Humans have been using technology to improve the standard of their day to day lives and increase the efficiency of doing things. The rapid advances in technology have been met with criticism and support. One such development in technology allowed Neil Harbisson with an extreme form of color blindness “hear” visible and invisible wavelengths of light.
Neil Harbisson, a British born cyborg artist, is the world’s first legally recognized cyborg who has an antenna implanted in his head as a way to ‘cure’ his color blindness. Neil received official bionic status from the United Kingdom government officially making him a cyborg. At age 21, he co devised the antenna sensor implanted in his head that translates different wavelengths into vibrations in his skull, which he then perceives as sound.
At the World Government Summit which is a forum for government leaders to discuss technology, innovation and futurism Harrison said the antenna is not a device but an essential body organ. “I have an antenna that is implanted inside my head, which allows me to extend my perception of reality beyond the visual spectrum. I can sense infrared and ultraviolet. I also have internet connection in my head that allows me to receive colors from other parts of the world or connect to satellite so I can send colors from space,” he added.
Harbisson believes, the biggest challenge for the current generation would be designing ourselves and not the world around us. “The more we design ourselves, the less we will have to design the planet. If we had night vision when cities would be dark, we would not have to spend so much money and energy to create lighting systems. It would also be better for the environment. Also, if we could control our own temperature, we would not have to use air conditioning or heaters. We would not have to heat up the planet when it’s cold or vice versa. ”
In 2010, this cyborg activist also cofounded the Cyborg Foundation along with Moon Ribas to defend cyborg rights, promote cyborg art and support people who want to become cyborgs. In 2017, he co founded the Transpecies Society to represent those people who identify themselves as non human. The Transpecies Society aims to give a voice to people with non human identities, raises awareness of the challenges transspecies face, advocates for the freedom of self design and offers the development of new senses and organs in the community.
Harbisson is not just an advocate for the Transpecies. His art was also exhibited during the 54th Venice Biennale, at Palazzo Foscari, Savina Museum of Contemporary Art, ArtScience Museum (Singapore,) Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Pollock Gallery, Museumsquartier (Vienna,) Pioneer Works (New York City) and at the American Visionary Art Museum, among others. He also published the Human Color Wheel in 2009 which is based on the hue and the light detected on hundreds of human skins from 2004 to 2009. The book was aimed to raise awareness and state that humans are not black or white, humans are different shades of orange, from very very dark orange to very light orange.
Ranked along with the works of Marina Abramovic and Yoko Ono, Harbisson’s work is considered to be one of the most shocking art performances ever. Pointing his antenna at different parts of a face, Harbisson writes down the different notes he hears and later creates a sound file to create a sound portrait. His work is focused on creating a new sense and creating external artworks through these new senses.
Looking at the immense work the world’s first cyborg has created, it is safe to say the future looks promising!
India’s Reliance JioMeet To Take On Zoom
Mukesh Ambani seems to be having one of the best years of his career, proving that the COVID-19 pandemic is not a hindrance to his goals. Mukesh Ambani’s latest product is a video conferencing app which aims to take on the hottest video conferencing app, Zoom. The telecommunications vertical of Reliance Industries, Reliance Jio, formally launched Reliance JioMeet, on Thursday evening, which has an uncanny resemblance to Zoom.
Zoom has emerged as one of the companies which has thrived due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses are forced to shut down their offices and shift their operations to remote work. This meant the demand for a good video conferencing software shot up and Zoom stepped up to the task before Google, Microsoft and Facebook could catch up. Zoom has also removed time limits for the conference calls and made the entire suite free of cost for schools and businesses in the affected regions across the globe, thereby further increasing its popularity.
However, JioMeet has a similar if not better offering than Zoom. JioMeet offers unlimited number of free calls in high definition (720p) to users and supports as many as 100 participants on a call. Interestingly, JioMeet appears to not impose a short time limit on a call’s duration. Jio Platforms says a free call can be uninterrupted for “up to 24 hours” long. The service currently has no paid plans and considering Jio’s reputation for giving services for free for years like Jio data plans, it would come as no surprise if JioMeet is also made free for the time being.
JioMeet comes at the perfect time as the Indian government suggested that Indians need to aggressively work on homegrown technologies and develop them so that they are on par with technologies developed by global giants. The government has called for leading Indian software and IT companies to come up with an alternative for Zoom and it looks like Jio has stepped up to the task.
Infosys Considering Permanent Work From Home For 30% Or More Employees
In what could be considered as a game changing move if it becomes a reality, Infosys is considering the idea to permanently let about one third of its employees to work from home. Infosys is considered as one of the leading companies in the software and Information Technology (IT) sector in India, as well as the world. This Indian IT giant is always at the forefront of innovation and setting new market trends for others to follow.
Many companies and organizations across the globe and India have been forced to shift to a remote working model due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The decision to work remotely is because the virus is highly contagious and can spread very quickly. Infosys might become one of the first companies to consider a plan for transitioning a large part of its employees into remote work, permanently.
In an interview with a popular business news daily, Infosys’s Head of Human Resources and Executive Vice President, Richard Lobo said “Once things are normal, over a period of time, probably 50 per cent of employees will come to office and the rest will work from home. Moving on, 66 per cent will be in office but 33 per cent will work permanently from home (sic.)” This translates to roughly 80,000 employees out of its total workforce of 2,42,371 employees. As offices are opening up gradually, Infosys has currently about 5 percent of its workforce going to offices in India while the rest are working from home. Commenting on the plan of action for the next few months Lobo said “we can’t predict the course of the pandemic but if it is following the path that it is, for most countries and if everything goes well, a third of total employees will come back to office (sic.)”
However, Infosys is not the only company mulling over transitioning into permanent work from home model. Another Indian IT giant, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) announced a whopping 75% of its 4,48,000 employees globally would be working from home by 2025.
Let us know if you think the work from home model will be adapted by various other companies in the future post COVID-19!
Target Sets A Benchmark By Raising Minimum Wage
Target Corporation is a well known organisation in the United States of America (USA) as one of leading retail chains in the Country. Target is always at the forefront of retail innovation and competes with its rival, Walmart to gain an upper hand. However, in a recent operational move Target has one upped its competitors when it announced it would raise its minimum wage from $ 13 an hour to $ 15 an hour permanently beginning from July. The increase to 15 dollars an hour is significant as it impacts 275,000 employees that work in their stores and distribution centers. Target has nearly 1,900 stores and 41 distribution centers.
The significance of its move is very high as it comes at a time when the world is battling its worst pandemic in years which has led to businesses shutting down, offices and governments declaring emergencies and lockdown. The decision to increase the minimum wage comes at a time when the world is celebrating retail store workers for their essential services and this move will only strengthen the employee loyalty while increasing the brand value of Target.
However, the decision to implement the minimum wage of 15 dollars per hour was announced in 2017 as a goal by Target Corporation. The employees of Target already received a temporary wage pay when the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and now the minimum wage pay is made permanent. The retail corporation will also offer a one time bonus of $ 200 to hourly employees at the end of July “for their efforts throughout the Coronavirus pandemic.”
The new minimum wage by Target is also important considering that the Federal average minimum wage in the USA is $ 7.25 per hour. The hourly wages at Walmart is at $ 11 per hour and although Walmart has been paying hourly bonuses to employees during the pandemic, it has ceased to do so in the recent weeks.
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