NBA Finals 2017 live stream: How to watch Warriors vs. Cavaliers Game 4 online

The Cleveland Cavaliers are 48 minutes away from being swept in the 2017 NBA Finals. Game 3 was as competitive a game as we’ve seen from the two teams so far, but despite having home court advantage and a stellar performance from Kyrie Irving, the Cavaliers couldn’t stop the Golden State Warriors from retaking the lead in the final minutes and setting up a potential four-game sweep.

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Source: Boy Genius Report (BGR)

Luxury consignment startup The RealReal raises $50M, bringing the total raised to $173M, as it builds on online success to expand offline (Connie Loizos/TechCrunch)


Connie Loizos / TechCrunch:

Luxury consignment startup The RealReal raises $50M, bringing the total raised to $173M, as it builds on online success to expand offline  —  The RealReal, a six-year-old, San Francisco-based company focused on authenticated, high-end resale items for women, men, and the home …


Source: TechMeme

Add the quality of a DSLR to your iPhone with this lens kit and case combo

Want better smartphone pictures without the weight and cost of a DSLR? Turn your phone into a powerful camera with Snap!7 iPhone Camera Cases with HD Wide Angle Lens. It’s yours for just $139.99.

The Snap!7 is designed to transform your iPhone camera into a fully-featured, richer, and more traditional photography experience. With the Snap!7, you get stability, protection, and access to a range of elite professional lenses for your phone camera. Best of all, the case is thin, lightweight, and designed for one-handed shooting — perfect for your smartphone.

Get DSLR-looking photos at a fraction of the price. Snap!7 iPhone Camera Cases with HD Wide Angle Lens is yours for just $139.99.

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Source: Boy Genius Report (BGR)

OnePlus just gave us an official look at the OnePlus 5’s camera

OnePlus 5 Camera Video and Audio Sample

As with every OnePlus handset release, the company can’t wait to reveal more details about the phone before the launch keynote. We’ve just learned that the OnePlus 5 will basically be an iPhone 7 Plus from a Twitter teaser, and now we have an official YouTube video to check out that offers us a glimpse of the phone’s audio improvements.

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Source: Boy Genius Report (BGR)

Researchers develop fabric that can neutralize chemical weapons

Researchers have developed a special kind of fabric that could neutralize chemical weapons, potentially saving lives that would otherwise be lost. The fabric was recently detailed in the American Chemical Society’s journal ‘Chemistry of Materials,’ and it would work by protecting people from chemical toxins designed to impact someone through the skin. The fabric utilizes a metal-organic framework to pull … Continue reading
Source: Slash Gear

Microsoft To Shut Down Its Docs.com File-Sharing Site December 15

Microsoft will close its file storage and sharing service Docs.com Dec. 15, it said today. As a result of its $26 billion acquisition of LinkedIn, Microsoft also got SlideShare, a more popular place for sharing presentations infographics and other materials with an audience of 70 million. SlideShare represents a better platform for storing and publishing Microsoft documents, the company said. From a report: Microsoft is advising users to migrate and/or delete content they shared on Docs.com as soon as possible. As of today, June 9, creating new Docs.com accounts is no longer supported. Those with existing accounts can still view, edit, publish, download, and delete their existing content. As of August 1, publishing and editing content on Docs.com will no longer be supported.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: SlashDot

Why Universal Basic Income and tax breaks won’t save us from the jobless future


In Amazon’s warehouses, there is a beehive of activity, and robots are increasingly doing more of the work. In less than five years, they will load self-driving trucks that transport goods to local distribution centers where drones will make last-mile deliveries.

Soon afterward, autonomous cars will begin to take the wheel from taxi drivers; artificial intelligence will exceed the ability of human doctors to understand complex medical data; industrial robots will do manufacturing; and supermarkets won’t need human cashiers.

The majority of jobs that require human labor and intellectual capability are likely to disappear over the next decade and a half. There will be many new jobs created, but not for the people who have lost them — because they do not have those skills. And this will lead to major social disruption unless we develop sound policies to ease the transition.

The industry behind these advances — and reaping huge financial rewards from them — has been in denial. Tech entrepreneur Marc Andreessen, for example, calls the jobless future “a Luddite fallacy”; he insists people will be re-employed.

But now others, including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Tesla’s Elon Musk, and Bill Gates, are acknowledging a skills mismatch with the potential for mass unemployment. They advocate a Universal Basic Income (UBI), a payment by the government that provides for the basic wants and needs of the population.

But these tech moguls are simply kicking the can down the road and shifting responsibility to Washington. UBI will not solve the social problems that come from loss of people’s purpose in life and of the social stature and identity that jobs provide. And the politicians in Washington who are working to curtail basic benefits such as health care and food stamps plainly won’t consider the value of spending trillions on a new social-welfare scheme.

A paper titled “A New Deal for the Twenty-First Century,” published last week by Edward Alden and Bob Litan of the Council on Foreign Relations, proposes solutions for retraining the workforce. It asserts that there will be many new jobs created in technology and in caring for the elderly — because Western populations are aging.

The authors say young people starting careers should be equipped with the education and skills needed to adapt to career changes, and that older workers who become displaced should receive assistance in finding new jobs and retraining for new careers. Government shouldn’t provide the jobs or training but should, the authors say, offer tax incentives and insurance, facilitate job mobility, and reform occupational licensing. To encourage employees to gain new skills, there should be “career loan accounts” from which they can fund their own education — with repayment being linked to future earnings.

To minimize the effect of wage cuts resulting from changing professions, Alden and Litan advocate a generous wage-insurance scheme that tops up earnings, enhancements to the Earned Income Tax Credit, direct wage subsidies, and minimum wage increments. They believe too that a voluntary military and civilian national service program for young people would help alleviate the social disruption and teach important new skills and provide tutoring to disadvantaged students, help for the elderly, and improvements of public spaces such as parks and playgrounds.

These ideas are a good start, but the focus of the paper was on maintaining a balance between Republicans and Democrats, on being politically palatable. The coming disruptions are likely to be so cataclysmic that we need to go beyond politics.

We have already seen the increasing anger of the electorate from both the right and the left in the U.S. elections. We are witnessing the same in Europe now. As technology advances and changes everything about the way we live and work, this will get much worse. We must understand the human issues — the trauma and suffering of affected people — and work to minimize the impacts.

As Harvard Law School’s Labor and Worklife Program Executive Director Sharon Block said to me in an email, “I don’t think we can be limited in our thinking by what can get through Congress now — nothing can.  We need to be using this time to come up with the big new ideas to develop a bolder progressive vision for the future — and then work to create the conditions necessary to implement that vision.” The problem here is that with this future fast approaching, not even the inventors of the technologies have a real answer. This is why there is an urgent need to bring policymakers, academics, and business leaders together to brainstorm on solutions and to do grand, global experiments.

Vivek Wadhwa is Distinguished Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University Engineering at Silicon Valley. His new book, The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future discusses the choices we must make to build a great future


Source: Venture Beat

One of the worst video game mascots is getting his first new game in 20 years

bubsy the woolies strike back

Anyone who played video games back in the early-to-mid 90s will remember Bubsy — and for those who were subjected to the furry orange feline’s “3D” adventure for the original PlayStation, you probably went the past two decades thanking your lucky stars that you never had to hear that name again. Well, for better or worse, Bubsy is back. An all-new action-platformer called Bubsy: The Woolies Strike Back is headed to the PlayStation 4 and PC later this year.

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Your most effective employee could be a chatbot


Advances in artificial intelligence mean chatbots can automate more customer interactions than ever before. According to analyst firm Gartner, the usage of chatbots will triple through 2019 as enterprises seek to increase customer satisfaction and reduce operating costs. But not all chatbots are equal.

For businesses, chatbots (sometimes called “virtual agents” or “virtual customer assistants”) need to be smart in order to be effective. Intelligent chatbots integrate with enterprise systems and the related rules; they can parse big data and use artificial intelligence to help customers resolve issues or perform transactions, such as paying a bill or extending a subscription.

Some chatbots interact with customers to resolve issues, conduct transactions, and answer questions. The fact that these chatbots are bounded — in other words, operating within a certain context such as mortgages, utilities, or wireless — ensures they can better support the conversation.

Because of advances in AI, businesses can artificially replicate the effectiveness of their best agents, reducing customer frustration and wait times. However, it is essential to remember chatbots are still an outward facing extension of the brand, and even though they are machines and not human, customer expectations around their performance will only heighten as the technology becomes commonplace.

Chatbot deployments should be approached in a similar way as any other frontline employee.

Chatbots today and tomorrow

Intelligent chatbots can be deployed on nearly any interface: web, mobile, social, messaging app, voice response, and SMS. They operate in real time and can even predict what a customer is trying to do, offering specific help when they detect that a customer may need assistance. For example, if a customer has a bank mortgage, a chatbot can offer assistance with an understanding of the customer’s chosen product and history in mind. As we look to the future, chatbots will be deployed through augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and other emerging technologies.

Over time, chatbots will be the primary point of customer interaction. This increased self-service will mean reduced call and email volume in traditional support channels. Recently, a leading global airline created an avatar to personify their chatbot. The chatbot serves as an automated concierge, providing customers with instant, accurate answers to their questions about flight status and baggage rules. The chatbot has helped the airline reduce call and chat volume by 40 percent.

One of Canada’s largest banks introduced an intelligent chatbot as a virtual agent and saw email volume decrease by 50 percent at launch — and then experienced another 23 percent drop throughout the first year. At the same time, it reduced phone calls by 25 percent.

A major U.S. health insurance provider improved the experience for its 4 million members with an intelligent chatbot deployed as a virtual agent. With the chatbot answering 150,000 questions per month, the company is saving thousands of dollars in contact center costs by reducing calls to its staff.

Another development that’s not so far off is that intelligent chatbots will achieve almost perfect accuracy within the bounds of the context in which they operate. In the first 11 months of one major North American utility’s chatbot, it answered more than 720,000 questions with an accuracy rate of 94 percent. In another case, a major retailer has seen its chatbot answer 45,000 questions a month about order status, shipping, returns, and other common areas of interest with 96 percent accuracy. Every one of those interactions builds the accuracy of the chatbot, which grows more intelligent over time.

Humans vs. machines: Can’t we all just get along?

Customer service agents may feel threatened by artificial intelligence solutions, which could lead to internal resistance to the adoption of new technology. To achieve customer service digital transformation, companies have to manage these cultural challenges along with the technology.

Human agents and chatbots ideally work together to improve the customer experience. Intelligent chatbots help customer care organizations by minimizing menial or repetitive work for agents. Chatbots become better at their tasks is by mining agent interactions to learn new customer intents. Chatbots can reduce average handle time by suggesting agent responses while the agent is chatting with the customer. This ensures consistency in answer delivery and empowers the agent to draw from the same knowledge bank as the chatbot.

A chatbot should escalate to a live agent when the customer’s request is complex, such as in the case of a customer looking to switch to a competitor. The same is true any time a customer wants to speak with a human.

Here are a few things that companies can tell their customer experience employees to help effect the cultural aspects of digital transformation:

  • “You can skip the mundane tasks.” Virtual agents and chatbots can automate common responses to routine asks so agents can focus on handling high-level, complex queries that can only be solved by humans.
  • “You can engage customers in a smarter way.” CX technology that connects customer data points across channels enables agents to have knowledge of the entire customer journey and context for the current interaction. This gives agents the ability to respond to actual customer intent, leading to less customer frustration and better agent recommendations.
  • “You can generate revenue, not just solve problems.” By using predictive analytics to understand what a customer is trying to accomplish, agents can make proactive recommendations that lead to upsell and cross-sell opportunities, turning them from problem-solvers into revenue generators who contribute directly to the bottom line.

The agent of tomorrow will be a fundamentally different breed, leveraging advances in artificial intelligence to drive better outcomes for the customer. Customer service as a discipline will offer well-paid jobs and employ people with the skills to architect and oversee the kinds of conversations that drive revenue and customer loyalty. Intelligent chatbot technology is a game changer that will continue to bring sophistication to call center operations, ushering in a new workforce of digitally minded employees who train machines to work smarter.

Scott Horn is chief marketing officer at [24]7, an AI-driven customer experience company.


Source: Venture Beat