Tag Archives: Help

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.

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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.

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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…

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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…

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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.

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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.

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Google commits up to $4 million to help those impacted by Trump’s immigration order

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

As part of the largest crisis campaign of its company history, Google is expected to raise $ 4 million in support of people affected by President Trump’s immigration order, which was announced Friday.

News of Google’s campaign follows statements against the controversial ban by company CEO Sundar Pichai and the participation of its co-founder Sergey Brin in a protest at San Francisco International Airport, USA Today reports.

The $ 4 million—a composite of a $ 2 million fund put up by Google, and up to $ 2 million more in employee donations—will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, the International Rescue Committee and the United Nation’s refugee agency (UNHCR.)

According to Pichai, Trump’s controversial order banning immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. affects 187 members of Google’s staff alone.

“We’re concerned about the impact of this order and any proposals that could impose restrictions on Googlers and their families, or that could create barriers to bringing great talent to the U.S.,” he said in a statement. “We’ll continue to make our views on these issues known to leaders in Washington and elsewhere.”

Google is not the only tech company to speak out against Trump’s order.

Facebook, Apple, Lyft, and Uber have voiced varying degrees of alarm, Fortune’s Tory Newmyer reported Sunday.

Executives at Tesla Motors, Netflix and Airbnb (airbnb) have also denounced the policy. The latter announced this weekend it would offer free accommodation for refugees and others affected by the clampdown.

“Barring refugees and people who are not a threat from entering America simply because they are from a certain country is not right, and we must stand with those who are affected. The doors to America shall remain open, and any that are locked will not be for long,” Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote on a note to employees posted on the company’s website, Sunday.

This story originally appeared on Fortune.com. Copyright 2017

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11 Ways to Help Animals While You Shop

11 Ways to Help Animals While You Shop

Do you shop? Do you like helping animals? Well, thanks to these compassionate programs (and others on the PETA Mall website), you can do both at the same time! From your Amazon shopping cart to your credit card, here are 11 shockingly easy ways to help animals while you shop:

1. AmazonSmile

If you’re looking for a way to help animals from the comfort of your couch, check out AmazonSmile. Amazon will donate 0.5 percent of the price of eligible purchases each time you shop. Log in to AmazonSmile with your normal Amazon log-in info, select PETA as your charity, and shop ’til you drop.

amazon smile

2. PETA’s Amazon Wish List

Check out PETA’s Amazon wish list, which is full of items that we need to help animals. From leashes to treats, you pick the items that you want to donate and check out, then Amazon sends the gifts to PETA, where they’ll certainly be put to good use.

3. WebThriftStore

Get rid of some clutter and help animals at the same time. Round up the items that you’d like to donate, then list them here. (Don’t forget to select PETA as your charity!) And if you’re looking for deals, don’t forget to see what other people are listing.

4. eBay for Charity

With eBay for Charity, you can donate proceeds from your sales ranging from 10 to 100 percent. Simply select PETA as your charity and start selling for animals.


5. PayPal Giving Fund

Is PayPal your trusted way of spending money online? We’ve got you covered. With PETA’s PayPal Giving Fund account, you can make sure that 100 percent of your donation supports animals.

6. PETA Visa

If you’re thinking about a new credit card, consider applying for a PETA Visa card! A percentage of all purchases goes toward our lifesaving work, and if you use the card within 90 days of approval, an additional $ 60 is donated.

7. Caring Cent

Help animals with every purchase! When you pay with a credit or debit card, Caring Cent will round up your purchase amount to the nearest dollar and donate the difference to PETA.

8. Humble Bundle

Like video games? Like helping animals? Now, you can enjoy both at the same time. Visit Humble Bundle, select PETA as your charity, and you’re good to go. Even better, you get to set your own price!

9. TisBest

TisBest allows you to buy gift cards for your friends and family (or even yourself) that can be spent on the charity of your choice—and PETA, of course, is an option.

10. Walk for a Dog

Download the WoofTrax “Walk for a Dog” application to your smartphone, and when choosing what cause to walk for, select PETA (listed as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals). The next time that you and your canine companion go for a walk to your neighborhood shops, just click the “Start Walking for …” button and the app will keep track of the walk for you. Once you’re finished, it’ll donate to PETA for each step you took.


11. PETA Checks

Choose from unique check designs created especially for PETA!

If you’re looking for a more direct way to help animals, consider becoming a PETA member!

For more ways to help animals:

The post 11 Ways to Help Animals While You Shop appeared first on PETA.

Action – PETA

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

Mapstr’s mission to help everyone bookmark and organize all their favorite places

Mapstr on Web

French mapping startup Mapstr is today taking the next step in its mission to help people around the world remember and organize their favorite places — launching Android, web, and iMessage versions of its app.

Mapstr Android

Above: Mapstr Android

Founded out of Paris in 2014 by Sébastien Caron, Mapstr has built a small following of 50,000 monthly active users (MAUs) over the past year for an iOS app that lets you bookmark any place around the world, from pubs and parks to museums and everything in between. Though similar features exist in other popular mapping apps — including Google Maps — Mapstr has been building a service dedicated specifically to this cause, ensuring you never forget all those great places you visit.

You can add places to your bookmarks through detecting your current location, manually searching for a place, or even taking a photo of an address — Mapstr taps the smarts of optical character recognition (OCR) to automatically identify and save an address. And Mapstr packs a ton of additional features, including tagging, which lets you group related places under the same category, such as “museums” or “car parks.” You can also access business details like opening hours.

Mapstr isn’t the first company to create such an app — Pin Drop hit the U.S. in 2014 with a similar proposition. But it was closed due to lack of funding, and its U.K.-based team was eventually hired by Apple. Then there’s Citymaps, which offers similar functionality but has a slew of extra features that make it more of a social travel guide.

Android, web, and more

Today, more than a year after Mapstr was launched on iOS, the service is now also available on Android, and the company is introducing a version for the web and iMessage (iOS 10 only) as well. Related to this, Mapstr is also launching a WordPress plugin and a software development kit (SDK) that lets third parties embed Mapstr maps in their own websites and apps.

Mapstr: Android

Above: Mapstr: Android

As Android is the most common mobile operating system in just about every market, its version of Mapstr perhaps represents the biggest element of today’s news in terms of immediately scaling the service beyond its existing pool of users.

The app has been in beta testing for a few weeks now and has amassed around 5,000 users in that time. “We were a little afraid of bad reviews by releasing a very early beta version, but users have been amazing, telling us all the bugs and crashes they [experienced] in a very positive way,” explained CEO Caron to VentureBeat. “In fact, they were so happy to finally find an app to save their favorite places and share them with their friends that they almost didn’t care about the various bugs.”

Caron told VentureBeat that the company has raised around $ 1.4 million in investment so far, and though it isn’t yet monetizing the app directly, it does have some plans for how it will do so in the future. For example, it may let users subscribe to maps that have been created by brands and media partners, perhaps as part of a special promotion that invites users to traverse a city.

“We’ll [also] let firms, such as media, tourism companies, public authorities, and so on, use the Mapstr platform to send a map of their own to their customers and embed those Mapstr maps on their website,” said Caron. “It’s a SaaS (software as a service) model, with additional services for professionals and partners, which may include in-app purchases.”

So while Android and the web are a major part of today’s news, the company’s longer-term vision — to create and monetize a platform that makes it easy for organizations to group and package “places” — is also worth noting. Mapstr wants to create an app that’s like Pocket… but for places. “We’re also working with many lifestyle and travel bloggers to let them use Mapstr as a new way to communicate with their audience, along with APIs to be integrated in any app,” Caron said.

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