRST Tech Challenge. FIRST Robotics is a worldwide robotics organization that inspires people to join STEM and pursue robotics in the future.

Incorporated in 1797, Trumbull town was named after Governor Jonathan Trumbull of Lebanon, Connecticut. Located 5 miles north from the Long Island Sound, among the most virant towens in the Fairfield County in the state of Connecticut, this vibrant community offers New England charm with extensive retail, outdoor recreation, and dining options. Known for its diversity, Trumbull has a fast growing Indian American community, which excels in academia with the students of Indian American parents rank among the highest in educational achiements.

The Trumbull Robotics Team is only an example of how the Indian American kids excel and exhibit their leadership and STEM skills, making Trumbull proud. The team consists of Aarav Parekh, Saihari Kota, Ayush Puthiyavettle, Tejas Puthiyavettle, Yash Permalla, Rithik Gunda, Pranav Kodakara, Chandini Kalidindi, Richard Xiong, Arnav Dadarya, and Sharvi Kulkarni. It’s of immense significance that of the 11 team members, 10 of them are of Indian origin.

Trumbull Robotics Team won the 1st 1st place at Connect Award, which “is given to the team that most connects with their local science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) community. We were recognized for helping our local community connect with STEM and actively helping our local community explore opportunities available in STEM.”

The Team won 2nd place at the Inspire Award, which is “given to the the team that best represents what the FIRST tech challenge is about, and is a role model for other teams competing. We were recognized for being strong contenders for several awards as well as having a detailed and informative engineering portfolio, which clearly explains our creative and thoughtful design process.”

Trumbull Robotics Team came 1st at Promote Award, “given to the team that is most successful at creating a video message for the public designed to change culture and celebrate Science, Technology, and Math. We were recognized for creating a unique and engaging video message about the topic: “what I would tell younger self about FIRST.”

Aarav Parekh of the Trumbull Robotic Team has the distinction of being on the Deans List Finalist. This award is given out to a student who are great examples of leaders who have led their Teams and communities to increased awareness for FIRST and its mission. Aarav Parekh was one of two students from across Connecticut to be selected as a Dean’s List Finalist. As a finalist, he has shown leadership within the team and community to increase awareness of STEM and robotics while displaying technical expertise.

“Team Robolution had a very successful day at the CT State Championship on February 26th, 2022, winning first place for both the Connect and the Promote Award and second place for the Inspire Award. In addition to the team’s achievements, junior Aarav Parekh was one of two individuals in the state nominated as a 2022 Dean’s List Finalist. Robolution’s success has qualified them as one of the two teams to represent the state of Connecticut at the FTC World Championship in Houston this April,” the Team’s website stated.

The Goals of the Team as outlined on the website includes: “Competitive engineering process; Improve outreach; Help people around the world; and, Efficient and reliable design with industrial engineering.  The Team of 11 members wants to “Prioritize learning, sharing our knowledge and experience with others.”

Reporting on the Outreach of the Team, the website states: “Impacted 300+ students in outreach events, including offering Online Java programming sessions; FLL team mentoring- T-MECHS; Discord collaboration with FIRST Teams; Trumbull Tutors; Teaching students how to use CAD; and Tutoring students about robotics and engineering.”

Boditech Med, Global Point-Of-Care Testing Leader Expands Operations To North America

Boditech Med, a global leader in point-of-care testing with more than 90 biomarker products, has announced its plans to expand its operations in North America. Boditech’s expansion begins with plans to open a new manufacturing site in the Miami, Florida, area. The company is also considering opportunities in other states, along with a partnership in Canada.

“In the U.S., it takes as long as three days for a patient to get diagnostic test results. During that time, informed decision making comes to a standstill, even while costs mount,” said Boditech Med co-founder and CEO Eui-Yul Choi, Ph.D. “At Boditech, we develop and manufacture point-of-care tests that deliver actionable results in 12 to 15 minutes. Our goal in the U.S. is to flip the diagnostic industry on its head so that patients get timely, quality care while the healthcare system minimizes waste.”

Founded in South Korea in 1998, Boditech Med markets and sells more than 90 biomarker products in 120 countries. Through its North American expansion, the publicly-traded company aims to improve the health and safety of patients and the effectiveness and workflows of clinicians in the U.S. and beyond.

Boditech offers highly reliable in-vitro diagnostic solutions that empower clinicians and patients to improve health through quick and reliable tests, available anywhere and anytime. Along with venous blood and plasma testing, Boditech’s product line includes technologies that enable accurate, thorough capillary blood tests, based on a small amount of blood from a finger prick.

Boditech is currently seeking approvals from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for several diagnostic solutions in cardiac, cancer, hormone, infectious disease, and other therapeutic areas. Timelines and precise locations remain in the works. Boditech intends to hire hundreds of Americans to support its efforts.

Boditech intends to bring lower-cost, rapid testing that covers many critical areas of medicine, from cardiac health to cancer, to the country. Boditech also produces COVID-19 antibody and over-the-counter rapid antigen tests.

Boditech Med is a global leader in point-of-care testing with a decades-long track record of improving health and quality of life through innovative in-vitro diagnostic solutions. Since its launch in 1998, Boditech has developed 85 biomarkers, which support capillary blood, venous blood, and plasma testing, to meet customers’ evolving needs. Listed as a public company on the KOSDAQ, Boditech’s products aid patients and clinicians in 120 countries. Learn more about Boditech Med and how its in-vitro diagnostic are improving health worldwide: https://www.boditech.co.kr/en

Microsoft To Invest Rs 15,000 Crore In Hyderabad Data Center

Software giant Microsoft will set up its largest data centre in India at Hyderabad with an investment of Rs 15,000 crore. The Telangana government and Microsoft on Monday jointly announced the data centre investment which will be Microsoft’s largest data centre region in India.

Microsoft will make the investment over a period of 15 years into the new data centre region spread across three sites – Chandanvelly, Ellikatta, and Kottur. The software giant already has its India development centre in Hyderabad, which is its largest in the world outside its headquarters in the US. The new data center in Hyderabad will deliver advanced data security and cloud solutions that will help enterprises, start-ups, developers, education, and government institutions.

The announcement was made in the presence of Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar, and Telangana’s Information Technology Minister K.T. Rama Rao and Principal Secretary, ITE&C, Jayesh Ranjan. The event was also attended by Microsoft’s Executive Vice President, Jean-Philippe Courtois and Microsoft India President, Anant Maheshwari.

The Hyderabad data centre region is another addition to the existing network of 3 regions in India across Pune, Mumbai, and Chennai, which have been operational for more than five years.

K.T. Rama Rao called it an iconic moment in the development story of Telangana. “This will be one of the largest FDIs that Telangana has attracted; Will indirectly support local business growth and facilitate job creation across IT operations, facilities management, data and network security, network engineering and much more,” he tweeted.

Through the data center region, Microsoft will enable opportunities for local businesses to innovate with Microsoft Cloud services in Hyderabad and across Telangana.

Telangana and Microsoft have earlier entered an MoU that will positively reinforce the state government’s capabilities to enhance its citizen service capabilities. Given the state’s technology driven growth agenda around key sectors like agriculture, healthcare, education, law enforcement and mobility, the Microsoft data centre in the region will push up the local growth.

“Today’s commitment to the people and businesses of India will position the country among the world’s digital leaders. A Microsoft data centre region provides a competitive advantage to our digital economy and is a long-term investment in our country’s potential. The cloud is transforming every industry and sector. The investment in skilling will empower India’s workforce today and into the future,” said Chandrasekhar.

“Microsoft and Telangana go a long way back with Hyderabad hosting one of the largest Microsoft offices in the world and I am happy to see the relationship grow,” said Rama Rao.

Maheshwari noted that cloud services are poised to play a critical role in reimagining the future of business and governance and enabling overall inclusion in the country. “The new data center will augment Microsoft’s cloud capabilities and capacity to support those working across the country. It will also support new entrepreneurial opportunities while meeting critical security and compliance needs. The new data centre region is a testament to our mission to empower the people and organisations of India to achieve more,” he said. (IANS)

Engineers’ Organization And Northwestern University Host Event For Students

Northwestern University’s Master of Engineering Management Student Advisory Board (SAB) and the American Association of Engineers of India Origin (AAEIO) hosted an event on “How to Navigate your career in the post digital world.”

Prof. Mark Werwath, Northwestern University, along with  Azgar Ali, president of MEM Student Advisory Board (SAB) welcomed all guests, AAEIO board members and the distinguished panel. They talked about the need for increased collaboration between students, engineering communities and employers, according to a press release from Asian Media USA.

Gladson Varghese, founder and president of AAEIO detailed how important it was for young engineers to work together and collaborate with other universities, startups and corporate and get experiential learning. He also asked students to join the mission of bringing all engineers under one umbrella and asked them to join the Engineering Student Chapter. This event was the first of its kind for AAEIO collaborating with a university.

Consul General of India, Chicago, Amit Kumar was the chief guest for the event. He spoke of the need for increased global collaboration and some of the recent innovations that are transforming the world. For example, in India, Aristech is leading a revolution on how food storage can be improved, he noted.

Mohanbir Singh Sawhney, PhD, Associate Dean of Digital innovation, Kellogg School of Management was the keynote speaker for the event. He is also an Advisory Board member of the AAEIO. His talk was on “Product Strategy” where he informed the students about the need for product management and its interaction with engineers and how one should think about Product Management, its different career prospects, and how a student can be successful in this field.

Prof. Vinayak P. Dravid, Material Science and Engineering, talked about how research collaboration has made a difference. He also emphasized the need for more AAEIO kind of partnership.

Nitin Maheshwari, vice president, AAEIO, also a Northwestern graduate from Kellogg School of Management and an entrepreneur of Artificial Engineering (AI) based consulting, moderated a highly coveted and diverse panel of distinguished guests on the topic of “How to Navigate your career in post digital world.”

Other discussants included Nag Jaiswal, AAEIO Chair of Membership, Principal Architect, Salesforce and Rajinder Mago, ex-Navistar.

The AAEIO announced a Leadership Excellence Webinar to be held March 19. There was also a ribbon-cutting ceremony to symbolize increased partnership between AAEIO and Northwestern.

TiE Boston Turns 25

TiE Boston, one of the region’s largest organizations supporting the Massachusetts entrepreneurial ecosystem and connecting entrepreneurs, executives, and venture capitalists, turns 25 this year.

“The 25th Anniversary is a rallying point for us, and we’re planning to use this momentum for tremendous growth across all our programs in the years ahead,” said TiE Boston President Anu Chitrapu. “From a simple networking idea 25 years ago, TiE Boston today is leading the startup ecosystem with its signature programs such as TiE Boston Angels, TiE ScaleUp, TiE Young Entrepreneurs and TiE Women.”

TiE Boston is the second oldest chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE). TiE is the world’s largest not-for-profit network dedicated to helping startups grow. In 30 years, the TiE Network has reached 15,000 members across 15 countries and contributed to $250 billion in wealth creation. TiE Chapters around the world have become a vibrant platform for entrepreneurs, professionals, industry leaders, and investors to interact with one another & forge long-lasting relationships.

What started as TiE Atlantic in February 1997 as the dream of 13 Founding Members and only the second TiE Chapter worldwide, has now grown into an unparalleled network of successful, serial entrepreneurs who are deeply engaged and committed to giving back to the community by providing mentorship, tactical advice, and expertise to rising entrepreneurs.

In 2022, TiE Boston offers a full slate of programming to cover the entire cycle of entrepreneurship, from mentoring young entrepreneurs and student entrepreneurs, to taking business to scale through its ScaleUp program that was recognized as the most innovative TiE program worldwide in 2021, investing in companies through its Angels program, and encouraging diversity through Women’s Initiatives.

The 13 founders of TiE Atlantic (TiE Boston), in 1997, were: Sushil Bhatia, Ashok Boghani, Ash Dahod, Samir Desai, Desh Deshpande, Radha Jalan, Ashok Kalelkar, Ramesh Kapur, Ranganath Nayak, Mahendra Patel, Dinesh Patel, Jit Saxena and Rahul Singh. The founders covered a broad spectrum of professions including technology, medicine, consulting and manufacturing.

“TiE started 25 years ago in Boston when Entrepreneurship was in a nascent stage. Twenty- five years later it is amazing to see its impact,” said Desh Deshpande, one of the founders and the first President of TiE Boston. “It has nurtured many entrepreneurs who contribute billions of dollars to the Massachusetts economy and hire thousands of people. TiE is even more relevant today to keep the economy growing and create opportunities for every resident of the state that has been innovative for the last 400 years.”

Samir Desai, the second President and a founding member of TiE Boston, added: “I remember the early days and am very proud of everything that we have jointly accomplished in the last 25 years! The impact of TiE Boston is tremendous and continues to grow.”

Founding member Radha Jalan said: “As a woman entrepreneur in the 90s, TiE gave me an incredible sense of networking and community. I am proud to have started some Women’s Initiatives for TiE Boston and feel a great sense of pride on seeing how well they have integrated women entrepreneurs into the ecosystem.”

To commemorate the 25th Year, TiE Boston has planned several events to acknowledge the founders, sponsors, members and program participants. The first is a series of fireside chats with each of the Founders. A grand Gala for members will be held in the summer of 2022. Over the course of the next few months, TiE Boston will bring together its Founders and current Charter Members to explore the history of TiE Boston, the road ahead, and unchartered paths decidedly taken by entrepreneurial change makers and trailblazers.

The chapter of The Indus Entrepreneurs, or TiE. It is one of the region’s largest and oldest organizations supporting the Massachusetts entrepreneurial ecosystem, focused on supporting entrepreneurs throughout their lifecycle — from ideation to creation, through growth, wealth creation and ultimately, support of future founders.TiE is the world’s largest not-for-profit network dedicated to helping startups grow. In 30 years, the TiE Global Network has reached 15,000 members across 15 countries and contributed to $250 billion in wealth creation. TiE Chapters around the world have become a vibrant platform for entrepreneurs, professionals, industry leaders, and investors to interact with one another & forge long-lasting relationships. For more information about TiE Boston, visit https://www.tieboston.org/.

Sundar Pichai Unveils $100 Million Google Career Certificates Fund

Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced a new $100 million Google Career Certificates Fund to prepare a skilled workforce for high-paying, high-growth jobs in fields like data analytics, IT support, project management and user experience design.

The goal, he said, is to enable ‘Social Finance’ to reach more than 20,000 American workers.

“This investment in America’s future has the potential to drive $1 billion in wage gains,” Pichai said in a statement late on Thursday.

Nearly 70,000 Americans have completed Google Career Certificates to date. “They are available to anyone, no college degree required. Seventy-five percent of graduates report seeing a positive impact on their career within six months, including a raise or a new job,” Pichai added.

He announced the fund at an event with US Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Alejandra Castillo, and the CEOs of Social Finance, Merit America and Year Up.

“A sense of purpose and optimism is what brought me to America nearly 30 years ago. And it’s what drew me to Google and its mission to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful,” said Pichai.

Google’s digital skills program has also helped train 8 million Americans in all 50 states in the US. “We’ll invest Google capital and Google.org grants and provide our Career Certificate program. We’ll connect students to an employer consortium of more than 150 companies who are looking to hire workers with these skills,” Pichai noted.

It’s all designed around student success and they will receive all of this at no upfront cost, “and will only pay it back once they find a job earning at least $40,000 a year”. (IANS)

ASEI To Honor Engineers, Scientists And Community Leaders At Its 34th National Convention Finale Awards Event

American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) is hosting the awards event for its 34th Annual National Convention focusing on Sustainable Technology Innovations (STI-2022). This virtual convention was held successfully on January 15th and 16th, 2022 and an award event was announced to be held on Feb 27th,2022 with honorable guests Indian Ambassador to US Mr Taranjit Singh Sandhu and Indian Consul General San Francisco Dr. TV Nagendra Prasad. The keynote speaker at the virtual program is Dr. Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande, Founder and Chairman, Sparta Group and Sycamore Networks, who will also be honored with ASEI Lifetime Achievement Award.

This convention comprising Aerospace Symposium, CXO Summit and Youth Technology Exposition (YTE) was put together by ASEI President and Convention Chair Piyush Malik along with Aerospace Symposium Co-chairs Dr. Shreekant Agrawal and Dr. Ajay Kothari, CXO Summit Co-Chair Surbhi Kaul and YTE Co -Chair Dr. Preetha Ram supported by tens of volunteers and over 35 accomplished speakers

The award ceremony for this convention will end with a finale awards ceremony session on Feb27 at 10 am (PST). where 10 outstanding achievers and those who contributed to ASEI growth and the society at large will be honored in addition to student winners of the YTE competition. This year’s outstanding achievement awards go to the following:

ASEI Intrapreneur of the Year – Shalini Govil-Pai, VP & GM, Google TV

Engineer of the Year Award in Technology /Cybersecurity- Bhawana Singh, Senior Vice President, Octa

Engineer of the Year Award in AerospaceTechnology /Robotics- Dr Sreeja Nag, Head of Software Systems Engineering at Nuro and Research Leader at NASA

ASEI will also honor others for their dedicated service to ASEI and Society as follows: Hari B. Bindal ASEI Founders Award – Dr. Thomas Abraham, Chairman of Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO International) & an ASEI life member having served on various ASEI committees over the past 8 years including Public Relations, Election and Awards

ASEI Service Excellence Award – Amrish Chopra, Cloud R&D manager, VMWare and ASEI Board Director who has been dedicated volunteer for many years and helped resurrect the ASEI monthly Newsletter.

COVID had brought our lives to a standstill in 2020 however there were numerous efforts that are helping us get back to normalcy. In the darkest moments, there were bright spots and ASEI will also honor four engineers for their service to society during those trying times with a Special “Engineer with a Heart” Award. Those are: Sanjiv Goyal, Entrepreneur and Angel Investor from Las Vegas for leading efforts of IIT Alumni through “United Against Covid” initiative; Yudhvir Mor, Vice President at Zuora in Noida who mobilized volunteers and efforts to help over 9000 women to find employment following traumatic loss of partner or parent due to Covid; Tarun Kappala, Technical Project Manager at SpringML in Hyderabad who took leave of absence to become an emergency ambulance driver to help victims and families during peak of Covid and provided exemplary service; Divya Ashok, ASEI Board Director from Silicon Valley who led the efforts from her organization Salesforce to organize executive support for two Plane loads of relief materials including Oxygen concentrators

ASEI President Piyush Malik said, “ASEI is a great organization providing a broad platform for the Indian origin engineers, technologists and young scientists providing wide networking and learning opportunities for all engineering professionals as well as to make them engaged in new technologies. ASEI is very pleased to recognize all awardees for their dedication, hard work, and exemplary contribution in their respective fields. We plan to continue with our tradition of acknowledging those who have made outstanding contributions in Science, Technology and Engineering and those who have done extraordinary work to support ASE and society”

Registration to the Award Ceremony is FREE. Pre-register at https://events.r20.constantcontact.com/register/eventReg?oeidk=a07ej17j6pddbe7b23f&oseq=&c=&ch=

The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) is a not-for-profit organization that provides a platform for networking, career advancement, community service, mentoring and technology exchange for professionals, students and businesses in the United States and abroad. Members are guided by several objectives, including the creation of an open, inclusive, and transparent organization; providing positive role models, awarding scholarships, and remaining socially responsible. ASEI was founded in 1983 in Detroit, Michigan. Today, the organization also has chapters in Southern California, Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Washington, DC. For more information, visit: https://aseiusa.org

Dignity In A Digital Age: Making Tech Work For All Of Us

Digital technology has transformed virtually every aspect of human existence. We have online education, telemedicine, remote work, and e-commerce. Many of us spend hours a day online either communicating with other people, reading or watching media, or engaging in digital transactions. Yet there are several problems we must confront as we make this transition to a digital world.

Technology has divided us, fueled misinformation and disinformation, and accentuated inequality. Although digital tools make our lives easier and more convenient in many respects, they also challenge our privacy, security, and personal dignity. All those developments raise interesting questions about the future of technology and how we mitigate various problems.

To discuss these challenges, Congressman Ro Khanna, who represents the Silicon Valley area, in his new book, offers a revolutionary roadmap to facing America’s digital divide, offering greater economic prosperity to all. In Khanna’s vision, “just as people can move to technology, technology can move to people. People need not be compelled to move from one place to another to reap the benefits offered by technological progress” (from the foreword by Amartya Sen, Nobel Laureate in Economics).

In the digital age, unequal access to technology and the revenue it creates is one of the most pressing issues facing the United States. There is an economic gulf between those who have struck gold in the tech industry and those left behind by the digital revolution; a geographic divide between those in the coastal tech industry and those in the heartland whose jobs have been automated; and existing inequalities in technological access—students without computers, rural workers with spotty WiFi, and plenty of workers without the luxury to work from home.

Dignity in the Digital Age tackles these challenges head-on and imagines how the digital economy can create opportunities for people all across the country without uprooting them. Congressman Ro Khanna of Silicon Valley offers a vision for democratizing digital innovation to build economically vibrant and inclusive communities. Instead of being subject to tech’s reshaping of our economy, Representative Khanna argues that we must channel those powerful forces toward creating a more healthy, equal, and democratic society.

Born into an immigrant family, Khanna understands how economic opportunity can change the course of a person’s life. Anchored by an approach Khanna refers to as “progressive capitalism,” he shows how democratizing access to tech can strengthen every sector of economy and culture. By expanding technological jobs nationwide through public and private partnerships, we can close the wealth gap in America and begin to repair the fractured, distrusting relationships that have plagued our country for far too long.

Moving deftly between storytelling, policy, and some of the country’s greatest thinkers in political philosophy and economics, Khanna presents a bold vision we can’t afford to ignore. Dignity in a Digital Age is a roadmap to how we can seek dignity for every American in an era in which technology shapes every aspect of our lives.

ASEI’s 34th National Convention On Sustainable Technology Innovations Held

Fremont, California: The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) hosted its 34th National Convention focusing on Sustainable Technology Innovations (STI-2022) on Jan 15 &16th. The convention consisted of 3 mini-conferences with over 35 speakers spread across two days. The Aerospace Symposium and Youth Technology Exposition were held on the first day while the last day consisted of a power-packed CXO Summit with a number of C-Suite executives sharing their wisdom with over 500 participants from many countries spread across 3 continents. The program details and a souvenir for the convention are available here: http://aseiusa.org/NC.

Kicking off the 34th National Convention, the ASEI President and Convention Chair Piyush Malik along with Dr. Shreekant Agrawal welcomed the delegates on Jan 15th morning at the Aerospace Symposium. Buoyed by the current euphoria of billionaires venturing in spacecrafts and plenty of investments pouring into the sector, the ASEI Aerospace Symposium had a Star Trek like feeling – exploring trends and technologies around four key areas viz. Space Tourism, Living on the Moon, Future of High-Speed Travel and Air Taxis. Former NASA Administrator Dr. Michael D. Griffin gave a heartfelt keynote address sharing his personal stories including those involving Indian food!

At the first panel focusing on High-Speed air travel moderated by Dr. Bala Bharadwaj, the participants learned how as a result of six decades of research on supersonic commercial aircraft design have paved the way for a new era in high-speed travel that is not too far from becoming a reality.  Dr. Vik Kachoria, Dr. Kevin Bowcutt and NASA’s Mary Di Joseph each presented their point of views before engaging in a panel discussion

Living on the moon panel explored getting most efficiently and cheaply to the Moon not only for tourism, but to establish settlements on the Moon, to live and work there. This time, it will be mining for the most important, life sustaining water-ice on the Moon, as well as exploring the lava tubes for habitats. Moderated by Dr. David Livingston, the knowledgeable expert panelists Dr. Bhavya Lal, Prof. Haym Benoroya and Dr. Ajay Kothari shared their vision

During the Space Access & Tourism session, the panelists Dr. Kelley Weinershith, Mr. Richard French and Dr. David Livingston were engaged in a lively discussion by Dr. Kavya Manyapu. They spoke how cheaper and more frequent space access as offered by startups like Rocket Lab and Astra have shown a path to help humanity benefit from Space by their launches of smaller satellites to near Earth orbits, thus helping improve life on Earth. All these developments of late are what dreams can be made of now. With the advent and successful deployment of reusable rockets, these dreams will be in the grasp of many in the coming decade.

Flying cars have been in many dreams for a long time. The business potential for air taxis is expected to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2040.  All of this is possible now because of new and emerging technologies, including new batteries, autonomous operations, and advanced manufacturing.

Co-chairs Dr Shreekant Agrawal and Dr Ajay Kothari helped put the Symposium together with the help of speakers and volunteers. We hope to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers through this and our other programmes.

Youth Technology Exposition

ASEI has always supported STEM and youth empowerment initiatives. Our University Connect and STEM programs intersect at the YTE event.  The YTE is intended to provide a forum for young engineers and scientists to showcase their work in the areas of engineering and emerging technologies. Adapting to Covid times where we can.t meet in person to see science fair projects and interact with students and to recognize deserving students, we invited young scientists and engineering students to participate in our flagship YTE during this virtual ASEI 34th National Convention.

The afternoon of Jan 15th was reserved for the finals of Youth Technology Exposition. The YTE is a flagship STEM programme at ASEI where students participate with their science fair, engineering or innovation projects. The preliminary rounds conducted early in a calendar year by each ASEI chapter select a handful of winners from Grade 9 thru 12. As the year progresses and the National Convention nears, the competition heats up as well. The YTE finalists are selected from the preliminary rounds and asked to showcase their projects as well as face live Q&A form the YTE judges. This time, we had multiple entries from only our traditionally strong chapters of Silicon Valley and Michigan, but also from Florida and India. Dr. Preetha Ram aided by Mythli Srinivasan and Geetha Arun judged the finals. The top 3 prize winning entries were:

3rd Place

Creating a Haptic 4D model along with machine learning analysis by developing a Non-invasive pressure mapping method to screen Genital Skin Cancer by Sidharth Jain and Aasimm Khan from Mumbai, India

2nd Place

A Multistep, ML-Based Predictor of Parkinson’s Disease Progression Using GWAS, Patient Symptoms, and Gene Expression Data by Isha Jagadish from Saratoga, California

1st Place

A Physical Device to Help the Visually Impaired Read Money Using AI/Machine Learning in Third World Countries by Nidhi Mathihali from Saratoga, California

CXO Summit

The final day of the convention (Jan 16th) featured a CXO Summit where the invited speakers gave talks on latest emerging trends, as well as the audience engaged with them during CTO and CEO fireside chats and CIO panel.

ASEI president Piyush Malik welcomed the CXO summit delegates with a recap of the Aerospace Summit as well as a “State of the union” address about the ASEI’s growth and expansion of free programs and outreach for members and students during the Covid lockdowns in 2020/2021. He also talked about how Innovation and sustainable technologies are the imperatives for survival in the next decade.  From adaptive sustainable supply chains to becoming carbon neutral to adopting mandates emerging from United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, leaders across industries and organizations are forced to be prepared for the unexpected and he hoped that this Convention would encourage dialogue as well as solutions in this matter.

Opening keynote by City of Fremont Mayor Lily Mei highlighted how much infusion of advanced technology, AI, IOT etc.  have made Fremont grow with safety, sustainability and Innovation into a Smart City.

Veteran philanthropist and venture capitalist MR Rangaswami captivated the audience with his whirlwind tour of 40 years’ journey of Indian engineers from the trenches to the corner office in the US. Citing numerous success stories from his chapter in the book “Kamala Harris and the rise of Indian Americans”, he engaged with audience questions as well.

CXO Symposium Co-chair Surbhi Kaul engaged Juniper networks CTO Dr Raj Yavatkar in an interesting chat answering questions like “How leadership fosters Innovation in large organizations? And how does one go from being an individual contributor to a technology leader and ultimately a C-Suite executive? “

There was an innovation and sustainability panel moderated by Kunal Sood with three women speakers from across 3 continents that generated a lot of interesting discussions. What are public and corporate leaders doing in this realm of sustainability and innovation and how are they supporting the commercial entities within their jurisdiction. This panel of CXOs, academics and influential leaders explored these and more.

In a fireside chat with Piyush Malik, the founder and CEO of Automotive disruptor Techion, Jay Vijayan shared his nuggets of wisdom from his journey as Tesla’s first CIO to the founder of a 3x Unicorn.  “Stay customer obsessed, focus on what value you bring and don’t compromise on your values!”

Sandy Carter, an industry category creator as well as a marketing powerhouse lived upto her reputation as the “Energizer Bunny” while sharing her journey from engineering school to MBA and Senior Executive ranks across her career from IBM to Amazon to now a Web3 pioneer Unstoppable. Her talk “Going down the Web 3 Rabbit hole” was an overview to those interested in web3, NFTs, Crypto and Metaverse and generated a lot of audience enthusiasmNext, four CIOs led by Raman Mehta from Johnson Electric, Dr. Soma Venkat from Cooper Standard, JP Saini from Sunbelt Rentals and Karuna Annavajjala from Silicon Labs shared their view of post pandemic enterprise IT and the role CIOs play in the innovation agenda. This was followed by Award announcements and an informal networking session where all participants were able to come on camera and interact with the speakers and organizers.

The objective of this convention has been to provide a forum to promote and share advancements related to latest cutting-edge innovations and technologies across various engineering disciplines. The convention achieved the highest registration of any event in ASEI history and was attended by over 500 professionals each day including scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, and corporate leaders across the USA. This two-day event featured keynotes and multiple interactive sessions with prominent business and technology leaders, scientists, media personalities, educators, policy makers, and venture capitalists

In accordance with ASEI tradition of recognizing exceptional engineers and scientists as well as ASEI volunteers, the ASEI awards will be given out for following categories: ASEI Lifetime Achievement, Hari B. Bindal ASEI Founder’s Award, ASEI Entrepreneur/Intrapreneur of the Year, ASEI Engineer/Scientist of the Year, ASEI Service Excellence and ASEI Special Awards

The awards ceremony will take place on Feb 27th,2022 where the honorable guests include Indian Ambassador Taranjit Singh Sandhu from Washington, DC and Indian Consul General in San Francisco Dr. TV Nagendra Prasad. All award winners will be felicitated along with speakers and volunteers. This event is open for all but pre-registration is required at www.aseiusa.org

The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) is a not-for-profit organization that provides a platform for networking, career advancement, community service, mentoring and technology exchange for professionals, students and businesses in the United States and abroad. Members are guided by several objectives, including the creation of an open, inclusive, and transparent organization, providing positive role models, awarding scholarships, and remaining socially responsible. ASEI was founded in 1983 in Detroit, Michigan. Today, the organization also has chapters in Detroit, Southern California, Silicon Valley, Seattle, and Washington, DC. For more information, visit: https://aseiusa.org/

Indian Union Budget Reveals Importance Of Cryptocurrency

At last, it is a piece of surprising news that Digital currency is also being introduced in the Indian fiduciary system as part of yet another dream project of Digital India. The Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman and the  Governor of the Central Bank of India had elaborated on this. We have heard earlier that the Indian Government was also making a move to ban foreign digital currencies in the country. The Central Bank is in the process of making an official announcement soon on its development model of digital currency (CBDC). Nirmala Sitharaman has said that the Indian Digital Rupee will be launched using blockchain technology in the financial year 2022-23.

Anyway, the Supreme Court made a favorable ruling in favor of lifting the Reserve Bank’s ban on crypto use. This ruling created a new wave among Indian investors and led to a rapid rise in retail. At the same time, investors are optimistic about the central bank and the emergence of digital currencies.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced in her budget speech that the distribution of digital currency would begin. But there are widespread doubts about what a digital rupee is. The announcement comes at a time when the central Government is considering a strong policy to curb the misuse of cryptocurrencies. At the Republican Economic Summit in November 2021, Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Electronics & IT, hinted at the introduction of an official digital currency.

 What is Digital Rupee?

The digital currency of the Reserve Bank of India will be based on blockchain technology, the technology behind Bitcoin, and other popular cryptocurrencies. According to the Finance Minister, this will pave a more efficient and cost-effective currency management system. However, the future of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is unclear.

The RBI has already been keenly watching the performance of major economies worldwide and their respective central banks for CBDC schemes. As a result, the central bank has almost decided on the issue of official digital currency. While the Reserve Bank mentions the need for central banking digital currency (CBDC), it also makes it clear that the government is concerned about the risks surrounding other cryptocurrencies. Why has the government not yet officially banned such currencies? Why did the Supreme Court overturn the ban on banks operating cryptocurrencies? The questions are numerous.

As economists fear that cryptocurrency is one of the most widely used dangerous currencies globally, without any government control. It can also be described as a private currency and minting huge profits sometimes. All of these operate with the support of some unknown sovereign guarantees. No country provides any security. For example, a Rs.500 Indian currency note!. The Reserve Bank Governor guarantees on  500 currency note. Even if it is paper, the RBI pays for it. But governments do not ensure the value of digital currencies like Bitcoin.

However, we know that the value of crypto like Bitcoin is supported by complex programming. No one or any government can change it individually, and it involves multiple checks at multiple computer servers worldwide, related to its value. Therefore, the easiest way to understand digital currency  is to use a digital currency that can only be transferred from one person to another via the Internet on platforms like Coinbase.

However, the RBI is not the first financial institution in the world to make such a drastic move. Reports indicate that India is far behind its technological  derivatives  in terms of crypto controls. We were hearing that China has been working on this for so many  years;  supported by the Chinese Central Bank and government approval. The Chinese widely use digital currency for e-commerce portals, offline shops, and other outlets through smartphones.

However, there is a difference between CBDC and cryptocurrency as the latter has some basic features. Those features cannot be copied to digital currencies. Cryptocurrencies, by nature, operate on the basic principle of anonymity. The exciting part is that the details of the seller and the buyer cannot be tracked. But beware,  in the case of a digital currency released by the central bank will have a whole tracking system, just like a standard currency. This is the kind of digital currency used in China. This ensures that transactions will take place under the supervision of the government. Go ahead Digital India!

Satya Nadella Ranked Top Among CEOs In Brand Finance List

The Brand Finance Brand Guardianship Index has ranked Microsoft boss, Satya Nadella, as the top CEO in the world.

Nadella, a first-generation Indian immigrant to the US, “has been credited with overhauling Microsoft’s fortunes by changing its culture towards one of teamwork, innovation, and inclusivity, and instilling a growth mindset throughout the business”.

Three other Indian-origin expat CEOs rank high: Sundar Pichai of Google is at 5, Shantanu Narayan of Adobe at 6, and Puneet Renjen of Deloitte at 14.

  1. Chandrasekhar of the Tatas is at 25 in the list and Anand Mahindra of M&M and Mukesh Ambani of Reliance are at 41 and 42, respectively. State Bank of India’s Dinesh Kumar Khara is at 46.

The top 10 of the Brand Finance ranking is dominated by CEOs (referred to repeatedly as brand guardians) from the tech and media sectors.

Tech boasts six of the top ten – Tim Cook is in second place, having overseen Apple become the first to hit a $3 trillion market valuation.

Cook is followed by CEOs of household tech names: Tencent’s Huateng Ma at 4, Pichai at 5, and Netflix’s Reed Hastings at 7.

AMD CEO Lisa Su is a new entrant at 10. This makes her the highest-ranked female.

She newly qualifies for the ranking as AMD has propelled into the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 after a 122 per cent brand value growth over the past year.

Su steered AMD through a global chip shortage during the pandemic and came out the other side boasting record revenues.

Her leadership of a tech company is unfortunately a rarity, with most being run by males.

This is reflected in the ranking, as the rise in the number of tech brands has come hand in hand with a decrease in the number of female CEOs in the top 100 – from eight in 2021 to five this year.

At a country level, the index mirrors the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking, with the US and China leading the way. There are 101 CEOs from the US, which represents 40 per cent of the index, and 47 from China, which represents 19 per cent.

Brand guardians from these two countries head up a number of key sectors: Jianjun Wei of Great Wall in Automobiles at 3, Patricia Griffith of Progressive Insurance at 11, Xiongjun Ding of Moutai Spirits at 12, and Baoan Xin of State Grid Utilities at 13.

Among the Americans, Brian Moynihan of Bank of America is at 16, Ramon Laguarta of Pepsi at 17, Andy Jassy of Amazon is at 23.

The highest-ranked CEO outside of the US and China monopoly is ADNOC brand guardian Sultan Al Jaber at 15. He is also the top-scoring leader in the oil and gas sector. Aside from ADNOC, Sultan holds senior positions in the UAE government, and in promoting the diversification and growth of the UAE economy.

CEOs of the three UAE brands from the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking all feature and record higher scores than last year, with Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum of Emirates at 34th and Etisalat’s Hatem Dowidar at 79.

Apple has retained the title of the world’s most valuable brand following a 35 per cent increase to $355.1 billion – the highest brand value ever recorded in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking.

Apple used 2022 to be effective to a much broader range of services. The iPhone still accounts for around half of the brand’s sales. However, this year saw Apple give more attention to its other suite of products with a new generation of iPads, an overhaul to the iMac, and introduction of AirTags. Its range of services, from Apple Pay to Apple TV, has had increasing importance to the brand’s success, the report noted.

“Privacy and the environment are salient topics, and Apple bolstered its credentials on both fronts. This is evidenced by a greater transparency of the App Store’s privacy policy, reinforcing the trust customers have in the brand, and the announcement that more of Apple’s manufacturing partners will be moving to 100 percent renewable energy, as the company aims to reach carbon neutrality by 2030.”

Tripling in brand value over the past year, TikTok is the world’s fastest-growing brand. With 215 per cent growth, the app’s brand value has increased from $18.7 billion in 2021 to $59.0 billion. Claiming 18th spot among the world’s top 500 most valuable brands, TikTok is the highest new entrant to the Brand Finance Global 500 2022 ranking.

Overall, media brands accounted for the top 3 fastest-growing brands in the ranking – with another social media app, Snapchat, brand value up 184 per cent to $6.6 billion and South Korean internet brand Kakao, brand value up 161% to $4.7 billion, following closely behind TikTok.

Snapchat saw increased daily usage and revenues grow by 77 per cent in the first 9 months of 2021, with the popularity of its short-form video feature, Spotlight, being a key driver.

Other notable performers from the media sector include those that offer streaming services, with Disney (brand value up 11 per cent to $57.0 billion), Netflix (brand value up 18 per cent $29.4 billion), YouTube (brand value up 38 per cent to $23.9 billion), and Spotify (brand value up 13 per cent to $6.3 billion).

Traditional media brands have seen a continued decline, with people favouring social media platforms and on-demand streaming in their place.

The tech sector remained the most valuable in the Brand Finance Global 500 ranking, with a cumulative brand value of close to $1.3 trillion. In total, 50 tech brands feature in the ranking, however, the brand value is largely attributable to three big players, with Apple, Microsoft (brand value $184.2 billion), and Samsung Group (brand value $107.3 billion) together accounting for more than 50 per cent of the total brand value in the sector.

Closely behind them, Huawei managed to reclaim its place among the top 10 most valuable brands in the world, following 29 per cent growth to $71.2 billion. Huawei’s smartphone business was hit by US sanctions, but it reacted positively by heavily stepping up investment in both domestic technology companies and R&D, as well as turning its focus to cloud services.

Brand Finance is an independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy headquartered in London.

Hitting Net-Zero Without Stopping Flying

One of the largest producers of carbon emissions is air travel, yet many view flying as a necessary enabler of tourism and international business. One promising way for consumers to take responsibility for their carbon emissions are voluntary carbon offsets (VCOs), which offer air travellers the opportunity to make a small donation to neutralise their carbon footprint. Yet there are conflicting recommendations as to how to encourage consumers to opt into these green initiatives.

Researchers from Copenhagen Business School designed three online experiments to test strategies for increasing consumer participation, which contribute to the aviation carbon offset literature and offer useful new insights for airline companies.

In this study the researchers argue that VCOs have the potential to balance the practical need for air travel with the larger considerations of sustainability, yet current VCO programmes are not effective.

“Despite their potential, few existing studies have explained how to present VCOs so they can effectively appeal to the sensibilities of individual travellers with different travel requirements. More broadly, more participation in VCOs may also increase collective awareness and creates market pressure on institutions to decide to behave responsibly,” says Associate Professor Qiqi Jiang, Department of Digitalization, Copenhagen Business School.

The main findings

The evidence from the research shows that travellers booking flights in the near future are more likely to opt-in to VCOs when they are presented with concrete messages that emphasise specific actions.

In contrast, the research found that travellers flying in the distant future are more likely to opt-in to VCOs when they are presented with abstract messages that emphasise general initiatives.

“We also found choice is useful, especially for those travellers  flying in the near future and receiving concrete messages,” adds Qiqi Jiang.

Specifically, the study suggests that airlines should adjust the presentation of VCO programmes according to the temporal distance to the flight during booking and provide travellers opportunities to select their preferred way to neutralise their carbon footprint.

The study has been published in the Journal of Travel Research.

Promoting sustainable behaviors

“At present, most airlines present only one project that individuals can support with their VCO contribution. Our findings highlight specific conditions (consumers booking flights in the near future) in which multiple options can help encourage consumers to opt in,” says co-author Associate Professor Rob Gleasure, Department of Digitalization, Copenhagen Business School.

The researchers point to the fact that current research on VCO mainly focuses on how personal attributes affect intention to opt into VCO. For example, a certain socioeconomic status or psychological factors were found to significantly influence individual willingness to opt into VCO. Besides, some studies discussed which remedies, e.g., reforestation, renewable energy or helping local communities, can best promote VCO opt-in for specific groups of users. Despite the importance of these findings, the researchers argue they offer limited practical value for practitioners in aviation, as much of the insights require extensive personal data.

“Our proposed strategies only require the airlines to know the date of the flight being booked and provide the options to offset carbon footprint,” adds Rob Gleasure.

Creating actionable solutions

The findings afford actionable solutions for both airline companies and policymakers. “For airline companies, they can adopt our suggestions on the dynamic presentation of VCO messages to increase the likelihood of VCO opt-in. Consequently, the airline companies can raise more money from VCOs to fight against the climate challenge and boost social responsibility. Growing adoption of VCOs may also highlight the practice and motivate policymakers to enforce additional regulation on corporate VCO projects and expenditures,” adds Qiqi Jiang.

In addition to the practical focus of the research, the researchers highlight that much of what persuades consumers to opt into sustainable behaviours is not the projects themselves but the manner in which they are presented.

“We also reconcile some contradictory advice by showing why appealing to principles is useful in some circumstances and not in others, why providing details is useful in some circumstances and not in others, and why providing options is useful in some circumstances and not in others. This helps to accommodate a range of green causes and users with different values and interests,” Qiqi Jiang concludes.

Neighborhood Socioeconomic Status May Impact Patient Outcomes after Heart Surgery

US Embassy Greets Jaffrey, Nadella And Pichai For Padma Awards

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who were recently named for Padma Bhushan, responded to the development with utmost gratitude. While Nadella stated that it was an honour to receive the award, Pichai stated that he was humbled by it.

Both Nadella and Pichai were announced as the recipients of India’s third-highest civilian award, Padma Bhushan, on the eve of Republic Day. Both the CEOs were named under the Trade and Industry category.

Nadella took to Twitter to convey his gratitude for the honour.
“It’s an honor to receive a Padma Bhushan Award and to be recognised with so many extraordinary people. I’m thankful to the President, Prime Minister, and people of India, and look forward to continuing to work with people across India to help them use technology to achieve more,” Nadella said in his tweet.

On the other hand, a report in MoneyControl stated that Pichai had issued a statement saying, “I am deeply grateful to the Padma Awards Committee, the President and Prime Minister, as well as the people of India for this honour. It’s made all the more meaningful to be among this esteemed group of individuals who have each had a profound impact on their fields and communities, and I am humbled to receive this award alongside them.”
Although Pichai had not tweeted about the awards, he was seen liking congratulatory tweets.

Following the announcement, Indian Embassy in the US had congratulated both Nadella and Pichai along with culinary expert Madhur Jaffrey, another recipient of the prestigious award.

In 2014, Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as CEO of the Seattle-headquartered giant. He took charge at Microsoft at a time when the personal computer-focused company was struggling to make the shift to a world of mobile-led computing and was steeped in corporate culture that accorded primacy to internal competitiveness.

Pichai began his career as a materials engineer. After a short stint at the consulting firm McKinsey & Co, he joined Google in 2004. On August 10, 2015, he was selected as the next CEO of Google after previously being appointed Product Chief by CEO Larry Page.

India Now 2nd Largest Mobile Handset Manufacturer In The World

Amitabh Kant, CEO at NITI Aayog has informed that India has emerged as the second largest manufacturer of mobile handsets in the world in terms of volume.

We have got used to the fact that every day there are numerous updates on the latest launches of smartphones in India. Mobile companies like Samsung, Realme, Oppo, Xiaomi, among others have already launched a few models while many are lined up. However, there is some other good news as far as mobile phone manufacturing is concerned. India has emerged as the second largest manufacturer of mobile handsets in the world in terms of volume. As per the information provided by Amitabh Kant, CEO at NITI Aayog, over 200 units are manufacturing cellular mobile phones, up from only 2 units in the year 2014.

He further added that production has gone up from 6 crore mobile phones in 2014-15 to approximately 30 crore mobile phones in 2020-21. “India has emerged as the 2nd largest manufacturer of mobile handsets in the world in volume terms. Over 200 units are manufacturing cellular mobile phones up from only 2 units in 2014. Production has gone up from 6 Cr mobile ph in 2014-15 to app 30 Cr mobile phones in 2020-21.Gr8,” he tweeted.

To make sure these gains are used for further growth, recently, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, released the 2nd Volume of Vision Document on Electronics Manufacturing. The document contains a five-year roadmap and vision for the electronics sector.

The document has been released by the ministry in association with ICEA, and is titled “$300 bn Sustainable Electronics Manufacturing & Exports by 2026.”

This report provides a year-wise break-up and production projections for the various products that will lead to India’s transformation into a USD300 billion electronics manufacturing powerhouse, from the current USD75 billion.

Amongst the key products that are expected to lead India’s growth in electronics manufacturing include Mobile Phones, IT Hardware (laptops, tablets), Consumer electronics (TV and audio), Industrial electronics, Auto electronics, Electronic components, LED Lighting, Strategic electronics, PCBA, Wearables and hearables, and Telecom equipment.

As per the information provided by the ministry, mobile manufacturing is expected to cross USD100 billion annual production – up from the current USD30 billion – is expected to constitute nearly 40 percent of this growth.

The domestic market is expected to increase from USD65 billion to US$180 billion over the next 5 years. This will make electronics amongst India’s 2-3 top ranking exports by 2026.

The five-part strategy to reach the USD300 billion goal, based on an “all of the government” approach, sharply focuses on broadening and deepening electronics manufacturing in India. This will be done by building competitiveness and scale by attracting global electronics manufacturers/brands, shifting and developing sub-assemblies and component ecosystem, building a design ecosystem, nurturing Indian champions and steadily removing cost disabilities faced by India.

It can be known that the USD300 billion electronics manufacturing comes on the back of USD10 billion PLI Scheme announced by the government to propel forward the Semiconductor and Display ecosystem. The government has committed nearly USD17 billion over the next 6 years across four PLI Schemes – Semiconductor and Design, Smartphones, IT Hardware and Components.

Expert CEO Forum at 15th AAPI Global Healthcare Summit 2022 in Hyderabad Urges Modi Govt. to Appoint an Indian Preventive Task Force (IPTF) and Conduct Annual Preventive Healthcare Screenings Nationwide.

Hyderabad: January 18th, 2022: The Healthcare industry in India and worldwide is rapidly changing, leading to many describing the healthcare environment as dynamic, complex, and highly uncertain. How the health care environment is perceived and characterized is vital for several reasons.  In this context, continuing with the traditions on the successful experiences of the past Global Health Summits, the largest ethnic medical organization in the United States, The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) organized the next edition of the influential Healthcare CEOs Forum on January 7th in Hyderabad during the 15th annual Global Healthcare Summit 2022.
During the much anticipated CEOs Forum, a panel of healthcare experts, health industry leaders, opinion makers, and community organizers discussed the significance of promoting Preventive healthcare in India.
The CEO Forum Unanimously approved “An Appeal by AAPI to the Government of India to initiate efforts for creating an Indian Preventive Task Force (IPTF) and conduct annual preventive healthcare screenings nationwide,” benefitting the 1.4 billion people in India.
“We are excited to welcome you to the 15th Global Healthcare Summit and this elite panel of experts and physicians and healthcare industry leaders from India and the United States, offering an excellent platform to brainstorm and explore ways to focus on the theme, “Transformation of Healthcare through Telehealth and Technology usage during this post-Covid Era,” and to have an opportunity to recommend possible ways to plan and implement preventive medicine that will save resources and precious human lives,” said Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, President of AAPI.
Prof. Joseph Chalil, Chair of AAPI’s CEO Form, who organized such an elite panel of healthcare leaders, said, “AAPI, under the guidance of President Dr. Anupama Gotimukula, would like to collaborate with the Healthcare leaders in proposing the creation of an Indian Preventive Task Force (IPTF). IPTF guidelines should be promoted and implemented as part of the annual physical exam or telemedicine visit at government hospitals and primary care centers. We envision a great future for our country with the direct result of complex interactions at this forum with your assistance, guidance, and experience.”
Analyzing and assimilating the diverse and expert views expressed by the renowned speakers at the CEO Forum regarding the current state of healthcare in India, the CEO Forum provided a great stage to interact with a varied and distinct group of individuals and corporations, and comprehend the complex dynamics of the commerce of health care enterprise.
“At the CEO forum, AAPI is excited to perceive, debate, and walk towards a common goal of “Preventive medicine is better than Cure.”  We intend to promote preventive care guidelines in India by collaborating with Indian Physicians, Pharmaceutical companies, modern diagnostic labs, medical device companies, robust hospital chains, and public health experts,” Prof (Dr) Joseph M. Chalil, Chair of the Complex Health Systems advisory board at Nova Southeastern University’s School of Business; Chairman of the Indo-American Press Club and The Universal News Network publisher, added.
In her eloquent keynote address, Dr. Sangita Reddy, a Global Healthcare Leader, Indian Entrepreneur, and Humanitarian, is the Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited – Asia’s largest and most trusted healthcare group, shared her passion for the care of the masses, using technology to reach out. Her conviction in using the Internet for patient management was substantiated by an MOU signed between Apollo Hospitals and AAPI for Telemedicine for Second Opinions. “Healthcare is in the center stage as never been before. Let us work together to bring about the transformation in healthcare. Technology is the great growling engine of change and transformation. It transforms quietly and silently,” she said.
Attended by a record 17 senior leaders from the healthcare industry, several challenges were addressed by multiple renowned speakers from the healthcare field, deliberating on the healthcare delivery system in India. Expert panelists who were part of the CEO Forum included: Prof. MD Nalapat, Vice-Chair of Manipal Advanced Research Group; Prof. (Dr.), Joseph M Chalil Global Healthcare Strategist & Best Selling Autor; Dr. Sangita Reddy, Joint Managing Director of Apollo Hospitals Enterprise Limited; Dr. Juby A Jacob-Nara, Vice President, Head of Global Medical- Respiratory Allergy & Gastroenterology (Sanofi-Genzyme); Dr. Anuj Maheshwari, the current Governor of the American College of Physicians India Chapter and the Vice President of Research Society for Study of Diabetes in India (RSSDI);
Dr. Gurava Reddy, Founder & Chairman, Sunshine Hospitals; Dr. Karthik Anantharaman Chief Operating Officer, Karnataka cluster of Roche India; Dr. Vikas Bhatia, Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, and the founder, Dean of AIIMS Bhubaneshwar; Gaurav Agarwal, Managing Director of IITPL and co-founder of Involution Healthcare Pvt. Ltd; Shekhar Sattiraju, Senior Director – Takeda Pharmaceuticals, USA; Dr. Aarti Shah, Trustee, SRLC-USA; former senior VP of Eli Lilly; Dr. Neyas Mohammed, Chairman, AEC GROUP; Dr. Murthy Gokula, CEO & Founder, Global Tele Clinics; Dr. Venkat Ramana Sudigali, Founder-Director Excell Multispeciality Hospital, Hyderabad; Mr. Narayana Rao Sripada, Founder/CTO, Salcit Technologies Pvt. Ltd; and Ravi Gopalan, President & CEO of Argusoft India Ltd.
The CEO Forum unanimously approved “An Appeal by AAPI to the Government of India to initiate efforts for creating an Indian Preventive Task Force and conduct annual preventive healthcare screenings nationwide.” And an appeal was signed by the panelists to be submitted to the Honorable Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, and India’s Ministry of Health.
“We urge the Government of India to appoint an expert panel of nationally recognized experts in the disciplines of preventive medicine and primary care,  including Internal medicine, Family medicine, Geriatrics, Pediatrics, Preventive medicine, Behavioural, Critical Care medicine, public health, mental health, obstetrics and gynecology, and nursing to create an Indian Preventive Task Force (IPTF),” the Panelists on the CEO Forum wrote to the Government of India.
Urging the Government of India to encourage private hospitals and insurance companies to provide Annual Physical exams, or Telehealth visits at an affordable cost to patients, the CEO Forum members stated, “many routine lab tests, vaccinations, blood pressure checks, and some cancer screenings like self-breast examination can be done remotely and even at patients’ homes with the help of Asha workers.”
“ We believe, the largest democracy in the world needs urgent investment in the preventive health of all its citizens and grassroots level reforms of the public healthcare system,” the letter to the Government of India, pointed out. “AAPI will be happy to collaborate with the appropriate authority of the Government of India to support India in its efforts to provide one of the best healthcare systems in the world.”
With the changing trends and statistics in healthcare, both in India and US, we are refocusing our mission and vision, AAPI would like to make a positive and  meaningful impact on the healthcare delivery system both in the US and in India,” said Dr. Gotimukula.
American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI), the largest ethnic physician organization in the United States, representing over 100,000 Indian American Physicians, has initiated preventive healthcare screenings in 75 Indian villages to diagnose any silent diseases, which are causing premature deaths from Diabetes, Hypertension, Renal disease,  Coronary heart disease and cancers like Breast cancer, cervical cancer, which are preventable if diagnosed early through these annual screenings.
For more information on Global Health Summit, please visit: https://summit.aapiusa.org/ceo-forum/  CEO Forum Video: https://youtu.be/t1cw1toalAQ

Apple Helping Indian Kids Learn Art Of Storytelling Via Iphone Camera

Storytelling via photography is an art mastered over the ages and now, young children are being empowered with art by Gurugram’s Museo Camera in partnership with Cupertino-based tech giant Apple and its new-age iPhones in the country.

Founded by renowned photographer Aditya Arya, Museo Camera is the largest not-for-profit photography museum in South East Asia. It has over 18,000 square feet of space dedicated to the art and history of photography. The museum displays a collection of more than 2,500 cameras and other photographic equipment dating back to the 1850s.

The museum partnered with Apple to organise ‘The Art of Storytelling’ — a specially-curated workshop — in collaboration with Saksham Bal Vikas Sanstha and Shiksha Education Centre, charitable organisations committed to providing academic and vocational education to underprivileged children.

The children, aged 8 to 15, participated in the workshop for 12 classes — every Saturday — for about 12 weeks to create photo stories shot on iPhones.

Jiya Amreen, a class 7 student at Shiksha Education Centre, Gurugram, is a shy girl. But armed with an iPhone 12, she feels confident about setting out on the streets of Chakkarpur, Banjara Basti and other areas around Gurugram to capture the landscape with an iPhone.

Asked how she convinced people to pose for her camera, she said: “Initially I used to be fearful while asking people to pose, but I learnt how to convince them by calmly making them understand about the whole thing”.

The workshops were not just limited to taking images but were oriented towards using the mobile phone camera to tell a story. The students were encouraged to engage with their subjects, to explore and create a dialogue with them and to articulate their experiences as thought provoking visuals.

Abhay Yadav, and Krishna Rawat, students of class 8 at the same school said the exercise left them with bountiful knowledge on how to use a camera to tell a story. “Earlier I used to take selfies, but never understood how to make a good frame. Earlier the photos used to be random, now I think before taking a shot,” Yadav told IANS.

“It was a great experience learning. I learnt the skills and nuances of capturing photos,” added Rawat. For both of them, photography is now definitely a career option. The children were given a mix of theory and practical lessons on mobile photography and encouraged to develop their own unique photographic styles.

Arya said he believes in catching the children young for teaching the nuances of photo making. “The skills of photo making should start from the grassroots. Today phones have made capturing photos an easy task, you don’t need to carry big instruments. Earlier, one also had to set and adjust aperture and shutter speed in cameras, but phones have bridged the gap between technology and skills,” Arya told IANS.

Some of the best images clicked by these children on iPhones, along with those from two schools in Rajasthan, are put on display at the #ShotoniPhone exhibition held between December 18-25 at one-of its kind museum. The exhibition also features work by Arya, shot on iPhone 13 Pro Max, in his journey to Ladakh.

“I’m absolutely in love with iPhone 13 Pro Max’s new ultra wide camera lens which captures more details in the low-light conditions. It gave me an added edge while shooting the picturesque moonscapes of Ladakh,” Arya told IANS.

The Night Mode automatically turns on when the camera detects a low-light environment. Depending on how dark the scene is, the iPhone 13 Pro Max might take a Night mode photo quickly, or it might take several seconds.

“After carrying dozens of lenses and heavy equipment during my travels, I feel liberated thanks to the new Avatar of technology, the iPhone,” he added.

Raghavendra Rathore, First Designer To Use NFTS For A Cause

Few people are aware that Raghavendra Rathore studied robotics and created electrical circuits with sensors that mirrored human behaviour. A decade later, he and his colleagues created one of India’s first apps, iCarbon, a smart carbon footprint calculator with links to lessen an individual’s carbon footprint by recommending tree planting. He’s always been at the crossroads of art and technology, including an art (electronic) installation in the early 1990s with recognised names like CK, Cristo, and other eminent art and creative giants to raise money for AMFAR.

Rathore turns his own art into NFTs using exclusive blockchain technology, resulting in art that is genuinely priceless and everlasting. He has also made meticulously designed paintings NFT inspired by the Raghavendra Rathore, Jodhpur, which will be available for purchase. In collaboration with FDCI x Lakme Fashion Week, this series is being released as part of a limited edition NFT on the WazirX NFT marketplace.

“Designers, globally and in India, have started to realise how NFTs can be used to engage with the greater community,” said Vishakha Singh, Co-Founder & VP, WazirX NFT marketplace. The fact that the money will be donated to a worthy cause makes this drop even more precious. Our goal with each release is to add as many use cases as feasible. For producers and collectors, India is a promising NFT market, and this relationship will benefit both parties. We’re excited to have these NFTs available on our platform.”

These NFTs are being generated for the first time ever to promote awareness for the Raghavendra Rathore Foundation (RRF), a certified non-governmental organisation. RRF will get a share of the sale earnings to assist strengthen communities through mentorship programmes, cultural experiences and scholarship possibilities. This is the first time an Indian designer has reinvented the fundraising experience by moving to a digital-first strategy.

The Gurukul School of Design students are honoured and motivated by the NFT. A series where one can acquire unique digital artworks and digital treasures such as apparel, original forms of art, unique experiences, and unique moments in time; now captured, exchanged, and treasured, to build more permanent links. “The relevance of blockchain is something we all need to be aware of, as it will become an integral part of our lives in the not-too-distant future.”

“We must create products and services that are built on this ground-breaking technology.” Raghavendra Rathore is a Bollywood actor. All collectors will receive verification of ownership and authenticity of their purchase.

Who’s Got Your Mail? Google And Microsoft, Mostly

Top providers and the number and percentage of domains using these companies in different sets of domain names

Newswise — Who really sends, receives and, most importantly perhaps, stores your business’ email? Most likely Google and Microsoft, unless you live in China or Russia. And the market share for these two companies keeps growing. 

That’s the conclusion reached by a group of computer scientists at the University of California San Diego, who studied the email service providers used by hundreds of thousands of Internet domains– between 2017 and 2021. 

“Our research team empirically showed the extent to which email has been outsourced and concentrated to a small number of providers and service providers,” said Stefan Savage, a professor in the UC San Diego Department of Computer Science and Engineering and one of the paper’s senior authors. 

The team presented their findings at the Internet Measurement Conference 2021, which took place virtually Nov. 2 to 4, 2021.

This concentration has several consequences: it increases the impact of service failures and data breaches; and it exposes companies and users outside the United States to potential subpoenas from U.S. government agencies. 

A quick explainer of the difference between domains and service providers: The second half of your email address is your company or agency’s domain–for example, ucsd.edu is the domain for the University of California San Diego. The email service provider is the company that, behind the scenes, provides the infrastructure that allows you to send and receive email and stores your messages–so ucsd.edu’s email service is provided by a combination of Google and Microsoft mail services.

As of June 2021, Google and Microsoft are the dominant providers among popular domains, with 28.5% and 10.8% market share, respectively. In comparison, GoDaddy leads the market of providing services for smaller domains, with a 29% market share. The authors also observed a higher level of concentration over time: Google and Microsoft’s market share increased by 2.3% and 2.9%, respectively, since June 2017. 

Some of the growth comes from smaller domains that used to host their own emails. “While self-hosted domains switched to providers across all categories, more than a quarter of them changed their mail provider to Google and Microsoft,” said Alex Liu, a UC San Diego computer science Ph.D. student and the paper’s lead author. 

More affected during outages, data breaches

Concentration of email service providers has led to much bigger service outages. In August and December 2020, global outages affected Gmail and Drive–Gmail alone has an estimated 1.5 billion users. Outlook most recently suffered an outage in October 2021– an estimated 400 million people use the service. 

The concentration of email service providers also puts more people at risk in the event of a data breach. One often-cited example is the Yahoo data breach that exposed at least 500 million user accounts. Recently, a flaw in a Microsoft Exchange protocol has been shown to have leaked hundreds of thousands of credentials. 

 Legal impact

Google and Microsoft, the two dominant US-based email service providers, appear to be in wide use by organizations outside the United States — particularly across Europe, North America, South America, large parts of Asia and, to a lesser extent, Russia. For example, 65% of Brazilian domains in the researchers’ dataset host email with Google or Microsoft. But they are not used in China. 

However, outsourcing email service to US companies can also have legal implications. Under the 2018 CLOUD Act, US-based providers can be legally compelled to provide stored customer data, including e-mail, to US law enforcement agencies, regardless of the location of the data, or of the nationality or residency of the customer using the data. 

Perhaps as a result, Tencent has an overwhelming market share in China, with 41%, as does Yandex in Russia, with 32 %. Both countries have shown that they prefer to keep control over data access. 

In addition, an increasing number of email domains contract with email security providers, such as ProofPoint and Mimecast. These companies can operate as a third-party filter for inbound emails, removing the need to manage security locally. These companies have almost a 7% market share for large commercial companies; and a 17.5% market share for .gov domains. 

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the University of California San Diego, the EU H2020 CONCORDIA project and Google. 

Why Indian-Born CEOs Dominate Silicon Valley

Parag Agrawal, who was appointed this week as Twitter’s CEO, has joined at least a dozen other Indian-born techies in the corner offices of the world’s most influential Silicon Valley companies.

Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Alphabet’s Sundar Pichai, and the top bosses of IBM, Adobe, Palo Alto Networks, VMWare, and Vimeo are all of the Indian descent.

Indian-origin people account for just about 1% of the US population and 6% of Silicon Valley’s workforce – represented in the top brass. Why?

“No other nation in the world ‘trains’ so many citizens in such a gladiatorial manner as India does,” says R Gopalakrishnan, former executive director of Tata Sons and co-author of The Made in India Manager.

“From birth certificates to death certificates, from school admissions to getting jobs, from infrastructural inadequacies to insufficient capacities,” growing up in India equips Indians to be “natural managers,” he adds, quoting the famous Indian corporate strategist C K Prahalad.

The competition and chaos, in other words, make them adaptable problem-solvers – and, he adds, the fact that they often prioritize the professional over the personal helps in an American office culture of overwork.

“These are characteristics of top leaders anywhere in the world,” Mr. Gopalakrishnan says.

Indian-born Silicon Valley CEOs are also part of a four million-strong minority group that is among the wealthiest and most educated in the US.

About a million of them are scientists and engineers. More than 70% of H-1B visas – work permits for foreigners – issued by the US go to Indian software engineers, and 40% of all foreign-born engineers in cities like Seattle are from India.

“This is the result of a drastic shift in US immigration policy in the 1960s,” write the authors of The Other One Percent: Indians in America.

In the wake of the civil rights movement, national-origin quotas were replaced by those that gave preference to skills and family unification. Soon after, highly-educated Indians – scientists, engineers, and doctors at first, and then, overwhelmingly, software programmers – began to arrive in the US.

This cohort of Indian immigrants did not “resemble any other immigrant group from any other nation”, the authors say. They were “triply selected” – not only were they among the upper-caste privileged Indians who could afford to go to a reputed college, but they also belonged to a smaller sliver that could finance a master’s in the US, which many of Silicon Valley’s CEOs possess. And finally, the visa system further narrowed it down to those with specific skills – often in science, technology, engineering, and maths or STEM as the preferred category is known – that meet the US’s “high-end labour market needs”.

“This is the cream of the crop and they are joining companies where the best rise to the top,” says technology entrepreneur and academic Vivek Wadhwa. “The networks they have built [in Silicon Valley] have also given them an advantage – the idea was that they would help each other.”

Mr. Wadhwa adds that many of the India-born CEOs have also worked their way up the company ladder – and this, he believes, gives them a sense of humility that distinguishes them from many founder-CEOs who have been accused of being arrogant and entitled in their vision and management.

Mr. Wadhwa says men like Mr. Nadella and Mr. Pichai also bring a certain amount of caution, reflection, and a “gentler” culture that makes them ideal candidates for the top job – especially at a time when big tech’s reputation has plummeted amid Congressional hearings, rows with foreign governments and the widening gulf between Silicon Valley’s richest and the rest of America.

Their “low-key, non-abrasive leadership” is a huge plus, says Saritha Rai, who covers the tech industry in India for Bloomberg News.

India’s diverse society, with so many customs and languages, “gives them [Indian-born managers] the ability to navigate complex situations, particularly when it comes to scaling organizations,” says Indian-American billionaire businessman and venture capitalist Vinod Khosla, who co-founded Sun Microsystems.  “This plus a ‘hard-work’ ethic sets them up well,” he adds.

There are more obvious reasons as well. The fact that so many Indians can speak English makes it easier for them to integrate into the diverse US tech industry. And Indian education’s emphasis on math and science has created a thriving software industry, training graduates in the right skills, which are further buttressed in top engineering or management schools in the US.

“In other words, the success of Indian-born CEOs in America is as much about what’s right with America – or at least what used to be right before immigration became more restricted after 9/11 – as what’s right with India,” economist Rupa Subramanya recently wrote in Foreign Policy magazine.

The huge backlog in the applications for US green cards, and increasing opportunities in the Indian market have certainly dimmed the allure of a career abroad.

“The American dream is getting replaced with the India-based start-up dream,” Ms. Rai says.

The recent emergence of India’s “unicorns”- companies worth more than a $1bn – suggests that the country is starting to produce major tech companies, experts say. But, they add, it’s too early to tell what global impact they will have.

“India’s start-up ecosystem is relatively young. Role models of successful Indians both in entrepreneurship and in executive ranks have helped a lot but role models take time to spread,” Mr. Khosla says.

But most of the role models are still men – as are almost all of the Indian-born Silicon Valley CEOs. And their rapid rise is not enough reason to expect more diversity from the industry, experts say.  “Women’s representation [in the tech industry] is nowhere close to what it should be,” Ms. Rai says.

Youngest CEO of Fortune 500 Company, Parag Agrawal To Lead Twitter

On Day 1 of Parag Agrawal’s new job as CEO of Twitter, congressional Republicans took a tweet he had posted in 2010 out of context to imply that he’s biased against White people. On Day 2, Twitter unveiled a confusingly worded new policy banning the sharing of “private media,” which drew immediate fire from both left and right.

And that was all before Agrawal was formally introduced as the company’s new CEO at an all-hands meeting Tuesday Nov. 30, 2021, following outgoing CEO Jack Dorsey’s surprise resignation tweet on a Monday that was supposed to be a “day of rest” for Twitter’s employees.

Agrawal, who at 37 becomes the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company, was chosen unanimously to succeed Dorsey by Twitter’s board of directors, according to an official statement Monday. At Tuesday’s all-hands meeting, according to employees who attended, Dorsey emphasized Agrawal’s engineering background and the fact that he rose through the ranks over a decade at Twitter in touting him as the ideal choice to lead the influential social media firm.

Yet several current and former employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters, said Agrawal was an unexpected choice internally – though not necessarily an unwelcome one – for one of the most fraught leadership roles in Silicon Valley. Having joined Twitter before completing his Ph.D. program at Stanford University in 2011, he spent much of his tenure there with zero direct reports, two of those employees said.

As chief technology officer, he also had limited experience handling the thorny questions of content policy – what people are allowed to post on social media – that make Twitter an influential force in global discourse and a target of criticism and regulation by governments and political actors around the world.

“Agrawal has to sort out how Twitter should respond to a fusillade of bills in Congress seeking to rein in social media companies and a new [Federal Trade Commission] chairwoman who has painted a target on the prominent platforms,” as well as attacks from former president Donald Trump and the right, said Paul Barrett, deputy director of the New York University Stern Center for Business and Human Rights, in an email. If Trump runs again, “pressure to reinstate him will be enormous. Impressive engineering chops won’t resolve that problem.”

Instead, insiders say, his formidable engineering chops, his alignment with Dorsey’s vision of a “decentralized” future for social media, and his relatively uncontroversial reputation within the company helped to make him the choice over other, perhaps more obvious internal candidates in a closely guarded and opaque succession process.

While Dorsey told employees at the all-hands that the company had “defeated” activist shareholders and that the decision to step down was all his, at least one person outside the company who was familiar with the process suggested it was pressure from those shareholders and like-minded board members that ultimately led to his departure. While the timing was up to Dorsey, said the person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential matters, his exit from the company was “the culmination of a conversation Elliott Management started when it made its investment in Twitter in early 2020.”

Twitter spokeswoman Liz Kelley sent a statement saying that the board had formed an independent committee in 2020 to evaluate Twitter’s leadership and create a CEO succession plan. Twitter also reiterated that the decision was Dorsey’s.

Kelley pushed back on the idea that Agrawal is light on policy or management experience. She said he was central to reviewing a 2020 document that introduced the company’s strategic approach to policy and that he led the process of building machine-learning software that automatically removes content that breaks Twitter’s rules. In a recent management role, she added, Agrawal led the company’s platform engineering team – a large technical team with hundreds of workers.

Now Agrawal becomes the public face of a platform that is frequently criticized by the right for moderating speech too aggressively and by the left for not moderating speech aggressively enough. Its decision to cover up a tweet by Trump last year – before any other tech companies had taken action against him – exemplified the outsize political power of the role that Agrawal steps into. Dorsey testified on Capitol Hill five times, and Agrawal is likely to find himself there soon enough as Congress continues to eye new regulations on social media platforms.

Agrawal will bring a keen intellect, those who know him say, but little to no experience in the political realm. Then again, few other Big Tech CEOs had political experience when they stepped into the top job, either. And the pressure Twitter’s board faced from investors was less about the nuances of its policy decisions and more about developing popular new products that would spur user growth and give it more mainstream appeal.

One key to Agrawal’s selection, insiders say, is that he appeared to be in lockstep with Dorsey on a vision for the future for the company. That future will emphasize decentralization and open-source software. Agrawal was the lead proponent of a Twitter-funded project, called Bluesky – an independent organization that builds software that could be shared by different social media companies.

One of the employees described Agrawal as a “big ideas guy” who was unproven as a manager, doesn’t relish dealing in details and “isn’t the best with people.” Even so, that employee was “overall happy” with the choice, because Agrawal came across as thoughtful and respectful.

“People seem generally happy about Parag, but mostly because he’s the best choice among a bunch of bad options,” said another of the employees.

What other candidates were considered for the role has not been disclosed, and Twitter declined to comment. But one name that came up both in internal and external speculation was that of Kayvon Beykpour, the company’s head of consumer product, who has overseen the launch of several new features in recent years, including the live-audio forum Twitter Spaces.

Three of the employees agreed Beykpour’s aggressive management style would have made him a divisive pick. One said they had been prepared to leave if Beykpour was the choice. And two noted that Beykpour and Agrawal did not always see eye to eye.

The person outside the company who said they were familiar with the decision process confirmed that Agrawal’s solid reputation among the rank and file was a factor.

“He’s a culture carrier, internally, highly respected within the company, and wouldn’t be highly disruptive” as the new CEO, the person said. “If you look at what Twitter needs to take it from where it is today to a $100 billion, $200 billion company, it’s really a product-driven, innovation mind-set: How do we roll out new features and functionality?” The person cited Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella and Adobe CEO Shantanu Narayen as examples of internal candidates with little name recognition who emerged as capable leaders at their respective firms.

Vijaya Gadde, Twitter’s policy chief, is also highly respected internally, the current and former employees said, and would have been a strong choice for handling Congress and regulators. But it was understood that the company’s leaders and investors preferred someone with expertise in engineering or product development.

Though Agrawal does not have formal experience managing a policy team, he has been a major implementer of initiatives that attempt to balance freedom of speech with protecting users from harms like bullying and disinformation, as well as initiatives to open the company’s algorithms to public scrutiny, said a senior Twitter executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe internal matters.

For example, Twitter was the first of the major platforms to cover content with warning labels that notify people that a newsworthy tweet may be problematic and to create a pop-up asking people to take a moment to double-check whether they want to retweet a particular tweet.

“Parag was the person internally bringing all that to life,” said the executive. “Twitter has always been a ‘product-led company,’ but as the future of the Internet becomes more about standards for algorithms and decentralization – he has been a key voice in building out the tools to make those policy goals a reality.”

One of the other Twitter employees offered a less glowing assessment. “He’s not actively harmful,” the employee said. “I’ve seen worse men get ahead with less.”

Indian Army’s ‘STRIKE’ For Ladakh-Like High-Altitude Areas

The Indian Army is on the lookout for Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV) to assist infantry troops in high-altitude areas with surveillance, tactical reconnaissance, targeting enemy positions, delivering critical supplies, and carrying out rapid evacuations.

The need for such a platform stems from the difficulties encountered in Ladakh, such as incidents involving a military clash with China at heights of over 15,000 feet.

The army’s requirements for the platform state that the unmanned ground vehicles, or UGVs, should be able to carry a load of 250500 kg and should be able to operate in high altitude areas along the northern borders-a reference to the frontier with China.

A weapon platform variant mounted with a machine gun has also been listed as one of the requirements that the UGVs should have.

Twelve Indian companies will showcase 35 such platforms to the Indian Army in Babina from December 9-14 in an experiment called “Strike”-surveillance, tactical recce, intelligence, kinetic effect, and evacuation systems.

“Over 30 different types of unmanned ground vehicles will be showcased by the developers, and these will be imbedded with sub-units for tactical exploitation. The experiment involves various categories of UGVs, viz., surveillance, reconnaissance, intelligence, kinetic effect, logistics, casualty evacuation,” said an official.

The unmanned vehicle that the army is looking for should perform recce and surveillance and have a load carrier aimed at last-mile delivery and casualty evacuation.

According to the army’s requirements, the UGV should be able to operate in varied terrain conditions, including deserts, plains, mountainous and high-altitude areas, existing along our borders. The army wants the vehicles to be operated remotely as well as in an autonomous mode.

The unmanned vehicles can also be used for explosive detection and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices. The army has stated that a robotic arm with the capacity to lift a minimum weight of 5 kg is a must.

The requirements further state that it should be able to place explosives and carry out remote detonations of identified IEDs and mines.

Fisker Unveils ‘World’s Most Sustainable Vehicle’ As Electric Vehicle Competition Heats Up

It seems among the investor community, all everyone talks about are the EV (electric vehicle) stocks – and only the big ones at that – Tesla (TSLA), Rivian (RIVN), and Lucid (LCID).

One EV company that’s been flying under the radar, that is until it had big news at this year’s Los Angeles Auto show is Fisker Inc (FSR).

Fisker, founded and run by legendary automotive designer Henrik Fisker, unveiled the production version of its Ocean EV SUV.

Overall it’s a competitive package, penned by Henrik himself, and in top trim form the Ocean is targeting over 350 miles of range from an all-wheel drive, dual motor setup pumping out 540 horsepower.

While those are noteworthy figures, there are other EVs that can match these figures in that price range (around $65,000 for the higher end Ocean). The real twist here is the base Ocean, called the Ocean Sport, that will use a smaller range battery (targeting around 250 miles of range), and a single-motor front wheel drive, that will start — before any state and local incentives — at $37,499.

At that price level, no one so far, even Tesla, can match that price in the premium EV landscape. Yahoo Finance spoke to Henrik Fisker at the LA auto show about how the company plans to make this pricing work.

“We have a whole asset-light business model — it’s a little bit like Apple (AAPL), Foxconn, if you want — in terms of we concentrate on the product, the marketing, the design, the development, and then we outsource manufacturing,” Fisker said from the company’s imposing stand on the convention floor. “We don’t have to put thousands of dollars [in] each car because we have to keep the lights on in the factory, and pay real estate taxes and whatever it all is.”

Fisker is using large contract manufacturer Magna (MGA) to build its Ocean SUV. Magna makes cars and large components for clients like BMW (BMWYY), GM (GM), and even Ferrari (RACE).

In addition, one area that puts upward pressure on the price tags of EVs are batteries. Fisker is using CATL, the world’s largest battery manufacturer, to make a custom package for the Ocean, using cheaper LFP (lithium iron phosphate) battery cells for the Ocean Sport model, and more energy dense nickel manganese cobalt cells for the extended range Ocean trim levels.

On top of all that, Fisker wants this car to be the most sustainable car on the planet — hence the name “Ocean.”

“So the idea with this vehicle is to make it the world’s most sustainable vehicle, so we’ve got a solar roof that can give you up to 1,500 miles for a year, we’ve got a fully vegan interior with recycled materials,” he says. Even all the carpets are made from recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets from the ocean, and the carbon fiber elements on the car and the wheels are, you guessed it, recycled.

With 20,000 reservations in the order book right now, the company is seeing good interest in a car that won’t see the streets until the third quarter of 2022. But this is according to plan.

Fisker understands that production, versus prototyping, is hard. Tesla’s Elon Musk says this almost on a weekly basis. It’s in an extremely complicated process that requires proper systems, technical partners, and of course, capital, to get right.

The challenge for EV startups, Fisker says, is how to ramp up and produce several hundred thousand vehicles a year — and not take 10 years to do it. This is where Fisker’s partner Magna comes into a play, with its capability to produce thousands of cars of year, coupled with new capital raises the Fisker has made this year ($1 billion through its SPAC IPO and $600 million in a debt offering), to invest in R&D and acquire know-how and parts from technical partners. It’s the only way startups can compete with the GMs and Fords (F) of the world.

“A car is made of about 1,500 parts or even more, depending on how many screws you count, and all these parts have to come in just in time. They have to be put together exactly at the right time in the right sequence,” Fisker says. “I think most EV startups underestimate that. it has taken the traditional car industry many, many decades to perfect this, and that’s what they’re really good at.”

Web3: Is it the Internet of the future or just a buzzword?

There’s a buzzword that tech, crypto and venture-capital types have become infatuated with lately. Conversations are now peppered with it, and you’re not serious about the future until you add it to your Twitter bio: Web3.

It’s an umbrella term for disparate ideas all pointing in the direction of eliminating the big middlemen on the internet. In this new era, navigating the web no longer means logging onto the likes of Facebook, Google or Twitter.

Think of it this way: The nascent days of the Internet in the 1990s were Web 1.0. The web was seen as a way to democratize access to information, but there weren’t great ways of navigating it beyond going to your friend’s GeoCities page. It was pretty disorganized and overwhelming.

Then came Web 2.0 starting in the mid-2000s. Platforms like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Twitter emerged to bring order to the Internet by making it easy to connect and transact online. Critics say over time those companies amassed too much power.

Web3 is about grabbing some of the power back.

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“There’s a small group of companies that own all this stuff, and then there’s us who use it, and despite the fact that we contribute to the success of these platforms, we don’t have anything to show for it,” said Mat Dryhurst, a Berlin-based artist and researcher who teaches classes at New York University on the future of the internet.

And so, the answer, according to Dryhurst and other Web3 fans, is an iteration of the internet where new social networks, search engines and marketplaces crop up that have no company overlords.

Instead, they are decentralized, built upon a system known as the blockchain, which already undergirds Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Imagine it as a kind of bookkeeping where many computers at once host data that’s searchable by anyone. It’s operated by users collectively, rather than a corporation. People are given “tokens” for participating. The tokens can be used to vote on decisions, and even accrue real value.

In a Web3 world, people control their own data and bounce around from social media to email to shopping using a single personalized account, creating a public record on the blockchain of all of that activity.

“To the average person, it does sounds like voodoo,” said Olga Mack, entrepreneur and blockchain lecturer at University of California, Berkeley. “But when you press a button to switch on lights, do you understand how the electricity is made? You don’t have to know how electricity works to understand the benefits. Same is true of the blockchain.”

Right now, the idea of the entire Internet reinventing may sound like some far-away digital utopia. But Web3 is driving new conversations — and generating lots of new money, particularly from crypto investors.

‘At first baffling,’ but Web3 is growing more mainstream and tech companies are taking note

The Web3 movement has been helped along by the rise of NFTs, or non-fungible tokens, which are digital collectibles and other online files that can be bought and sold with cryptocurrency. Then there are the publicity stunts. Recently, a group of crypto enthusiasts banded together to attempt to purchase a copy of the U.S. Constitution with digital currency. They organized under the name ConstitutionDAO. (A DAO stands for a decentralized autonomous organization, the name for an online collective of crypto supporters who assemble together collectively in a group governed by blockchains and tokens. It’s very Web3.)

Dryhurst admits that trying to explain Web3 can be exasperating, since it’s a loosely-defined term that takes on a slightly different shape depending on who is defining it but, he said, that’s the case with all new frontiers of technology.

“Every new advent of the web is at first baffling,” he said.

To technologists and cryptographers, Web3 has remained a theoretical grand vision for years. But in recent months, the push for a blockchain-powered future has come to dominate tech conferences and social media chatter in certain circles. It’s even forced major tech companies to assemble teams dedicated to Web3.

And that’s brought a certain irony to the evolution of Web3: Enthusiasts hope Web3 will mean that sharing photos, communicating with friends and buying things online will no longer by synonymous with Big Tech companies but be done through a multitude of small competing services on the blockchain — where, for instance, every time you post a message, you earn a token for your contribution, giving you both ownership stake in the platform and one day a way to cash in.

In theory, this also means avoiding fees, rules and the strictures of tech companies. Nonetheless, major tech platforms are also jumping on the idea.

“It means that all the value that’s created can be shared amongst more people, rather than just the owners, investors and employees,” said Esther Crawford, a senior project manager at Twitter.

Crawford said Twitter is studying ways to incorporate Web3 concepts into the social network, like one day being able to log into the social network and tweet from an account associated with a cryptocurrency, not a Twitter account. She sees the future differently: not a crypto version of Twitter replacing Twitter. But rather Twitter introducing Web3 features on top of standard Twitter.

“For a long time, Web3 has been very theoretical,” she said. “But now there is a surge of momentum to build.”

Will Web3 be the new norm?

Experts say, in the best case scenario for Web3 enthusiasts, the technology will operate alongside Web 2.0, not fully supplant it.

In other words, blockchain-based social networks, transactions and businesses can and will grow and thrive in the coming years. Yet knocking out Facebook, Twitter or Google completely is not likely on the horizon, according to technology scholars.

“I’m not in a position to say who will win,” Dryhurst said. “But Web2 companies will be folding Web3 ideas into their services to stay relevant.”

He thinks many people would want to be able to take their data and history of interactions online wherever they go on the Internet, rather than remain on singular web platforms–what some call the “walled gardens” of big tech companies.

“This is a fundamentally difference experience than what we’re used to today,” Dryhurst said.

But he admits that boundless freedom can lead to troubling outcomes for some.

“The Faustian bargain is that the same reasons that it’s exciting that there’s nothing impeding people to build whatever community they want, I can’t stop someone from building something that’s hellacious,” he said.

Decentralized social networks have proved appealing to white supremacists and other far-right groups, but Sam Williams, founder of Arweave, a blockchain-based project for storing data online, said he trusts most small communities to determine what speech is permitted online.

On balance, he said, collective voting on the rules of engagement will be better than what users experience on major social media platforms today.

“If we stay in the current paradigm, we will move further and further into a realm where a small handful of companies run by a small number of people run our experiences in cyberspace,” he said. “And in that world, the problems of Big Tech are exacerbated.”

Another issue, of course, is government oversight. Blockchain-based tokens are now in a regulatory netherworld, but that could soon change as the Biden administration begins the process of setting new rules for the industry.

How does Web3 fit with that other vision of the Internet’s future — the metaverse?

Facebook recently rebranded itself Meta, and said its priority would be to build the “metaverse,” a digital future where everyone is living and interacting and working together in virtual reality.

Among the company’s stated principles is “robust interoperability,” meaning that users could take their accounts or avatars from site to site or service to service seamlessly, rather than have to log in to accounts controlled by separate companies every time they visit new sites.

That’s also one of the ideals of Web3.

But true believers say there is no place for Facebook in a Web3 world, no matter how hard the social network tries to be part of the next generation of the Internet.

“Facebook will always be incentivized to enrich Facebook,” Williams said. “And that’s not how cyberspace should be governed.”

What’s the chance Web3 is just an over-hyped fantasy?

It doesn’t take long to find skeptics of Web3.

James Grimmelmann, a Cornell University professor who studies law and technology, has become vocal about his doubts.

“Web3 is vaporware,” said Grimmelmann, referring to a product that’s announced but never delivered.

“It’s a promised future internet that fixes all the things people don’t like about the current internet, even when it’s contradictory.”

He said if part of the impetus is to resist giving up personal data to Big Tech companies, then the blockchain is not the solution, since that will make even more data public.

“It doesn’t make any sense,” he said. “The vision says the problem with the internet is too many centralized intermediaries. Instead of having lots of different applications and sites, we’ll put it all on blockchains, which puts it all in one place.”

To Grimmelmann, Web3 represents technologists reaching for the idealistic ethos of the dawn of the internet — everyone can freely use the information superhighway! — that long ago was overtaken by tech companies.

The Internet’s evolution always has been a tug between fragmentation and centralization, he said. When it swings too far in one direction, a backlash tries to pull it in the opposite direction.

“Blockchains are interesting and solve some difficult problems in new ways,” he said. “They’re probably going to end up in the toolkit that the next internet is built out of, but that doesn’t mean the internet is going to be built around them.”

But many people who found wealth during the pandemic by investing in cryptocurrencies are looking around for something to plunge cash into beyond NFTs of “bored apes” who are members of a cartoon “yacht club.”

Right now, he said, Web3, albeit mostly theoretical, is the thing.

“There are a lot of people who have money to invest,” he said. “And they need some vision to throw money at.”

Indian American Hotmail Founder Launches A New Social Video App – Showreel

Sabeer Bhatia, the man who played a significant role in making email the default communication medium it is now, wants to change video content with his new social video app, Showreel.

The app can be used to create more natural video resumes for job applications that offer much more context than just text, but also to pitch a startup idea or just to find a partner for yourself.

The Hotmail co-founder, now a serial entrepreneur based in California, says the idea came in the middle of the pandemic when he saw his eight-year-old daughter effortlessly make TikTok videos.

“That sparked an idea. I said this is the future, video is the future of all content consumption. Can we do something to help the 1 billion unemployed people?”

However, the first version of Showreel was not a big success as the videos which came in response to text questions were not that natural. That’s when he decided to change the questions also into video and now in the app, the respondents answer questions that Bhatia asks, almost like a natural conversation.

“I believe in the next 10 years, rather than sending a resume to a prospective employer, you will be more likely to send a more effective video or a QR code that points to a video,” says Bhatia, explaining how this format helps companies cut down on recruitment time by helping filter candidates faster.

Also, at some point, the AI layer will kick in and show candidates that align to the recruitment philosophy of the company, adds Bhatia, who has hired a team of engineers to help set up the product and take it to the next level.

With video, he says, the context is set and you subconsciously already know who you are going to talk to and what to expect. “Through a LinkedIn profile, you don’t know anything about the person. A picture says a few more things, but a video will complete him, you know, so it will be better for business interaction, not just for employment,” he adds, underling that this platform offers rich data that makes it more intelligent.

Beyond recruitment, startup’s and matrimony, Bhatia already sees the platform being used to take surveys, especially where people find the written text a stumbling block. He also thinks there will be applications in health too where he will get doctors to formulate the right questions to plug gaps in the health system.

Bhatia is already working with top companies as well as the global university system to plug this into their hiring and placement process. The app, available on both iOS and Android, can also be customized based on their requirements. He said language versions can be expected soon.

As for a business model, Bhatia is candid that he is yet to think of one. But if he solves the problem of connecting job seekers with employers and making it an easier process, monetization wouldn’t be a tough problem to solve.

Apple’s Autonomous Car Could Debut In 2025

Apple is accelerating the development of its electric car and is refocusing the project around full autonomous capabilities, Bloomberg reported. The company has set itself a target of 2025 to complete the project, the report said.

Fully autonomous cars are the holy grail of self-driving cars, but has so far been out of reach for even companies such as Google’s Waymo, which has been testing its cars on roads in California and Florida for years. Tesla, too, has said it will release full self-driving capabilities in its cars in a few years.

But carmakers have found that even Level 2 self-driving — which is two steps behind full autonomous capabilities, or Level 4 — can be costly. Last year, Uber sold its self-driving car division to startup Aurora, ending a five-year run that was marred by litigation and a fatal crash. Tesla’s Autopilot, which controls the car on highways, though a driver is to keep his hand on the steering wheel, has gotten into after a few high-profile crashes.

Apple’s project, which began in 2014 under the codename “Project Titan”, has itself taken some twists and turns. But now the company reached a key milestone in developing the car’s underlying self-driving system, as per Bloomberg, and has completed much of the core work on the processor that will power the cars.

Demand for electric vehicles has surged as countries and customers turn more environment conscious, propelling the market value of companies such as Tesla (TSLA.O) and Rivian (RIVN.O) far above traditional carmakers around for decades longer.

“It’s a matter of when, not if,” Wedbush analyst Dan Ives said, adding that chances of Apple unveiling its own standalone car by 2025 as 60% to 65%.

The Bloomberg report said some people working on the project were skeptical about the timeline even with recent progress, which includes the car’s underlying self-driving system, processor chips and advanced sensors.

Reuters had reported in December that Apple was targeting 2024 to produce a passenger vehicle that could include its own breakthrough battery technology. read more

Meanwhile, The Information, citing a memo, reported that Apple was preparing to bring back employees to offices starting Feb. 1 and will let staff work for up to four weeks remotely each year.

Building Road At 19,024 Feet In Ladakh Gets Guinness Recognition

Construction and black topping the world’s highest motorable road at 19,024 feet at Umlingla Pass in Ladakh has earned the Border Road Organisation (BRO) a Guinness World Records recognition.

The Director General of BRO, Lieutenant Genreal Rajeev Chaudhry, received the Guinness World Records certificate on Tuesday for the achievement of constructing and black topping the world’s highest motorable road at 19,024 feet in Ladakh.

At a virtual ceremony, official adjudicator of the Guinness World Records based in the UK, Rishi Nath, acknowledged the remarkable achievement of BRO for constructing the highest altitude road in the world.

In a four-month long process undertaken by the Guinness World Records, five different surveyors verified the claim.

The 52-km road from Chisumle to Demchok tarmac passes through the 19,024 feet high Umlingla Pass and betters the previous record of a road in Bolivia, which connects volcano Uturuncu at 18,953 feet.

The Umlingla Pass road is another landmark in resurgent India’s achievement, as it has been constructed at an altitude higher than the North and South base camps of Mount Everest which are at an altitude of 16,900 feet and 17,598 feet, respectively.

On the occasion, Lt Gen Chaudhry spoke about the challenges faced during the road construction, which, he said, tested both human spirit and efficacy of machines in an extremely tough terrain where temperatures in winters dip to -40-degree Celcius and oxygen levels are 50 per cent below normal.

The BRO provided a black topped road to the important village of Demchok in Eastern Ladakh that will be a boon to the local population as it will enhance the socio-economic conditions and promote tourism in Ladakh.

The strategically important road, which is approximately 15-km long, highlights the focus of the government in developing road infrastructure in the border areas. (IANS)

American Association of Engineers of Indian Origin Plans a Technical and Start-up Business Conference

AAEIO To Host A Technical And Start-Up Business Conference In April 2022

American Association of Engineers of Indian Origin (AAEIO) will host a Technical and Start-up Business conference in April 2022 to help new companies to do networking, mentoring, access to funding and developing Business plans.

These programs are designed to assist new startups. Microsoft CEO Mr. Satya Nadella, U.S Senator, Governor, Consul General of India, U.S Congressmen, CEOs of fortune 100 companies are expected to attend this event.

AAEIO President Gladson Varghese and other Board members had a planning meeting with Consul General of India Amit Kumar in Chicago to discuss this event and future plans.

Hon. Kumar, a Kanpur IIT Graduate and IFS officer, also gave his suggestions. He asked the board to focus on 2-3 areas like Digital transformation, Education, Energy and do it well. He also asked the board to do events both in US and in India. He suggested that digital transformation ideas should be at grass root levels, such as solution to problem such as “Army is looking to create parts with 3D printing for older generation MIGs”. These ideas can be used for business competition and provide innovation.

As part of the growth of this organization, organizers are planning to host events in various cities including San Francisco. Attracting Indian Engineering students was also discussed in this meeting.

Membership Chairman Nag Jaiswal, Vice President Nitin Maheshwari, President-Elect Ajit Pant and Treasurer Abhishek Jain will take the lead in these activities.

The group is also planning to do a Job Fair on March 10th to help the community, Board of Director Vinoz Chanamolu with the help of other Board members taking the leadership role by contacting several Fortune 500 companies and other IT / Manufacturing Companies. Several Board of Directors are working in getting Federal and State governments participation including Department of Labor.

Technical and Start-up business conference will be hosted with the support of T-hub, which is a Technology Hub organization based in Hyderabad for innovation and business incubator programs based on the triple helix model of Innovation, Participation of University, Industry and Government.

Purdue University President is also expecting to attend this event. AAEIO is planning to have this event start in the morning with various seminars and Trade shows and the evening meeting will conclude with black-tie event.

Artificial Intelligence – Friend or Foe?

Artificial Intelligence(AI) is an overused term today and as with any ubiquitous technology it is either loved or feared. Why does it have such a split following? It has a lot to do with its history and to some extent with how it is marketed today and more importantly how it is predicted to impact all facets of our lives tomorrow.

AI made its humble beginnings many decades ago in academic circles as an endeavor to understand and mimic how humans think and act. While the goal was to understand and copy brain function, the field of AI developed largely with very little active collaboration between computer scientists and neuroscientists.  As a result, AI developed in those days, never really had human like cognitive functions.

In as early as 1968,  2001: A Space Odyssey, a movie based on a science fiction novel by Arthur C Clarke, described an on-board computer, HAL, on Discovery One that had uncanny decision-making capability to control the mission to Jupiter. Much later in 1977, the movie Star Wars depicted two human-like robots R2-D2 and C-3PO that had human like attributes. While HAL had undeniably evil overtones the Star Wars robots were merely amusing and harmless. I would argue that the divergence in opinions on AI started during that period. Soon after the 80s, academia seemed to lose interest in AI and the field went into a Rip Van Winkle like 20-year slumber.

So, what has changed when the field of AI re-awakened in the last decade? The ideas upon rebirth were not particularly novel but the researchers had access to three important enabling technologies. First was the availability of relatively cheap and abundant computing power, the second was access to massive amounts of data that machines could train on (i.e. be taught with) and third was novel compute algorithms developed to use all this data (big data) and compute horsepower.

This brought about amazingly rapid progress in the field of AI. The early manifestations of AI were at best clunky in that they exhibited a very rudimentary ability to learn and recognize simple objects. Even that basic function required extensive training with large amounts of labeled data i.e., show the system thousands of cat pictures and then it was able to identify a cat from a picture that it had not seen before. However, with the rapid progress of neural networks and especially with the advent of deep neural nets, the machines learned to draw inferences with increasing accuracy making them suitable for real-life enterprise and consumer applications.

As more AI applications begin to appear in the horizon a new set of fears has emerged. This time it had to do with at least three important issues. One, will AI replace humans?  second, can AI be trusted? and finally, can we be sure the results are not biased? These are being researched actively today. The issues of trust and bias will not be discussed at length here as they are worthy of more extensive discussions. The discussion of machines replacing humans in the work force is not always based on observed facts but more from apprehension and more recently is taking on political overtones.

However, industry and academia are making great strides in understanding the basis for the fear. There has been a big shift in how intelligent machines are being touted. It has gone from machines mimicking human function to machines helping humans do more. This shift in perspective is very important as it represents how these machines will be used in real life applications thus helping reduce anxiety in the work force. Many centers have emerged across the globe that talk about machines and humans working together to excel in a task.

One such center is at Stanford and is called the Institute for Human Centered AI (https://hai.stanford.edu/). Per this website, this center helps with understanding and guiding the human and societal impact of AI, augmenting human capabilities, and developing AI technologies inspired by human intelligence. These projects promise to play a significant role in defining future work in AI from academia to industry, government, healthcare, and civil society.

The issues of trust and bias will turn out to be pivotal in real-life applications as they will have even more far-reaching implications on our lives. The trust vector has to do with the fact that neural networks cannot easily explain how a decision or inference was made.  In certain applications like in health care where AI tools can be used to help doctors make better decisions, there will be limited acceptance if the doctor cannot see the decision-making rationale. The bias topic is even more scary because the machines are trained with extensive amounts of past data and if the data were biased then the results will be too. The more humans are involved in training the machines the harder it is to eliminate bias.

In summary, AI has a great promise of augmenting human capability. With that will come whole new fields of education and job opportunities. The issues of trust and bias will be addressed over time to allay our fears. (Spike Narayan is a seasoned hi-tech executive managing exploratory research in science and technology at IBM)

Artificial Intelligence Can Predict The Future Of The Earth

Newswise — AI offers additional possibilities, greater accuracy for climate models. Computer simulations that scientists use to understand the evolution of the Earth’s climate offer a wealth of information to public officials and corporations planning for the future. However, climate models — no matter how complex or computationally intensive — do contain some degree of uncertainty. Addressing this uncertainty is proving increasingly important as decision makers are asking more complex questions and looking to smaller scales.

To improve climate simulations, scientists are looking to the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). AI has offered profound insights in fields from materials science to manufacturing, and climate researchers are excited to explore how AI can be used to revolutionize how the Earth system, and especially its water cycle, can be simulated in order to dramatically improve our understanding and representation of the real world.  In particular, AI offers the potential to dramatically increase the accuracy of predictions down to the scales of interest to scientists, and even stakeholders focused on designing, financing and deploying equitable climate solutions to America’s most disadvantaged communities.

Motivated by this opportunity, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is launching a comprehensive workshop: Artificial Intelligence for Earth System Predictability (AI4ESP). After the collection of more than 150 white papers from the scientific community, AI4ESP is kicking into high gear by hosting a workshop beginning October 25. The workshop will include 17 sessions over a six-week period designed to create a new scientific community that marries climate research with artificial intelligence, applied math and supercomputing.

“Earth system predictability refers to the intersection of climate with hydrology, ecology, infrastructure and human activities,” said Nicki Hickmon, an Argonne scientist, director of operations for the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) user facility and the lead for the AI4ESP workshop.

By linking researchers in Earth system predictability and computer sciences, AI4ESP seeks to create a paradigm shift in simulating the Earth system. AI4ESP seeks to inspire a new generation of AI algorithms specifically aimed at Earth system predictability.

According to Hickmon, continuous improvements will enhance the ability of current simulations to provide deeper insights into community-scale issues and those involving extreme weather, potentially allowing stakeholders a better grasp of the uncertainties that surround such events.

“AI for climate is still in its infancy,” said Hickmon. ​“However, it is still essential that we explore the potential of AI to see how it can better inform our models and prepare us for the future.”

Click here to see the agenda and register for the workshop, which will open with an address by Deputy Secretary of Energy David Turk. The public is welcome to attend any of the open sessions. Some components of the workshop are invitation-only in order to gather the required materials for the workshop report.

The workshop is sponsored by the DOE’s Office of Biological and Environmental Research and Office of Advanced Scientific Computing Research.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience

The Golden Temple Goes Solar Powered

With the financial assistance of the US-based United Sikh Mission, a 525 KW capacity solar power plant was commissioned in the holiest of Sikh shrines, Harmandir Sahib, popularly known as Golden Temple, in Amritsar on Tuesday.

“Our mission is to ensure clean power supply round the clock at Sri Darbar Sahib, saving 33 per cent of its annual electricity bill,” United Sikh Mission President Rashpal Singh Dhindsa told the media here.

He said this was an effort towards sustainability and reducing global warming that would help save 2,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (C02) emission.

The work was completed in five months. Expressing gratitude to the United Sikh Mission, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee President Bibi Jagir Kaur said that a 78 KW solar power plant would be installed soon in Gurdwara Baba Deep Singh and 700 KW in Gurdwara Bir Baba Budha Sahib.

Noting that the monthly electricity budget of Darbar Sahib is around Rs 50-60 lakh, she urged the global Sikh community to contribute towards the initiative of empowering Darbar Sahib with renewable energy.

The Golden Temple Amritsar India (Sri Harimandir Sahib Amritsar) is not only a central religious place of the Sikhs, but also a symbol of human brotherhood and equality. Everybody, irrespective of cast, creed or race can seek spiritual solace and religious fulfilment without any hindrance. It also represents the distinct identity, glory and heritage of the Sikhs.

As advised by Sri Guru Amar Dass Ji (3rd Sikh Guru), Sri Guru Ram Dass Ji (4th Sikh Guru) started the digging of Amrit Sarovar (Holy Tank) of Sri Harmandir Sahib in 1577 A.D., which was later on brick-lined by Sri Guru Arjan Dev Ji (5th Sikh Guru) on December 15, 1588 and He also started the construction of Sri Harmandir Sahib. Sri Guru Granth Sahib (scripture of the Sikhs), after its compilation, was first installed at Sri Harmandir Sahib on August 16, 1604 A.D. A devout Sikh, Baba Budha Ji was appointed its first Head Priest.

Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple, (on account of its scenic beauty and golden coating for English speaking world), is named after Hari (God) the temple of God. The Sikhs all over the world, daily wish to pay visit to Sri Amritsar and to pay obeisance at Sri Harmandir Sahib in their Ardas.

Guru Arjan Sahib, the Fifth Nanak, conceived the idea of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs and he himself designed the architecture of Sri Harmandir Sahib. Earlier the planning to excavate the holy tank (Amritsar or Amrit Sarovar) was chalked out by Guru Amardas Sahib, the Third Nanak, but it was executed by Guru Ramdas Sahib under the supervision of Baba Budha ji. The land for the site was acquired by the earlier Guru Sahibs on payment or free of cost from the Zamindars (landlords) of native villages. The plan to establish a town settlement was also made. Therefore, the construction work on the Sarovar (the tank) and the town started simultaneously in 1570. The work on both projects completed in 1577 A.D.

The shrine has a unique Sikh architecture. Built at a level lower than the surrounding land level, The Gurudwara teaches the lesson of egalitarianism and humility. The four entrances of this holy shrine from all four directions, signify that people belonging to every walk of life are equally welcome.

APPLE Showcases Women Techies Of Indian Origin On World Stage

It was Indian-origin women techies’ turn to take the centre-stage as Apple unveiled its next line-up of products, including an all-powerful MacBook Pro with new M1 chips, next-generation AirPods and other products and services.

After Apple CEO Tim Cook set the tone late on Monday, Susmita Dutta who is engineering program manager for SoC (system-on-chip) for audio products, introduced the next-generation AirPods, featuring spatial audio, industry-leading sound, longer battery life and an all-new design during the ‘Unleashed’ event at Apple Park in Cupertino, California.

According to her LinkedIn profile, Dutta joined Apple nearly four years ago as system test design lead, before being elevated as audio engineering program manager. She earlier worked at GE Healthcare for more than seven years as lead system designer (ABUS Ultrasound) in California.

A Madras University graduate in engineering, Dutta now has more than 16 years of system and hardware engineering experience, specifically in systems engineering methodology, test design and mass production of low and high-volume products.

After next-gen AirPods was the turn of new and all-powerful MacBook Pro with next-gen M1 chips, and Shruti Haldea from the Mac team joined the stage with top company executives, taking the audience through the machine meant for developers, filmmakers, creators and innovators.

Working at Apple for more than 12 years, Haldea joined the tech giant as global supply manager and became product line manager for Pro Mac in 2019. An MBA from Harvard Business School, she introduced the world to game-changing MacBook Pro with M1 Pro and M1 Max that deliver extraordinary performance and battery life, and features the world’s best notebook display.

The new MacBook Pro features a stunning Liquid Retina XDR display, a wide range of ports for advanced connectivity, a 1080p FaceTime HD camera and the best audio system in a notebook. Combined with macOS Monterey, which is engineered down to its core to take full advantage of M1 Pro and M1 Max, the user experience is simply unrivaled for developers, photographers, filmmakers, 3D artists, scientists and music producers.

In April 2021, Apple’s ‘Spring Loaded’ event saw Navpreet Kaloty, a dashing Sikh, who mesmerized the audience with his iMac presentation. A Bachelor of Applied Science in mechanical engineering from the University of Waterloo in the US, Kaloty looks after Mac architecture as an engineering program manager at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters. He interned for some time with the product management team for operational excellence at electric car maker Tesla.

Design Thinking And User Experience Design For Innovation Highlighted At ASEI’s Design Summit

The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) convened a Design Summit with several academics, authors, speakers and practitioners covering innovation in Design from multiple perspectives on October 9th, 2021.

After a brief introduction to the organization by ASEI executive council member Vatsala Upadhyay, and a tribute to design maestro Steve Jobs marking the 10th anniversary of his passing, ASEI President Piyush Malik shared his forward-thinking views on Design based on his field experiences and learnings working with nimble Silicon Valley startups as well as fortune 500 corporations around the globe. These opening remarks centered around the importance of Design as a discipline and Design Thinking methodologies adapted from IDEO, Stanford’s d.school and IBM’s enterprise design thinking approach a.k.a  IBM Garage, which is an end-to-end model for accelerating digital transformation.

The keynote speaker Prof Sanjay Gupta who is the founder and Vice Chancellor of World University of Design (WUD) shared his vision illustrating the difference between User Interface (UI) and User Experience Design (UXD). He also spoke about applications of emerging concepts such as AR/VR (augmented reality /virtual reality) and innovation in design in his talk titled “Importance of design for engineers” based on his many decades of multidisciplinary design experience across Engineering, Architecture, Fashion and Academics.

Engaging Dr Gupta in a fireside chat following this address, Piyush shared some industry trends based on analyst reports and they discussed the impact of design on creator economy with NFT (Non-Fungible Tokens), Blockchain, AR/VR, etc. Dr Gupta acknowledged the ASEI community and shared the impact WUD has had in its nascent life since inception and cited the importance of partnerships with industry bodies including Assocham, CII and now ASEI to expand its sphere of influence.

Dolly Parikh, Founder and CEO of Aloki Labs, a boutique design studio in California traced her inspiration to the 1977 film “Power Of 10” and shared learnings from her UX Strategy and Design career across companies such as Apple, Verisign, Expedia, Intuit, Medallia, Aviso, Automation Anywhere, InfoStretch, ARM and MindTickle.

UX Architect Noah Iliinsky, a popular speaker and author of 2 O’Reilly books on visualization enthralled the audience with his data storytelling approach and emphasized the 4 pillars of effective design viz. purpose, content, structure and formatting. His versatile technique can be applied to not only data visualization but all forms of communications. The illustrations of data in tables versus charts and graphs and when to choose pie versus line versus bar graphs were eye opening.

In the next section of the Design Summit focusing on career guidance, Sabira Gupta who is a Software engineer turned Principal UX Designer at Informatica shared her tips for those transitioning into Design careers. She showcased formatting as well as language do‘s and don’ts to inspire the budding designers aspiring for new opportunities  amongst the audience.

Veteran designer Ches Wadja spoke on “Intuition, humility and collaboration in service of design innovation”. Sharing personal stories from his time at Expedia as the design head to being the first designer when LinkedIn was a year old startup, Ches mesmerised the attendees with the captivating story of power of being open to ideas and how being agile  and scrapy enabled his seemingly small effort to show marked improvement in Linkedin’s adoption by the masses.The legendary designer also happened to be the first designer at Youtube (which was later acquired by Google) and his designed logo is still used by the company after all these years. It was indeed a pleasure to watch his serene and calm persona field questions from the audience after the newly minted designer Shrinal Patel showcased her portfolio and sought feedback from experienced professionals Sabira and Ches to critique as well as give suggestions for improving candidate portfolio presentations.

Shrinali  then moderated the brief panel discussion with speakers after which Surbhi Kaul acknowledged all volunteers  and proposed the vote of thanks to the speakers. Surbhi, a Vice President at Juniper Networks was a speaker at ASEI’s 33rd National Convention and is an ASEI Life Member who serves on the Silicon Valley chapter board. She also gave a “heads-up” & call for volunteers as well as next year’s board member nominations across all 5 professional chapters.

The moderated Q&A session then “graduated” to social audio Clubhouse room “Engineering Tales”, where the event continued with a few of the Design summit speakers. It included more non-ASEI members too, all of whom were given a chance to interact with speakers of this Summit. John Rodriges moderated the session, sharing his experiences as a UX designer with Citigroup and past jobs. The quality of conversations there once again proved the value of this topic and popularity of design as a discipline amongst techies as well as non -technical folks.

The Design Summit showed the attendees the depth of Design experience and thought leadership amongst ASEI community members and gave a glimpse of the richness of its collaborations with national and international professional bodies.

As is evident from recent activities  and newsletters, ASEI has had an action packed 2021 so far with a large number of educational and networking opportunities  and new programmes such as MentorConnect, UniversityConnect and Youth Programs to serve its members’ interests and inspire the next generation of engineers and technologists amongst the diaspora.

The American Society of Engineers of Indian Origin (ASEI) is a not-for-profit organization that provides a platform for networking, career advancement, community service, mentoring and technology exchange for professionals, students and businesses in the United States and abroad. Members are guided by several objectives, including the creation of an open, inclusive, and transparent organization; providing positive role models, awarding scholarships, and remaining socially responsible. ASEI was founded in 1983 in Detroit, Michigan by a handful of visionaries. Today, the organization  has active professional chapters in Michigan, Southern California, Silicon Valley, San Diego, and Washington, DC and  more student chapters in universities across the US. For more information, or to join this professional body, visit: www.aseiusa.org

Astronaut Raja Chari Led Crew-3 Mission To Launch On Oct 31

Indian-American astronaut Raja Chari is in the thick of training for a mission to space launching at the end of October. Chari, for whom it will be the first space flight, will be the Commander of the SpaceX Crew 3 flight which is scheduled to take off for the International Space Station for a long stay in space, NASA announced in a press release Sept. 14, 2021. The crew will complete a six-month science mission aboard the microgravity laboratory in low-Earth orbit.

The Crew-3 mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. This will be the third time that SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket will carry astronauts to the International Space Station for a long duration mission.

The Crew-3 mission will launch NASA astronauts Raja Chari, mission commander, Tom Marshburn, pilot, and Kayla Barron, mission specialist, along with European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Matthias Maurer, also a mission specialist in microgravity.

The four astronauts will hitch a ride on SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket strapped into the Dragon capsule from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The four-member crew will be on a long-duration mission in space.

Nasa said that the Crew-3 astronauts plan to arrive at the station to overlap with NASA astronauts Shane Kimbrough and Megan McArthur, Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide, and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Thomas Pesquet, who flew to the station as part of the agency’s Crew-2 mission in April 2021. The earliest targeted launch date is Sunday, Oct. 31, from Launch Complex 39A at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, NASA said.

Chari was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class and reported for duty in August 2017. An Iowa native, Chari graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1999 with bachelor’s degrees in astronautically engineering and engineering science.

He earned a master’s degree in aeronautics and astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and graduated from the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. He also logged more than 2,500 hours of flight time in the F-35, F-15, F-16, and F-18, according to the profile provided by NASA.

TiECON East Hosts a Successful In-Person Business Conference

TiECON East, the largest entrepreneurial conference in New England, broke the COVID-19 pandemic spell in Boston and successfully held a day-long in-person conference, which attracted over 50 speakers and was attended by about 400 people.

TiECON East, which is organized by TiE Boston, was be held in-person on Oct. 1 at the Westin Hotel in Waltham, MA. All attendees were required to be fully vaccinated and to fully adher to the CDC health guidelines. Major sponsors of the conference included Amazon, Microsoft, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Arent Fox, Converge, Sittercity, Innospark, Thread Research, Progress and Embark.

“Holding an in-person TiECON 2021 was challenging due to COVID-19, but many thanks to our sponsors, speaker, attendees and volunteers who made this conference a huge success,” said Sanjay Jain, Co-Chair of TiECON East. “We were sold out one day prior due to our speakers line-up and safety protocol.” Kiran Uppuluri, Chair of TiECON East and Founder and CEO of verteXD, said the success of the conference was the result of six months of immense work by the team and a labor of love.

“We applied our proven SCE Framework (Copyright verteXD) outline that takes a Human-centered design approach to the conference, and seeing it come to life felt great,” said Ms. Uppuluri. “We squarely focused the design on the customer facing the new reality – i.e. the Post-Pandemic world.” She said the outcome was: a sold out conference, fantastic sponsors, a wrapped audience for the entire day, and a series of “aha” moments hearing from 55 thought leaders and innovation experts presenting never before seen or heard content. “Safety was paramount and we thank all our attendees for adhering to the policies we put in place,” said Ms. Uppuluri.

Anu Chitrapu, President of TiEBoston, the organizer of TiECON East 2021, said the conference was hugely successful. Prasad is Senior Vice President and Head Scientist at Amazon Alexa, the Artificial Intelligence (AI) service that powers Amazon’s family of Echo products, Amazon Fire TV, and third-party products. He leads research and development (R&D) in AI technologies aimed at making interaction with Alexa a magical experience for customers.

Shetty is Co-founder of Ginkgo Bioworks. Spun out of MIT, Ginkgo’s mission is to make biology easier to engineer. Started in a Cambridge, MA, apartment, Ms. Shetty has helped to grow the company to over 500 people. Ginkgo’s cell programming platform is enabling the growth of biotechnology across diverse markets, from food to agriculture to pharmaceuticals. Ginkgo is also actively supporting a number of COVID-19 response efforts, including community testing, epidemiological tracing, vaccine manufacturing and therapeutics discovery.

“Safety was paramount in the conference. Only 100% vaccinated people were allowed to attend. In fact, we had to decline some attendees and speakers who could not comply with this requirement,” said Ms. Chitrapu. “Our swag bag had a pack of 5 Anti-Viral masks so attendees could change their masks as needed and individual hand sanitizer bottles. It was this attention to safety that gave our attendees confidence.”

Do You Know The Number Of Nuclear Weapons In US Stockpile?

In a reversal from the Trump administration, the State Department revealed the number of nuclear weapons in the US stockpile for the first time in four years on Tuesday. The US has 3,750 nuclear warheads in its stockpile and 2,000 are waiting to be dismantled, according to a release from the State Department, which emphasized the importance of transparency.

The release of the “Transparency in the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Stockpile” fact sheet comes as the Biden administration is conducting a review of its nuclear weapons policy and capabilities ahead of a 2022 meeting of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty conference, where the US and other nuclear powers who are party to the Treaty will review each signatory’s disarmament commitments. “Increasing the transparency of states’ nuclear stockpiles is important to nonproliferation and disarmament efforts, including commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and efforts to address all types of nuclear weapons, including deployed and non-deployed, and strategic and non-strategic,” the State Department said.

Arms control experts welcomed the announcement. “The Biden administration’s decision to declassify updated information on the number of nuclear warheads in the U.S. nuclear weapons arsenal is a welcome step that reverses an unwise decision by the Trump administration to classify this information,” the Arms Control Association said in a statement Wednesday. “It also puts pressure on other nuclear armed states that maintain excessive secrecy about their arsenals.”

The ACA noted that “progress toward serious nuclear weapons stockpile reductions have stalled in recent years, and some states, particularly China and Russia, appear to be increasing the size and/or diversity of their arsenals.” Daryl Kimball, the ACA’s executive director, told CNN that Wednesday’s announcement could put pressure on Russia and China to be more forthcoming about their stockpiles. The Biden administration hopes to pursue further talks with Moscow to reach new agreements that supersede the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty, or START. “To do that we need the Russians to be a little bit more transparent than they are,” Kimball said.

The Chinese also “need to provide some basic information, which they have as a matter of their own policies through the decades, not provided.” ‘Strong, credible deterrent’ “So what the Biden administration is trying to do here is lead by example,” Kimball said, “put some pressure on the other major nuclear armed countries to be more forthcoming about the nuclear weapons they have.”

During the 2020 presidential campaign, then-candidate Joe Biden said that the US doesn’t need new nuclear weapons and that his “administration will work to maintain a strong, credible deterrent while reducing our reliance and excessive expenditure on nuclear weapons.”

After Biden’s first budget request, however, critics rapped the President for proposing to continue all parts of the spending plans left by the Trump administration, including “the controversial additions made by President Trump to the Obama-era program, such as additional, more usable lower-yield nuclear capabilities,” the ACA said.

The ACA called Biden’s budget request inconsistent with his “stated desire to reduce the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. policy and seek new risk reduction and arms control arrangements with Russia and perhaps China.” In Tuesday’s release, the State Department said there are 3,750 nuclear warheads in the US nuclear stockpile as of September 2020, an 88 percent decrease from its maximum number of 31,255 in 1967, according to the department.

The US also dismantled 11,683 nuclear warheads from 1994 to 2020, including 711 nuclear warheads since September 30, 2017. Two thousand nuclear warheads are retired and waiting to be dismantled, the department also said. In 2010, the Obama administration revealed the US had 5,113 nuclear warheads in the stockpile as of September 30, 2009. According to data released in 2015, the US had 4,717 nuclear warheads in the stockpile as of September 2014.

Making Self-Driving Cars Human-Friendly

Newswise — Automated vehicles could be made more pedestrian-friendly thanks to new research which could help them predict when people will cross the road.  University of Leeds-led scientists investigating how to better understand human behavior in traffic say that neuroscientific theories of how the brain makes decisions can be used in automated vehicle technology to improve safety and make them more human-friendly.

The researchers set out to determine whether a decision-making model called drift diffusion could predict when pedestrians would cross a road in front of approaching cars, and whether it could be used in scenarios where the car gives way to the pedestrian, either with or without explicit signals. This prediction capability will allow the autonomous vehicle to communicate more effectively with pedestrians, in terms of its movements in traffic and any external signals such as flashing lights, to maximise traffic flow and decrease uncertainty.

Drift diffusion models assume that people reach decisions after accumulation of sensory evidence up to a threshold at which the decision is made.  Professor Gustav Markkula, from the University of Leeds’ Institute for Transport Studies and the senior author of the study, said: “When making the decision to cross, pedestrians seem to be adding up lots of different sources of evidence, not only relating to the vehicle’s distance and speed, but also using communicative cues from the vehicle in terms of deceleration and headlight flashes.

“When a vehicle is giving way, pedestrians will often feel quite uncertain about whether the car is actually yielding, and will often end up waiting until the car has almost come to a full stop before starting to cross. Our model clearly shows this state of uncertainty borne out, meaning it can be used to help design how automated vehicles behave around pedestrians in order to limit uncertainty, which in turn can improve both traffic safety and traffic flow.  “It is exciting to see that these theories from cognitive neuroscience can be brought into this type of real-world context and find an applied use.”

To test their model, the team used virtual reality to place trial participants in different road-crossing scenarios in the University of Leeds’ unique HIKER (Highly Immersive Kinematic Experimental Research) pedestrian simulator. Study participants’ movements were tracked in high detail while walking freely inside a stereoscopic 3D virtual scene, showing a road with oncoming vehicles. The participants’ task was to cross the road as soon as they felt safe to do so.  Different scenarios were tested, with the approaching vehicle either maintaining the same speed or decelerating to let the pedestrian cross, sometimes also flashing the headlights, representing a commonly used signal for yielding intentions in the UK.

As predicted by their model, the researchers found that participants behaved as if they were deciding on when to cross by adding up, over time, the sensory data from vehicle distance, speed, acceleration, as well as communicative cues. This meant that their drift diffusion model could predict if, and when, pedestrians would be likely to begin crossing the road.  Professor Markkula said: “These findings can help provide a better understanding of human behaviour in traffic, which is needed both to improve traffic safety and to develop automated vehicles that can coexist with human road users.   “Safe and human-acceptable interaction with pedestrians is a major challenge for developers of automated vehicles, and a better understanding of how pedestrians behave will be key to enable this.”

Lead author Dr Jami Pekkanen, who carried out the research while at the University of Leeds, said: “Predicting pedestrian decisions and uncertainty can be used to optimise when, and how, the vehicle should decelerate and signal to communicate that it’s safe to cross, saving time and effort for both.”  The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK, with more than 38,000 students from more than 150 different countries, and a member of the Russell Group of research-intensive universities. The University plays a significant role in the Turing, Rosalind Franklin and Royce Institutes.

Are You Addicted To Technology?

Newswise — During the COVID-19 shutdown, many people increasingly turned to technology for entertainment and information, a trend that raises concerns about an increase in technology addiction.

According to the Pew Research Center, about 30 percent of Americans are almost constantly online, and health officials are concerned about the amount of time children and adults spend with technology. China recently banned children from playing online games for more than three hours a week, internet addiction centers have been opening in the United States and Facebook has come under fire for teenagers’ obsessive use of its Instagram app.

“There is functional, healthy engagement with technology – ubiquitous and necessary in our everyday lives – and addictive use, and it can be difficult to know when that line has been crossed,” says Petros Levounis, chair of the Department of Psychiatry, associate dean at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and author of Technological Addictions. “However, while obsessive use of technology may signal an addiction, it could otherwise be a sign of another mental health disorder.”

What does it mean to be addicted to technology?
While the majority of people who use technology will not have any problems – indeed, there are professional and recreational benefits from using electronics – a small percentage could develop an addiction and suffer consequences similar to that from substance abuse. In fact, studies have shown that as internet addiction worsens, so does the probability of developing a substance use disorder.

Using technology can become an obsession. People start engaging activities like online gaming, internet auctions, surfing the Net, social media, texting or cybersex and get caught up in the excitement. Soon, the focus shifts from generating feelings of pleasure and reward to being an activity they do to avoid feeling anxious, irritable or miserable.

How has the COVID-19 shutdown contributed to technology addiction?
We have noticed emerging addictions. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, cybersex has increased, with online dating apps, text chats and online pornography. Internet gaming, too, has exploded. One of the most concerning aspects with online gaming is that companies are now using psychology labs to maximize the effectiveness of their products in a way that is highly reminiscent of how the tobacco companies employed chemists to maximize their products’ addictiveness.

How do people know they’re addicted?
The two major red flags are: continued use of technology despite the knowledge of adverse consequences – people say “I know it’s bad for me, but I have to keep doing it” – and lying to people who are important to you about the frequency of the activity.

If you suspect you or someone you love is addicted to technology, what can you do?
Do not try to get the person into a rehab to be “cured.” Find a psychiatrist, preferably one who specializes in addiction, who can evaluate the person for a variety of disorders. The person might have depression, anxiety or a more serious psychiatric disorder like schizophrenia or bipolar disorder, which is masquerading as a technological addiction.

How can parents help their children to use technology wisely?
Parents need to be good role models and be consistent in setting rules. For example, it is not okay for parents to declare that dinner time is a “cell phone free” time and then proceed to check emails during meals. If parents take technology out of their children’s bedrooms to promote good sleep hygiene, they should abide by these rules as well.

India’s Digital Health ID And You

The newly launched Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission will involve a unique health ID for every citizen. How will it help you get treatment at hospitals across the country, and how can you register?

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM), saying it has the “potential of bringing a revolutionary change in India’s healthcare facilities”. The flagship digital initiative involves the creation of not just a unique health ID for ever

What is the unique health ID, and how does one get it?

If a person wants to be part of the ABDM, she must create a health ID, which is a randomly generated 14-digit number. The ID will be broadly used for three purposes: unique identification, authentication, and threading of the beneficiary’s health records, only with their informed consent, across multiple systems and stakeholders.

One can get a health ID by self-registration on the portal or by downloading the ABMD Health Records app on one’s mobile. Additionally, one can also request the creation of a health ID at a participating health facility, which may include government or private hospitals, community health centres, and wellness centres of the government across India.

he beneficiary will also have to set up a Personal Health Records (PHR) address for consent management, and for future sharing of health records. It is a simple self-declared username, which the beneficiary is required to sign into a Health Information Exchange and Consent Manager (HIE-CM). Each health ID will require linkage to a consent manager to enable sharing of health records data.

An HIE-CM is an application that enables sharing and linking of personal health records for a user. At present, one can use the health ID to sign up on the HIE-CM; the National Health Authority (NHA), however, says multiple consent managers are likely to be available for patients to choose from in the near future.

urrently, ABDM supports health ID creation via mobile or Aadhaar. The official website states that ABDM will soon roll out features that will support health ID creation with a PAN card or a driving licence. For health ID creation through mobile or Aadhaar, the beneficiary will be asked to share details on name, year of birth, gender, address, mobile number/Aadhaar.

Is Aadhaar mandatory?

No, it is voluntary. One can use one’s mobile number for registration, without Aadhaar.

Can I use my Aadhaar number if it is not linked to my mobile number?

If the beneficiary chooses the option of using her Aadhaar number, an OTP will be sent to the mobile number linked to the Aadhaar. However, if she has not linked it to her mobile, the beneficiary has to visit the nearest facility and opt for biometric authentication using Aadhaar number. After successful authentication, she will get her health ID at the participating facility.

Are personal health records secure?

The NHA says ABDM does not store any of the beneficiary health records. The records are stored with healthcare information providers as per their “retention policies”, and are “shared” over the ABDM network “with encryption mechanisms” only after the beneficiary express consent.

Can I delete my health ID and exit the platform?

Yes, the NHA says ABDM, supports such a feature. Two options are available: a user can permanently delete or temporarily deactivate her health ID.

On deletion, the unique health ID will be permanently deleted, along with all demographic details. The beneficiary will not be able to retrieve any information tagged to that health ID in the future, and will never be able to access ABDM applications or any health records over the ABDM network with the deleted ID.

On deactivation, the beneficiary will lose access to all ABDM applications only for the period of deactivation. Until she reactivates her health ID, she will not be able to share the ID at any health facility or share health records over the ABDM network.

Nita Patel Elected President of IEEE Computer Society

Nita Patel, P.E, senior director at the Engineering Lead Design Center-Farmington at Otis, an IEEE Foundation director, and a mentor for several IEEE Women in Engineering summits, has been elected president of The IEEE Computer Society  for 2023. The Indian American engineer is active with multiple IEEE CS committees, the IEEE Industry Engagement Committee, several IEEE Women in Engineering committees, and the IEEE New Hampshire executive committee, according to a press release. She will serve as the 2023 IEEE CS president for a one-year term beginning Jan. 1, 2023. The president oversees IEEE CS programs and operations.

Patel garnered 3,277 votes, compared with 1,791 votes cast for Dimitrios Serpanos, who is a professor at the University of Patras and the president of the Computer Technology Institute, Greece, added the release. Patel leads a critical part of Otis’ global engineering development, providing a wide range of new product capabilities in connected, smart, IoT-based platforms. She was previously with L3Harris where she was senior director, engineering, and led multi-disciplinary, embedded-software design teams in innovative research and new product development, for which she was recognized for significant technical contributions as 2014 L3 Engineer of the Year and 2011 New Hampshire Engineer of the Year.

Patel has served as 1st vice president of the Computer Society, served a three-year term on the Computer Society Board of Governors, founded and led the first five years of the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference, served as Women in Engineering International Chair for which she received the 2014 Larry K Wilson Transnational Award for distinguished contributions to IEEE global activities, served on the Eta Kappa Nu Board of Governors and was IEEE-USA VP of Communications and Public Awareness, according to the release.

Outside of IEEE, she is an active leader within Toastmasters International and the United States Chess Federation. Patel received her MS degree in computer engineering, BS in electrical engineering and BS in mathematics from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Patel noted in her campaign statement that she plans to focus on the following: Nurturing membership growth through conferences, standards and services; Providing access to critical technology to our members through leading publications, continuing education, and energized Technical Communities; Optimizing chapter activities worldwide to expand and strengthen communities within the Computer Society by sharing best practices, by encouraging opportunities to get involved and by developing future leaders; and Increasing volunteer impact by evaluating our tools, processes, and services to make them as simple, relevant and accessible as possible, by developing student and early-career professionals and by expanding the inclusiveness of our volunteer teams.

In other news, Saurabh Bagchi of Purdue University was elected a member of the Board of Governors. The IEEE Computer Society is the world’s home for computer science, engineering, and technology, it said. A global leader in providing access to computer science research, analysis, and information, the IEEE Computer Society offers a comprehensive array of unmatched products, services, and opportunities for individuals at all stages of their professional careers. Known as the premier organization that empowers the people who drive technology, the IEEE Computer Society offers international conferences, peer-reviewed publications, a unique digital library, and training programs.

AAEIO Inaugural Gala Held In Chicago

American Association of Engineers of Indian Origin (AAEIO) organized its inaugural gala to celebrate its official launch on September 26, 2021 at Marriott, Oakbrook IL. The gala featured the introduction of the newly elected board of directors and the address by the distinguished guests.

 

The event started with national Anthems and lamp lighting followed by the inaugural dance performance by the students of SR Dance Academy. The master of ceremony Madhura Sane kickstarted the event by welcoming all the board of directors and the distinguished guest on to the stage. The  President Gladson Varghese delivered his speech to elaborate on the vision behind the initiative of launching AAEIO. He talked about how the organization aims at supporting engineers across the globe by providing them a voice and guidance by the experienced leadership of the organization. Vice President Nitin Maheshweri presented the Vision and 4 pillars of the organization. Chief Guest Consul General of India Mr. Amit Kumar along with Congressman Sean Casten officially Inaugurated the AAEIO  by lighting the Lamp. AAEIO also presented the awards to Dr. Deepak Kant Vyas, Mr. Gulzar Singh and Mr. Brij Sharma for their contributionsto the community and becoming successful Engineering Entrepreneurs. 

 

Redberry CEO Dr. Deepak Kant Vyas Talked about the Business Incubator project AAEIO Launching along with T-Hub and the role of AAEIO in acting as incubator for the start-up companies to provide them the support that they need. Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi along with Consul General of India Mr. Amit Kumar. Founding President Gladson Varghese, Associate dean of Kellogg Mr. Mohanbir Sawhney, Vice President Nitin Maheshweri  cut the ribbon and officially Inaugurated Business Incubator program of AAEIO.  AAEIO will also be planning to organize a summit for all the start up companies in the near future. 

 

Board of Director, Sanjjeev Singh presented a vote of thanks to all the sponsors, supporters and the distinguished guests who attended the event. The elected officials and other special guests and directors included Congressman Sean Casten, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, State Senator Laura Murphy, Consul General, India, Chicago Mr Amit Kumar, CEO Redberri Corporation Mr Deepak Kant Vyas, CEO Powervolt Brij Sharma, Kellog school of Management Associate dean Dr. Mohanbir Sawhney,Trustee Village of Oakbrook Dr. Suresh Reddy, Alderwoman, City of Aurora Shweta Baid. Members of other community organizations also attended the event to extend their support to AAEIO.   

 

Dr. Mohanbir Sawhney, Associate Dean, (Northwestern University, Kellogg) delivered an inspirational and informative keynote speech elaborating on his experience and the roles and future of organizations like AAEIO. The speech by the Vice President 2021 Nitin Maheshwari included the plans for the upcoming initiatives taken by AAEIO and how the organization aims at supporting small businesses, fresh graduates as well as the fellow engineers from all across the globe. The president elect 2021 Ajit Pant talked about how AAEIO will act as an umbrella organization for the engineers from all streams of engineering like civil, mechanical, IT, electronics, Electrical and so on. Nag Jaiswal did the Vote of Thanks and he thanked all the sponsors, Dignitaries, AAEO Board and all the Guests for their help and support. 

 

Consul General Amit Kumar attended the formal launch of the American Association of Engineers of Indian origin (AAEIO) in Chicago on 26 September 2021.  In his remarks, CG welcomed the formation of AAEIO noting that the organization would provide a valuable platform for professional networking among engineers and noted the ambitious objectives that the organization has set for mentoring, education and entrepreneurship support including in India. 

 

CG Kumar also briefed the participants on the successful visit of PM Narendra Modi to the US.  He referred to the synergies in some of the priorities set by two governments and the focus areas identified by AAEIO.  He said that the Consulate would look forward to possible joint activities with them in the future.  Other board of directors present at the gala to were Abhishek Jain (Treasurer), Murugesh Kasilingam, Vinoz Chanamolu, Rajinder Bir Singh Mago, Nag Jaiswal, Vijay Kaul, Gordhan Patel, Anaya Vardya, Sanjjeev Singh, Neil Khot, Madhura Sane and Gulzar Singh.

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