Tag Archives: Help

This New Year’s Resolution Will Help You and a Friend

This New Year’s Resolution Will Help You and a Friend

Written by Tiffany Rose

Every year, I make the same New Year’s resolutions: Go to the gym more often (no, the sauna doesn’t count), keep a gratitude journal, volunteer more often, lose the baby weight (guys, my son is 7), take a class, take a break from Facebook (or Myspace, depending on the year), and start meditating. While I’ll be making them all again this year, I’ve decided to add a new one that I’ll actually keep. In 2017, I resolve to help a friend (or three!) go vegan. A vegan lifestyle is second nature to me and probably to you, too, but some people still find it intimidating. Luckily, there are a lot of easy ways that we can help them make the change.

You probably have a friend or two who asks you questions about going vegan, and I’m betting that you can nudge them to give it a try. Let’s help them together!

Here are some ways that we can do it:

  1. Mail them PETA’s vegan starter kit. Your friends will be thrilled to receive this free, glossy, recipe-laden magazine instead of another credit card bill from the holidays. Just fill in their info, and we’ll handle the rest.

  1. Plan a movie night. There are many informative and entertaining films about food and animals. Check out this list of our favorites and have your friends over for a movie night.
  1. Go shopping together. Arrange a time when you and your friends can go grocery shopping together, and introduce them to the many delicious vegan items on the shelves. Many people have no idea that there’s such a huge selection of plant-based options out there—show ’em!
  1. Have them over for dinner. Of course, it only makes sense to cook up some of the grub you just bought and let them taste the goodness for themselves. (Note: If you’re a disaster in the kitchen, don’t cook for them. It could ruin everything. Trust me—I know what I’m talking about. Instead, use an app to find nearby vegan-friendly restaurants.)

  1. Lead by example. Every time that we choose a vegan option at a restaurant, grocery store, party, or anywhere else, we’re helping ensure that vegan options remain plentiful. There’s no need to be pushy about it. In fact, please don’t be—it gives vegans a bad reputation, which doesn’t help animals. Simply let your compassionate behavior speak for itself.

Activists Handing Out Leaflets

This is a New Year’s resolution that I can actually stick to. Lives are waiting to be saved, so I hope you’ll also resolve to help a friend go vegan. Now, please excuse me while I renew my gym membership, again.

Want other ways to help animals in the new year?

The post This New Year’s Resolution Will Help You and a Friend appeared first on PETA.

Action – PETA

CPG investing platform CircleUp will now issue loans to help consumer brands grow

 It’s hard raising money as a consumer packaged goods (CPG) company, but one startup wants to make it easier. CircleUp, which already helps consumer brands raise millions in equity financing, is now going to issue loans to help smaller CPG companies raise working capital and avoid cash crunches. Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Canada’s Assent Compliance raises $31.4M Series B round to help businesses stay in compliance

 Assent Compliance isn’t in a sexy space. The company focuses on helping enterprises collect the necessary data to keep their global supply chains in compliance with local and international regulations. But while that may not sound like the most exciting space to be in, the company today announced that it has raised a $ 40 million CAD Series B round. Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Shortlist raises $1.5M to help businesses manage their freelancers

 In most businesses, managing freelancers still mostly happens in Excel spreadsheets that are shared across the company. Shortlist wants to make this process more efficient by offering a single platform for managing and paying freelancers and independent contractors. The company, which was founded in 2015 by Martin Konrad (CEO) and Joey Fraiser (COO), today announced that it has raised a… Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Soulmates.ai launches to help brands find compatible influencers using AI

Influencer marketing is increasing in popularity, but the question of who to engage with raises an interesting quandary.

Brands are finding that employing celebrities and mega-connectors comes with a high risk, and it doesn’t necessarily translate into a reasonable return. These placements also tend to be “one and done” — not a relationship that builds and grows over time. Micro influencers, on the other hand, are often performing better than celebrities overall, but it is hard to manage them at scale, or even find the right people to partner with in the first place.

Today, the Ayzenburg Group has launched its new AI-powered platform, Soulmates.ai, which is designed to help solve this tricky problem. The fascinating thing? It is being developed in conjunction with Dr. J. Galen Buckwalter Ph.D., the former vice president of research and development of Eharmony.com.

In short, the solution is attempting to match your brand with suitable influencers using multiple signs of compatibility.

Soulmates.ai uses artificial intelligence to read, analyze, understand, and categorize public social media messages, looking for people who have both reach and relevance but who also are already advocates for your brand. In essence, it helps you to find micro influencers who already have some resonance with your brand, at scale.

“When brands learn more about their own identity, it’s thrilling,” Eric Burgess, VP of product at Ayzenberg Group, told me. “Capturing the perspectives of like-minded creators can open the value of their products in new ways. They can collaborate on content that will delight the audiences that are organically targeted to receive it.”

Combining natural language processing with a contextualization engine and psychometric analysis, it grades conversations, identifies risks, and ultimately pairs brands with the influencers that are most likely to fit their personality.

So how does it work?

You start by typing in a keyword, username, or hashtag. Terms can be combined, so it is easy — for example — to ask Soulmates.ai to search for influencers who use keywords or hashtags in a particular geographical area.

Once the search has completed, you are presented with a broad range of filters to help narrow down the list of influencers to those you would want to work with. You can decide which channels to focus on, such as Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and Facebook. There is a wide range of personality filters too, such as choosing how extroverted, conscientious, agreeable, open, and even neurotic the influencer is, according to the AI’s interpretation of their public social media messages.

The resulting list shows the influencers that match your preferences: their profile, their traits, and their latest posts. From there, you can visit their profile. That’s where the Soulmates.irm browser plugin comes into play. This companion solution lets you add the influencer to a campaign directly from the influencer’s social media account. Once inside Soulmates.irm — the “IRM” here stands for “influencer relationship manager” — you can build a list of influencers and manage everything from approval through to contact, contract negotiation through to production.

Soulmates.ai, and the companion Soulmates.irm, are both available from today. IRM has a free base version with upgrades to add functionality, including access to Soulmates.ai. Soulmates.ai itself has enterprise pricing tailored to each client’s use.

Social – VentureBeat

Kylie uses AI to help brands automate answers to customer service requests

Messaging services are being highly touted as the next medium for customer service as they offer brands a way to not only deploy human agents, but also implement artificial intelligence to address requests. But what if companies want to use AI in areas besides chatbots or on Twitter? Kylie is a startup that’s making its public debut claiming that it can “clone” a brand’s social media presence and automate responses across Twitter, Zendesk, Salesforce Chatter, and other services.

Founded by Jamasen Rodriguez and Sinan Ozdemir, this Y Combinator Fellowship startup says it is using “cutting-edge research” that enables the Kylie AI to understand the context and sentiment of a customer complaint, determine ways to respond, and make the proper decisions based on company-centric data points.

AI has garnered quite a bit of attention for its potential to improve the customer service experience, particularly from the brand’s perspective. Facebook offers Wit.ai to developers for use in bots, and platforms built specifically around the space include DigitalGenius, True AI, and Salesforce’s Einstein.

When implemented, Kylie monitors all incoming communications to a company’s help desk and then generates an automated response for an agent to review, approve, and send out. After enough recurring questions and answers have been analyzed, the AI will reach a certain level of confidence that enables it to bypass the human review process and respond automatically.

Rodriguez told VentureBeat in an email: “A brand would want a cloned personality to respond to customers faster via text channels, increase brand voice consistency across all channel, and reduce the average holding time an agent takes to respond to a complaint. The cloned personality allows a brand to scale personalized customer support without cutting quality or empathy.”

Brands interested in using Kylie will have to integrate the AI into an existing third-party service provider, such as Zendesk, Google, Twitter, SAP, or Salesforce. The potential for Kylie is to at least reduce the workload for customer support agents, who would no longer have to look up answers to customer queries and could instead rely on AI to predict what’s needed and surface it. Or the AI could eventually handle menial tasks and free up humans to take on more complex support requests.

The company said that Kylie is also useful if you’re looking for something to handle around-the-click support requests without bringing on more personnel.

Kylie’s AI will work across a variety of channels, including email, SMS, Twitter, and chat. The company has signed Microsoft, Verizon, Nike, Best Buy, HP, and DiGiorno Pizza as customers.

Social – VentureBeat

Help us help: 20 used smartphones to fight Female Genital Mutilation

Worldwide, there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of charitable organizations. That’s great of course, but the amount of phil-entropy doesn’t make choosing what charity to support any easier. We’d like to help. Every week, we’ll pick a charity doing something worthwhile using tech, and break down what they do, why that matters, and most importantly, how to help in a tangible way. To kick this off, we’re starting out with the Tanzania Development Trust, a charity registered in the UK that has funded development projects within Tanzania since 1975. Their ask is simple: 20 used smartphones. What are they doing? The Tanzania Development…

This story continues at The Next Web

The Next Web

A smart object to help you through grief might be less dumb than it sounds

The exhibition floor at SXSW offers a mixed bag of experiences, from smart motorcycle helmets to devices that induce stuttering (true story, I tried it, it didn’t work). But one of the more intriguing products was to be found at Canada’s stand: Fragment, a smart commemorative object that helps grieving relatives get through their pain. At first glance, the object caught my attention because it looked like something straight off the internet of shit twitter. A smart urn, really? But after talking to founder David Beaulieu, it actually started making sense. The Quebecois entrepreneur told me he had been in…

This story continues at The Next Web

The Next Web

Google harnesses machine learning to help publishers thwart abusive comments online


Google and its early-stage incubator, Jigsaw, have launched a new tool that uses machine learning to help publishers combat online abuse.

With Perspective, Google is offering online publishers an API they can integrate into any of their platforms that facilitate user comments. Perspective taps a human-generated database of comments that have already been tagged as abusive or toxic. Through the API, publishers can connect their own comments with the hundreds of thousands on Google’s database, and Perspective then rates them based on how similar they are to those previously flagged. Perspective facilities corrections from users, too, so it should improve as it receives more feedback from people using it.

The Perspective API essentially provides the data, and publishers can elect to use this data in different ways. Comments could be flagged by publishers to be manually reviewed by moderators or by members of the community, alternatively, a publisher could decide to illustrate to a commenter in real time that what they’re writing is abusive:


Above: Perspective

Online abuse has been a problem since the advent of the web, with many publishers ultimately ditching comments sections due to the difficulties in policing them. Earlier this month, Amazon-owned IMDb shuttered its comments section after years of battling toxicity. The IMDb board has now resurfaced on Reddit (good luck with that).

While most comments sections have a community-led approach for flagging abuse, and many are already able to filter out comments that contain profanities, being able to tap a gargantuan database of pre-flagged comments should prove helpful. And as more publishers pick up on it, Perspective will gain access to additional comments, which should accelerate improvement. Perspective is also now part of Google’s open-source software library, TensorFlow, and its cloud Machine Learning platform.

Google’s latest initiative comes at a time when technology companies are increasingly investing in anti-abuse smarts. Just last week, Twitter unveiled a slew of new tools to battle trolls, while back in August Microsoft announced a similar initiative.

Google says it has been testing Perspective with the New York Times, which has a team dedicated to sifting through comments before they go live — manually fielding some 11,000 comments daily.

“This problem doesn’t just impact online readers,” explained Jigsaw president Jared Cohen, in a blog post. “News organizations want to encourage engagement and discussion around their content but find that sorting through millions of comments to find those that are trolling or abusive takes a lot of money, labor, and time. As a result, many sites have shut down comments altogether. But they tell us that isn’t the solution they want. We think technology can help.”

Though the focus of Perspective is on abuse, for now, the technology could also be appropriated for other types of comments. “Over the next year we’re keen to partner and deliver new models that work in languages other than English ,as well as models that can identify other perspectives, such as when comments are unsubstantial or off-topic,” added Cohen.

Social – VentureBeat

Google and Facebook to help French newsrooms combat ‘fake news’ ahead of presidential election

Google / Google France

Google and Facebook are to help a host of French news organizations combat the growing scourge of fake news ahead of the upcoming French presidential election campaign.

With CrossCheck, Google has partnered with First Draft and Facebook to support a coalition of notable newsrooms — including Le Monde, Agence France-Presse (AFP), France Télévisions, BuzzFeed, Global Voices, and Les Echos — to help the French electorate “make sense of what and who to trust in their social media feeds, web searches, and general online news consumption,” according to David Dieudonné, Google’s News Lab lead in France.

“With combined expertise from across media and technology, CrossCheck aims to ensure hoaxes, rumours, and false claims are swiftly debunked, and misleading or confusing stories are accurately reported,” said Dieudonné. “With the French presidential election approaching, journalists from across France and beyond will work together to find and verify content circulating publicly online, whether it is photographs, videos, memes, comment threads, or news sites.”

Though it’s far from a new phenomenon, the “fake news” problem has received renewed attention in the wake of two notable political events in the past twelve months — Brexit and the U.S. presidency. The extent to which hoaxes and fake news articles influenced the outcome of those political campaigns is up for debate, but technology companies and news organizations are embracing new tools as concerns grow over the online spread of false information, or “alternative facts.”

Already this year, Le Monde has launched an anti-fake news platform constituting a suite of fact-checking products powered by a database of hundreds of “unreliable” source websites. And Facebook, for its part, has already introduced fake-news thwarting tools in some countries, including Germany. Moreover, back in November, Facebook acquired CrowdTangle, an analytics tool that tracks how links are shared on social media services — which could help measure the spread of viral content. Facebook’s support of CrossCheck will also include broader “media literacy efforts that will help to explain the [news] verification process” while keeping “relevant audiences up to date with confirmed and disputed information relating to the election,” according to First Draft.

Google too has been pushing to help stymie the spread of false information online, and last September it partnered with First Draft and other news organizations to launch Electionland ahead of the U.S. presidential election.

The French presidential election takes place on April 23, 2017, and if no candidate wins a majority, a follow-up election between the top two candidates will take place two weeks later. Now with CrossCheck, news organizations will be able to tap collectively fact-checked sources for their own articles and broadcasts.

However, it’s not entirely clear whether any of this will ultimately make much difference, given the belief held by some that people don’t make decision based on facts.

Social – VentureBeat