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8 Jobs AI and Robots Are Unlikely to Take Over
Mon, 18 Feb 2019 05:00:00 -0800

Automation and artificial intelligence are prominent buzzwords that are getting integrated in everyday life more and more with each passing year. The rise of automation and AI has allowed machines to supplant humans in certain tasks and make processes more efficient. However, there are still many jobs deemed incompatible with automation.

Featured below are some of the occupations unlikely to be occupied by robots or machines, at least in the foreseeable future.

1. Primary medical care, therapy, caregiving, and child care

Robots are used in medicine including surgeries. Some are even used for remote medical procedures. The underlying technology for medical robotics, though, is still far from reaching a point that is comparable to how human primary care physicians work. So far, no concept technologies have been developed to build robots that are good enough to replace therapists, caregivers and child care workers. It all boils down to empathy and communication. Machines lack these two attributes that are vital in providing effective healthcare and assistance to children and the elderly.

2. Art creation

Imagine a painting, sculpture, song or movie created by a robot. Would you consider them as works of art? How different are these from computer art reproductions or randomly-generated assemblage of shapes, lines, and colors? Do these “artworks” have “soul” in them? If you ask artists, most of them will likely have unfavorable opinions on the matter. While some may have an open mind when it comes to AI art, many will raise brows over it.

To clarify, art here refers to the traditional concept of art, which entails paintings, sculptures, poetry, music, ceramics, photography and others that are considered the products of human creativity. Computer graphics and visual effects are also regarded as art since they are produced by humans working with computers. What’s controversial are the works of AI computers that come up with songs, paintings and stories autonomously.

3. Judgeship

No matter how good artificial intelligence is, it would still be difficult for humans to entrust the dispensation of justice to AI. It’s one thing using artificial intelligence to facilitate the analysis of facts. It’s another relegating an acquittal or conviction verdict to a machine. A scene where robots serve as the jury and adjudicator in a legal case looks more like a horror science-fiction scene than a demonstration of technological advancement.

Judges cannot be mere formalists, which is what machines are good at. A big part of them are expected to be realists. A group of researchers from University College London developed an AI system that was made to determine the appropriate decisions for (resolved) cases handled by the European Court of Human Rights. The system went over the case files and pieces of evidence for 584 cases and came up with decisions. The researchers found the system’s decisions to be 79 percent accurate (based on the actual verdicts for the evaluated cases).

Being close to an 8 out of 10 “accuracy rate” does not look that great. The researchers acknowledge that AI is unlikely to replace human judges or lawyers, but they believe the system they developed can be helpful for judges when it comes to prioritizing cases.

4. Language translation and interpreting

Language translation is another job that machines cannot effectively handle. While there are gadgets, apps and web-based services that can perform simple translations, they are far from becoming as accurate and contextually-precise as human translations. There’s a reason why governments and businesses still hire human translators and interpreters for official functions.

5. Computer programming

If machines learn to do computer programming autonomously, the future of humanity will be uncertain. With the ability to program, robots will continue improving artificial intelligence technology and possibly reach a point that they would “think” they are superior to humans.

However, at present, it would be difficult for machines to be their own programmers. Programming is not some repetitive mindless task. It requires concepts and creativity. It needs an autonomous entity to serve as the source of ideas. If it’s extremely challenging to develop a program that can automagically convert programs in one language to another, don’t expect the creation of a programming-capable AI system anytime soon. AI might be capable of writing codes, but this does not mean they can replace human programmers.

6. Management

Management jobs are incompatible with automation. It’s difficult to relegate them to artificial intelligence. Managers are like judges. They need to take on various perspectives and purviews as they direct courses of action and come up with decisions. Additionally, for managers to be effective in herding a team, they need compassion, empathy, and the ability to connect to subordinates and build trust.

7. Journalism

Drones and robots have excellent information gathering capabilities, but these don’t necessarily make them good journalists. Journalism is more than just the collection of facts and data. It’s about pursuing stories that are relevant, timely and of interest to the intended audience. More importantly, journalism serves an important role in society, being regarded as the “fourth estate.” It forms part of the checks and balances in free societies. Machines have yet to learn journalistic discretion and the sense of chasing stories that matter.

8. Chef-level food preparation

You may have heard of a robot that was once considered the world’s first robotic chef. This robot from Moley Robotics, however, is far from a fraction of what a real chef is. It does not have the creativity of a chef. It is even incapable of tasting the food it prepares to determine if it’s worth serving. It relies on instructions to prepare dishes, definitely not what a real chef is expected to do.

In summary, it’s a tall order and even virtually impossible for machines to take on jobs that require creativity, original ideas, empathy, and other attributes inherent among humans. Technological advancements may eventually give rise to better robotic chefs, managers, judges, or artists, but in the near future the jobs mentioned above are safe from AI and robotic domination.

 

A Simple Guide for Getting More Traffic to Your Blog
Mon, 18 Feb 2019 06:00:00 -0800

 

Blogging provides a platform for your business to display your expertise and build brand awareness amongst your target audience.  By producing consistent content, you will improve your business’s SEO, as search engines like Google reward companies who publish valuable content. Blogging also fuels SEO because you are able to broaden your keyword coverage by designing posts around topics that are highly relevant to your target market. 

So, it’s clear that blogging is an undeniable asset for marketing your brand and one of the best SEO tactics, but how do you get started? Here’s an easy-to-use guide on how to successfully launch and promote a blog for your business.  

1. Subscription CTAs

On your website, you’ll want to include a powerful and creative call-to-action that gives visitors the ability to subscribe to your blog and newsletter. You can configure a push notifications sign-up on your website, which is a pop-up that displays in a user’s browser and allows them to opt into real-time notifications from your site. Whether you’re announcing a special offer, a new product launch, noteworthy news, or a newly published post, push notifications are a simple way to build an audience of engaged followers with a mere click of a button. You can also encourage readers to subscribe to your RSS feed.

  2. Social Media

Building your online presence includes leveraging your social media community to promote your blog posts. Cross-post your articles to all social media channels, using different intriguing headlines and images for each social site to ensure your content remains fresh and unique. This will also provide your business with robust analytics surrounding what types of headlines or images generate the highest engagement. To maximize efficiency and save time, develop a content calendar to plan your posting schedule in advance. 

3. Traffic Tagging

For any references you use in your blog post, make sure to tag those individuals or companies on your social media channels. For example, let’s say you included a link to a Forbes article in your blog because you shared a quote from a popular tech mogul that was relevant to your post. When you share your blog on social media, tag Forbes, the tech expert and the individual who authored the article -- they’ll receive an alert about the tag and hopefully share the post with their networks, broadening your visibility. 

Additionally, create a Twitter stream to monitor keywords connected with your blog post. Adding your article to relevant conversations whenever possible will maximize engagement and help you measure your success. 

4. Paid Advertisements

Paid social media advertisements are a key strategy for promoting your blog. For platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Google Ads, you can build brand awareness, drive increased traffic to your site, improve lead generation, and engage with your audience through comments or Facebook Messenger. 

When crafting paid posts for Facebook or Instagram, you can either target users that have previously engaged with your website, posts, or fan page, or you can design a highly targeted campaign focusing on new users who fall into a certain age bracket or share the same set of interests. 

If you decide to leverage Google Ads to promote top-of-the-funnel content, the pricing can be quite cost-effective and it’ll drive your advertisements to relevant users’ intent on digesting the content you’re serving. 

5. Community Promotion

There are communities on various platforms and website that can assist in amplifying your blog. Here are my top tips and communities to leverage: 

● Industry Influencers

Networking and building relationships with industry influencers, professionals in your field, and other bloggers is the key to winning and retaining customers. Growing and establishing relationships based on trust and value will not only amplify your market presence as a business, but it’ll generate referrals. 

● Facebook Groups

Joining and engaging with blogging communities is the easiest way to get started. You can connect with Facebook groups that are specific to your business’s niche, as well as blogger communities that support and share content with their networks. 

  ● LinkedIn Groups

Another popular social platform to voice your brand’s message and content is LinkedIn groups. Join and actively participate in industry-specific groups so you can position yourself as an expert in your space in both a B2B and B2C capacity. 

● Promotional Services

Lastly, if you’d like to invest a couple dollars in a promotional service, there are resources like Triberr and QUUU that provide cost-effective solutions for amplifying your social reach, providing hand-curated content, and connecting with influencers in your niche to share your blog posts.

6. Blogger Outreach 

One of the greatest (free) ways to broadcast your content is to reach out to other blog owners. Whether you agree to swap content, or they allow you to contribute as a guest writer, getting your name out on as many credible sources as possible will greatly enhance the engagement and traffic to your blog.

When it comes to incorporating a blogging strategy for your business, there are a plethora of resources at your disposal to help you grow your audience and generate more leads. By implementing some of the above tips, you’ll begin growing your presence and making a name for your brand.

File Management Practices Every Small Business Should Follow
Mon, 18 Feb 2019 07:31:00 -0800

Small businesses cannot avoid creating word documents and other files. It's simply part of running a business to generate important documents that must be stored either for internal operations, clients' reference or government compliance. In the past, filing cabinets typically lined the walls of every office, regardless of the industry. As technology has evolved, so have methods of document management. However, while document management might seem like a straightforward concept, there is often more to it than meets the eye.

Understanding how to properly establish and maintain a digital archive is critical to keeping your documents secure, accessible and adaptable to your business's needs. Document management can generally be broken down into three broad categories that a small business must consider. Each represents an important element in setting up your archives to help streamline business operations and secure important files. These tips will help you make sure you get it right the first time.  

1. Digitization 

The first step in establishing a digital archive is scanning documents or importing your existing records into a centralized system. Document management systems are designed to make it easier for you to establish and maintain a complete digital archive of the records your business requires.

"Records can be scanned when they are received or being processed … or you can assign an internal employee to scan in batches on an agreed-upon frequency that can range from daily to annually," said Jim Collins, president of Chicago-based document imaging company Datamation. "If you prefer not to use internal resources, you can outsource this work to a document-scanning service bureau who can go through your records, batch-scan everything and deliver you the digital files."

 

Editor's note: Looking for document management software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

 

 

Document imaging

Digitization of paper records begins with a process known as document imaging. Imaging typically involves scanning documents into your document management software. Most document management systems use what is known as optical character recognition (OCR) to automatically identify and index documents based on the text that is on the page. [Interested in document management software? Check out our best picks.]

"Today's OCR programs are extremely intelligent and can accurately detect a high percentage of printed and handwritten text," said Faith Kubicki, content marketing manager for document management company IntelliChief. "That said, each program's accuracy rate depends on the quality of the document that's being put into the system. If pages are smudged or stained, or images are blurry, the program may have a harder time recognizing the information."

While much of the digitization process can be automated in this way, it makes ensuring accuracy essential. The next step of digitizing your archives is establishing a system for quality control.

Quality control

To be sure your documents imaged correctly, many document management systems allow you to set a "custom confidence rate," which means the software will only accept files that meet that threshold. For example, if the software believes it has imaged a document 90 percent accurately but your custom confidence rate is 95 percent, that document would not be accepted without manual review and approval. 

"All records that are digitized must be quality-control reviewed for accuracy, integrity and completeness," Collins said. "This can be done either right at scanning or after by checking the images."

Also, of course, take the time to remove staples, paper clips and other obstructions from paper records before scanning them into the system.

2. Organization

Once you have digitized your documents and imported any digital files you need, you must organize them for easy retrieval. Your archive is only as good as its accessibility – just as you wouldn't want to search multiple file cabinets for a specific document, you don't want to pore over a vast, disorganized digital archive.

Luckily, most document management software begins the organization process for you with OCR. The software identifies certain keywords and elements in the document and affixes metadata that automatically indexes your documents for you. However, to be truly organized and accurate, it's wise to further delineate documents from one another by adding more details and metadata manually.

Storage

You have two major options for storing your documents: on-premises servers and cloud-based platforms. On-premises servers demand a higher upfront investment and in-house IT resources for ongoing maintenance, but they give you greater control over your documents and place them under the umbrella of your security measures. Cloud-based platforms remove the burden of maintenance and generally cost less, but you're trusting a third party to manage your data for you, potentially creating additional vulnerabilities.

"Both [on-premises and cloud storage] options are viable, but the cloud provides an automatic offsite backup," Collins said. "This is increasingly becoming the storage choice for most companies. Most cloud sites are certified, secure and very efficient."

It's important to do your research on any cloud storage provider and ensure it meets your standards of security. Collins added that it is wise to maintain your own disaster recovery backup for all records and systems.

"This backup can come in many ways, such as having a scanner to scan and archive records, storing important files in multiple locations, and establishing policies and practices to capture documents and keep them secure as a regular practice."

Security

Security goes beyond simple storage considerations. Your archive is going to contain all your business's documents, including the most sensitive ones. As data breaches become more common, it should be a top priority to ensure your archive is as secure as possible.

"When selecting a software program, small businesses should also look for configurable firewalls, active directory authentication and SSL technologies," Kubicki said. "They should also find a system that provides them with a comprehensive, uneditable record of every single time a document was accessed (and by which employee)."

In addition, most document management systems include user access permissions, which allow admins to determine which users can access, or even see, certain files stored in the archive. This helps keep vulnerabilities to a minimum for confidential information.

"It's important for small businesses to customize their access permissions, especially when multiple departments are using the same document management system," Kubicki said. "This ensures that financial data stays within accounting, sensitive employee information can only be viewed by HR, and so on."

Retention

Understanding how long you should retain certain word documents and files helps improve security and free up storage space. Some documents don't need to be kept permanently, while others are important enough to retain.

"Going back to what was mentioned above, most documents shouldn't be stored in perpetuity," Kubicki said. "For instance, the IRS recommends that small businesses retain financial records for seven years. But when it comes to internal business documents, like supplier contracts and customer order records, it's normal to retain those for longer."

3. Collaboration

Finally, once your archive is fully digitized and organized as to be easily accessible, your team needs to be able to revise documents on the fly, without creating contradictory edits. The best document management systems have built-in tools to help teams collaborate.

"Good systems will track versions of all content, allow multiple simultaneous access to the same documents, and facilitate production collaboration," Collins said. "For more complex applications, workflow can add structure and accuracy to defined processes through routing, approvals, signatures, checklists and reminders."

Collaboration tools help your team work seamlessly together right within the document management software, as well as prevent contradictory edits from occurring on a document when multiple users are trying to access it. These tools are essential for teams that aren't just storing files, but constantly revisiting and reworking them.

Want to learn more about document management?

Managing your files doesn't have to be difficult. With tools like document management software, it's easier than ever. But there is no substitute for understanding how to best digitize, organize and manage your archive. If you're looking for a document management system for your small business, visit our best picks for document management software for reviews of some of the best solutions on the market.

12 Things You Can Post on Social Media When You're Lacking Inspiration
Mon, 18 Feb 2019 08:00:00 -0800

Social media is a hungry little animal. It’s caused a whole new type of anxiety. It's a little like a modern day Tamagotchi - you need to feed it regularly or it will “die.”

If you neglect to be active on social media, the attention you seek for your business will dwindle until you revive it. People will start to forget.

When I work with clients, the usual complaint I hear is, “I don’t have anything interesting to say.” This is especially true if you run a non-creative, celebrity or product-led business, and you don’t have lots of pretty pictures to help you make your channel interesting.

The list below will show you that even the most tedious and "boring" businesses have a whole host of things they can do and share to show how interesting work life actually is. 

Editor's note: Need help with social media management for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.

 
1. Go with the past

Maybe nothing happened this week, but if you had a brainstorming session you could probably pull out some highlights from the past. It doesn’t have to be a "Throwback Thursday" for you to share an image with a caption detailing what happened back then. It can be any notable event, a milestone, a cause for celebration or a fond memory in your business or industry. 

2. Answer FAQs

Ask anyone in your team: what is the question you get asked the most? Make a list, and create image posts with the captions and answers. It can also be a blog posts answering all these different questions. You can grab attention using headlines such as “three questions we get every time we start a project” or “Wondered about _____? You’re not the only one!” 

3. What do people just not get?

Similar to the above, there are probably things you see your customers assume about your business or your industry based on their preconceived notions, rumours, common myths and misconceptions. And they just aren’t true! What is it people are getting wrong? Make a list, and with good design and well written copy, each of these can be turned into a post, images, video or blog. 

4. Who’s in your team?

Look around you, and hopefully you will see your lovely team members and smile. Each one of them is special, unique, smart, quirky and good at their job. Each one of them has great insight and interesting stories. If you get professional photos taken for your team, a picture of them with a caption about their background, values, or contributions at work would make great personality-driven social media posts. They might also be great interview subjects for blog posts. 

5. Favorite clients and partnerships

Off the top of your head, you could probably list three to five of your favorite clients. There will likely be things about the work you do with them or the reason you chose to work with them which are of interest to your followers. You can add details such as what brought you together and the success of your project or collaboration. And if you’re in doubt, ask permission, and run your draft posts by them. If you are complimentary about them and it adds more to their online brand, there is a good chance they will share it on their own social feeds. 

6. Testimonials from happy clients

This depends on the nature of your business, but for the most part businesses should be going around asking for testimonials from clients. A good way around is to ask them to leave you a review on Google, Facebook or LinkedIn. And once those are done you can use the same text as a snippet in a social media post or within a blog post. Permission is usually best obtained for this one. 

7. Quotes that resonate

Perhaps you have noticed that one of the most popular things on social media is inspirational quotes. You may find them boring, but there is a lot of people who really enjoy them. Choose your favorites and have them designed as new images, with your own branding and your own captions. 

8. Thought leadership articles

Ideally, you and your team relish the challenge of writing a good post about your area of expertise, giving advice and guidance to readers who would fit your ideal target market. If you write these, you will be building an archive on your blog and possibly your LinkedIn profile. This will add to the positive digital footprint your company has online. You can also share articles from other sources you agree with, and add a caption to go with it. For example, you can add your own thought leadership take on the original article. 

9. Stats

Businesses by nature are made up of numbers. A pie chart that shows the different kinds of clients you work with, a map showing the areas you work in, numbers and icons to represent demographics, percentage growth, and the type of projects you work with – all of these can be visually represented in infographics or designed posts. These may not be news, but can give a round up of the last 12 months or the average trends you see within your business. Even the most ‘boring’ businesses have many interesting stats. 

10. Share what you agree with

If you subscribe to blogs and feeds from other quality businesses or news sources, then chances are a steady stream of good ideas, well-written headlines, and well-presented information are easy for you to pull up and skim through. Anything you like? Sharing this is still content that you link to yourself by sharing. 

11. Comment on the news

A little bit more thinking will be needed here, but with any current affairs there is usually an analogy you can draw on. Sometimes it can be controversial, so tread with caution. If you look at trending headlines, can you perhaps write a post or article along the lines of “What can you learn about [something related to your business] from [the newsworthy thing that’s happening”]? 

12. Make the news

If your weeks are dragging on, same as the week before and the next one coming, perhaps it’s time to grab that calendar and make some plans. Team trips, bonding days, leadership training – all of these not only make your team’s lives so much less boring, but also create so many opportunities for real life photos that can be shared. It’s far more likely to attract referrals and opportunities by showing a happy team than one that just sits at their desks tapping away at their PCs.

 

HBR.org
2019-02-18T15:00:02Z

Starting with how we teach technology in grade school.

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