Pan Am gold for Richards

first_imgCOMMONWEALTH Games shot put champion, O’Dayne Richards, struck gold at the Pan American Games in Toronto, Canada yesterday.Richards won the event in a meet record and season best 21.69 metres. His mark beat the 21.30m set by Canada’s Dylan Armstrong four years ago in Mexico. Timothy Nedow of Canada was second yesterday with 20.53m as German Lauro of Argentina threw 20.24m for bronze. Raymond Brown of Jamaica was ninth with 18.39m.Earlier sprinters Sherone Simpson and Schillonie Calvert advanced to the 100m semi-finals. Calvert finished third in heat one in 11.27 seconds while Simpson was fifth in heat two in 11.18. American Barbara Pierre who won heat two in a personal best and meet record 10.92 is the fastest qualifier. Trinidad and Tobago’s Kellyann Baptiste won heat one in 11.07 while Claudia Silva of Brazil won heat two in 10.96.Both Jason Livermore and Sheldon Mitchell are also through to today’s men’s semi-finals after finishing second and fourth in their heats of the men’s 100m. Livermore clocked 10.09 behind the Canadian, AndrÈ Glass who won in 10.06. Mitchell was timed in 10.14 behind winner, Beejay Lee of the United States in 9.99.failed to advanceRistananna Tracy and Samatha Elliot both failed to advance to tomorrow’s final of the 400m hurdles. Tracy was fifth in her heat in 58.62 while Elliot was sixth in her heat in 58.30.Demar Forbes is in today’s long jump final. Forbes finished third in Group B of the qualifying round with 7.67m.Kimora McDonald will also run in today’s final of the women’s 800m. She was fourth in her heat in 2:07.72.last_img read more

The stunning advancement of artificial intelligenc

first_imgThe stunning advancement of artificial intelligence and machine learning has brought advances in society. These technologies have improved medicine and how quickly doctors can diagnose disease, for example. IBM’s AI platform Watson helps reduce water waste in drought stricken areas. AI even entertains us–the more you use Netflix, the more it learns what your viewing preferences are and makes suggestions based on what you like to watch.However, there is a very dark side to AI, and it’s worrying many social scientists and some in the tech industry. These people say it’s even more troublesome that AI and machine learning are advancing so fast during these current times.In an insightful session at SXSW, Kate Crawford, a principal researcher at Microsoft Research, offered some very disturbing scenarios with AI. Machines are increasingly being given the same kinds of tasks; to make certain predictions about segments of the population, often based on visual algorithms. During her discussion, Crawford demonstrated how visual algorithms can produce very incorrect and biased results. She refers to the data upon which this type of facial recognition/machine learning systems is based as “human-trained.”“Human-trained data contains all of our biases and stereotypes,” she said. Crawford also said that AI and machine learning can be used in ways we don’t even realize. “Say, for example, a car insurer that wants to look at people’s Facebook posts. If [a person] is using exclamation marks [in their posts], the insurer might charge them [more] for their car insurance, because exclamations mean you are a little bit rash.” “Just as we see AI advancing, something is happening; the rise of nationalism, of right-wing imperialism, and fascism,” said Crawford. “It’s happening here in the U.S., but it’s also happening in Spain, Germany, in France[…]The turn to authoritarianism is very different in every one of these countries, but as political scientists have pointed out, they have some shared characteristics: […] the desire to centralize power, to track populations and demonize outsiders, and to claim authority and neutrality without being held accountable.”How does AI factor into this? According to Crawford, “AI is really, really good at centralizing power; at claiming a type of scientific neutrality without being transparent. And this matters, because we are witnessing the historic rise in an anti-democratic political logic.”Crawford pointed out an example of a startup that is using AI and facial recognition to detect terrorists’ faces. The startup is called Faception. She likens this use of AI to the pseudoscience of phrenology–the study of facial and skull features to determine personality traits. “These kinds of debunked scientific practices were used to justify the mass murdering of Jews and slavery in the U.S.,” Crawford said.“I think it’s worrying we’re seeing these things from the past get a rerun in AI studies,” Crawford told the audience. “Essentially, AI phrenology is on the rise at the same time as the re-rise of authoritarianism. Because, even great tools can be misapplied and can be used to produce the wrong conclusions, and that can be disastrous, if used [by those] who want to centralize their power and erase their accountability.” be_ixf; php_sdk; php_sdk_1.4.18 AI and the Rise of Fascism She said the biases and errors of AI get dangerous when they become intertwined into social institutions like the justice system. She cited problems with an emerging form of machine learning, predictive policing.“Police systems ingest huge amounts of historical crime data as a way of predicting where future crime might happen, where the hotspots will be,” she explained. “But, they have this unfortunate side effect; the neighborhoods that have had the worst policing in the past, are the ones that are coming out as the future hotspots each time. So, you end up in this viscous circle where the most policed areas [now] become the most policed areas in the future.”Crawford said that a study done on Chicago’s predictive policing efforts showed that the technology was “completely ineffective at predicting future crime.” The only thing it did was increase harassment of people in hotspot areas.She ended the discussion by stating the need for a new resistance movement that actively monitors and brings awareness of the ways in which AI can harm society, especially in the hands of dictators or those who would use the technology to manipulate others. AI and the Police State 5 Marital Lessons That Apply to Every StartupBlack Female Theologian Takes Reconciliation Be…Lisa Price, Angela Yee, MC Lyte and More to be … Human Bias Comes Into Playlast_img read more

Calculating COGS for a Software Company Professional Service Costs

first_imgEditor’s Note: This is the seventh and final post in a series that combines to compose a best practices process on calculating the Cost of Goods or Services Sold (COGS or COS) for a software company. While this series is not meant to be an authoritative guide to all GAAP principles that should be followed when accounting for COGS, it can help a company figure out its COGS and gross profit by product line, geography, etc. This will be especially helpful to companies looking to raise expansion capital, as many venture capital firms ask for this type of information during due diligence. Ideally, it will also allow expansion stage software companies to optimize their sales and marketing spend by investing more resources into more profitable geographies and lines of business.Many software companies offer their customers professional services – typically customization of the software, implementation, or training. Whether or not a company charges additionally for customization, professional services costs belong in COGS. The following is a very brief overview of professional services lines items that are common for software companies.Professional services salaries and benefits: This line item captures the salaries and benefits of a company’s professional services employees that are directly related to delivering the services for which revenue has been recognized during the period. In some cases, professional services staff may be working on non-billable activities such as product development, sales and marketing, etc. These costs should be tracked or estimated and allocated out of COGS at the end of each accounting period and charged to the appropriate functional cost center (sales and marketing, R&D, or G&A).Depreciation of equipment related to providing professional services: All of the equipment related to providing professional services a company buys must be depreciated and added into this line item (this includes, but is not limited to, desks, chairs, computers, phones, headsets, and so forth that are bought for professional services employees). A few common methods for calculating depreciation have already been covered earlier in this series.Leases of equipment related to providing professional services: All of the equipment related to providing professional services that a company leases will have a periodic lease expense that should be added to this line item.Amortization of software related to providing professional services: Most companies will provide their professional services employees with software to facilitate the provision of professional services to customers. For the software that a company subscribes to, the periodic expense is simple to calculate — if the company pays $1,000 per month for software, the quarterly expense is $3,000, the annual expense is $12,000, etc. If the company buys a perpetual license to the software, the company needs to estimate the useful life of the software (typically between 12 – 60 months) and amortize accordingly.Allocated overhead: Since a company’s professional services employees typically sit in an office, the company needs to allocate overhead (such as rent, utilities, travel costs, etc.) for those employees.Now that we’ve covered the four COGS categories for software companies (material costs, subscription and hosting costs, support costs, and professional services costs), we can calculated a software company’s COGS by totaling the line items in each of the categories and summing the totals. And by subtracting the COGS for the company’s revenue, we arrive at the gross profit, which we can then divide by revenue to get to gross margin.Further, since most software companies that charge for support and professional services break out their revenues into software/subscription revenues, support revenues, and professional service revenues, we can now also calculate the gross profit and gross margin for all of a company’s revenue-generating lines of business. For example, to calculate the gross profit of a company’s software/subscription line of business, take a company’s software/subscription revenues and subtract material costs and subscription and hosting costs.If a company can track its revenue and associated costs of goods sold by specific product line or geography, then the company can also calculate gross margin at the product or geographic level. This will allow a company to optimize sales and marketing spend, and invest more in more profitable geographies and lines of business.AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to FacebookFacebookShare to TwitterTwitterShare to PrintPrintShare to EmailEmailShare to MoreAddThis19last_img read more