USA-based supermajor Chevron has set a target to cut emissions to net-zero by 2050 for equity upstream Scope 1 and 2 emissions.
Chevron issued an updated climate change resilience report that further details the company’s ambition to advance our lower-carbon future.
The company adopted a 2050 net-zero aspiration for equity upstream Scope 1 and 2 emissions. It is worth noting that unlike many other major companies like Shell and Eni, Chevron did not include greenhouse gases from all fuel products they sell or scope 3 in its net-zero pledge.
But, in its TCFD-aligned report, it describes how the company is incorporating Scope 3 emissions into its greenhouse gas emission targets by establishing a Portfolio Carbon Intensity (PCI) target inclusive of Scope 1 and 2 as well as Scope 3 emissions from the use of its products.
“Solutions start with problem-solving, which is exactly what the people of Chevron do – and have excelled at for over 140 years,” said Michael Wirth, Chevron’s chairman and CEO. “This report offers further insights about our strategy, how we are investing in lower-carbon businesses and why we believe this is an exciting time to be in the energy industry.”
Chevron’s new PCI target assists with transparent carbon accounting and company comparison from publicly available data. The target covers the full value chain, including Scope 3 emissions from the use of products.
The oil major, which last month pledged to triple its investments to $10 billion to reduce its carbon emissions footprint, set a greater than 5 percent carbon emissions intensity reduction target from 2016 levels by 2028.
This target is aligned with Chevron’s strategy which allows flexibility to grow its traditional business, provided it remains increasingly carbon-efficient, and pursue growth in lower-carbon businesses. The company plans to publish a PCI methodology document and online tool to enable third parties to calculate PCI for energy companies.
According to Chevron, its 2050 equity upstream Scope 1 and 2 net-zero aspiration builds on the company’s disciplined approach to target setting and action. Chevron anticipates that the path to this net-zero aspiration would include partnerships with multiple stakeholders and progress in technology, policy, regulations, and offset markets.
Albert Einstein (1879-1955) is one of the most famous scientists of all time, and his name has become almost synonymous with the word “genius.”
While his reputation owes something to his eccentric appearance and occasional pronouncements on philosophy, world politics and other non-scientific topics, his real claim to fame comes from his contributions to modern physics, which have changed our entire perception of the universe and helped shape the world we live in today.
Here’s a look at some of the world-changing concepts we owe to Einstein.
One of Einstein’s earliest achievements, at the age of 26, was his theory of special relativity — so-called because it deals with relative motion in the special case where gravitational forces are neglected. This may sound innocuous, but it was one of the greatest scientific revolutions in history, completely changing the way physicists think about space and time. In effect, Einstein merged these into a single space-time continuum. One reason we think of space and time as being completely separate is because we measure them in different units, such as miles and seconds, respectively. But Einstein showed how they are actually interchangeable, linked to each other through the speed of light — approximately 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second).
Perhaps the most famous consequence of special relativity is that nothing can travel faster than light. But it also means that things start to behave very oddly as the speed of light is approached. If you could see a spaceship that was traveling at 80% the speed of light, it would look 40% shorter than when it appeared at rest. And if you could see inside, everything would appear to move in slow motion, with a clock taking 100 seconds to tick through a minute, according to Georgia State University’s HyperPhysics website. This means the spaceship’s crew would actually age more slowly the faster they are traveling.
E = mc^2
An unexpected offshoot of special relativity was Einstein’s celebrated equation E = mc^2, which is likely the only mathematical formula to have reached the status of cultural icon. The equation expresses the equivalence of mass (m) and energy (E), two physical parameters previously believed to be completely separate. In traditional physics, mass measures the amount of matter contained in an object, whereas energy is a property the object has by virtue of its motion and the forces acting on it. Additionally, energy can exist in the complete absence of matter, for example in light or radio waves. However, Einstein’s equation says that mass and energy are essentially the same thing, as long as you multiply the mass by c^2 — the square of the speed of light, which is a very big number — to ensure it ends up in the same units as energy.
This means that an object gains mass as it moves faster, simply because it’s gaining energy. It also means that even an inert, stationary object has a huge amount of energy locked up inside it. Besides being a mind-blowing idea, the concept has practical applications in the world of high-energy particle physics. According to the European Council for Nuclear Research (CERN), if sufficiently energetic particles are smashed together, the energy of the collision can create new matter in the form of additional particles.
Lasers are an essential component of modern technology and are used in everything from barcode readers and laser pointers to holograms and fiber-optic communication. Although lasers are not commonly associated with Einstein, it was ultimately his work that made them possible. The word laser, coined in 1959, stands for “light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation” — and stimulated emission is a concept Einstein developed more than 40 years earlier, according to the American Physical Society. In 1917, Einstein wrote a paper on the quantum theory of radiation that described, among other things, how a photon of light passing through a substance could stimulate the emission of further photons.
Einstein realized that the new photons travel in the same direction, and with the same frequency and phase, as the original photon. This results in a cascade effect as more and more virtually identical photons are produced. As a theoretician, Einstein didn’t take the idea any further, while other scientists were slow to recognize the enormous practical potential of stimulated emission. But the world got there in the end, and people are still finding new applications for lasers today, from anti-drone weapons to super-fast computers.
Black holes and wormholes
Einstein’s theory of special relativity showed that space-time can do some pretty weird things even in the absence of gravitational fields. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg, as Einstein discovered when he finally succeeded in adding gravity into the mix, in his theory of general relativity. He found that massive objects like planets and stars actually distort the fabric of space-time, and it’s this distortion that produces the effects we perceive as gravity.
Einstein explained general relativity through a complex set of equations, which have an enormous range of applications. Perhaps the most famous solution to Einstein’s equations came from Karl Schwarzschild’s solution in 1916 — a black hole. Even weirder is a solution that Einstein himself developed in 1935 in collaboration with Nathan Rosen, describing the possibility of shortcuts from one point in space-time to another. Originally dubbed Einstein-Rosen bridges, these are now known to all fans of science fiction by the more familiar name of wormholes.
The expanding universe
One of the first things Einstein did with his equations of general relativity, back in 1915, was to apply them to the universe as a whole. But the answer that came out looked wrong to him. It implied that the fabric of space itself was in a state of continuous expansion, pulling galaxies along with it so the distances between them were constantly growing. Common sense told Einstein that this couldn’t be true, so he added something called the cosmological constant to his equations to produce a well-behaved, static universe.
But in 1929, Edwin Hubble’s observations of other galaxies showed that the universe really is expanding, apparently in just the way that Einstein’s original equations predicted. It looked like the end of the line for the cosmological constant, which Einstein later described as his biggest blunder. That wasn’t the end of the story, however. Based on more refined measurements of the expansion of the universe, we now know that it’s speeding up, rather than slowing down as it ought to in the absence of a cosmological constant. So it looks as though Einstein’s “blunder” wasn’t such an error after all.
Click here to read the full article on Live Science.
Professional Woman’s Magazine recently spoke with Ashley Mehta, chairwoman, CEO and president of Nolij Consulting, a woman-owned, solutions-focused healthcare IT company that specializes in digital healthcare modernization for the military, public and commercial sectors.
Mehta founded the Northern Virginia-based Nolij Consulting in 2013, and since then, has scaled the company to be the leader in healthcare IT.
We asked the Ohio native more about Nolij, her challenges as a female business owner and her goals for the future:
Professional Woman’s Magazine (PWM): Tell us a little bit more about your background. Were you always interested in IT?
Mehta: I am a graduate of the Ohio State University’s Max. M. Fisher College of Business. I have two children and am privileged to be in a position where I can create a positive, impactful work environment for my employees while giving back to the community and championing causes that I am passionate about, including veterans’ and women’s issues. I love working in IT because, whether it’s making systems more efficient, reducing client expenditure or producing better outcomes, technology is able to create a significant and real change in organizations and people’s lives. Yes, I’ve always been interested in technology as it increases business efficiencies and brings people together to solve the most pressing business problems.
PWM: What led you to create Nolij Consulting?
Mehta: I was a former stay-at-home mom with two young children who found herself in a position where I needed to go back to work. I joined a large consulting firm and had the opportunity to learn the entire spectrum of the business – from compliance to proposals, business development, technology and everything in between. As the industry started shifting from large business opportunities to more small business opportunities, I recognized my chance to start my own company and make a real difference in the industry while having the work/life balance I wanted so I could juggle all of my responsibilities. From there, Nolij was born. Over the past 9 years, we have made great strides against considerable odds in establishing ourselves amid a crowded GovCon marketplace! Ironically enough, I have trained several previously stay at home moms in this business and they now work for Nolij.
PWM: What challenges, if any, have you experienced as a female founder and CEO in this space?
Mehta: The biggest obstacle I’ve faced to date is the lack of prime IT opportunities specifically set aside for women-owned businesses. As Nolij has grown its footprint across the GovCon space, and is now expanding into the commercial sector, I’ve continued to focus on key areas, such as cybersecurity, RPA and AI, where we can expand our partnerships to create new opportunities for women-owned businesses.
PWM: What would you say is your greatest accomplishment to-date?
Mehta: Building a successful, thriving business and creating an outstanding consulting company with a great work environment for my employees while being a great mother is my greatest accomplishment so far. Our employees gave us a 4 on Glassdoor, which is no easy feat to achieve for an organization. Glassdoor is a website where current and former employees anonymously review companies. I am proud of employing leading talent across the industry and having the expertise to serve our clients and add to their success.
Nolij is proud to give back to various charities and support the less fortunate in our community. As a little girl, I’ve always dreamed of having extra money to give to those in need.
I’ve been able to do this while raising two beautiful children who have worked hard as well and have bright futures ahead of them. These successes inspire me every day to keep moving forward.
PWM: What advice would you give to another female entrepreneur?
Mehta: I would say that leading by example, putting yourself in front of clients and marketing your company on social media is very important. It’s also critical to set yourself apart and create a differentiator for your company. Distinguish your company and invest heavily in training resources and certifications for your organization and your employees. To build a successful team, be sure you are offering the right benefits that will keep employees with you and give them the chance to grow professionally. It’s no longer expensive to provide the benefits and resources that larger companies do. It is important to create a strong foundation to make people feel valued and enjoy coming to work each day. And remember, once you have a strong service/product offering, no one will care if you are a man or a woman.
PWM: What are your goals for Nolij Consulting? What do you hope to achieve in the future?
Mehta: We are focused on strategic growth in a number of areas going forward to make the company future-ready. We are also focused on strong partnerships and relationships to further strengthen our capabilities to meet our clients’ goals. We’ve created three new joint ventures (JV) focused on cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, emerging technologies and health IT services. These joint ventures are a combination of 8A, WOSB, Hubzone, and SDVOSB managed JVs. We also have a mentor protégé JV relationship with a large health IT company where we plan to win opportunities under relevant IT contract vehicles. We are currently working to win several contract vehicles that give us the ability to win task orders under those vehicles. We just recently won GSA 8A STARS III and Navy Seaport NxG. We are also strengthening our AI /ML solutions to establish a strong capability in software testing and Electronic Health Records (EHR). We just won an artificial intelligence sole source opportunity with Health and Human Services (HHS). We’ve established several emerging, next-generation technology product partnerships and are currently establishing a workforce that is well trained on delivering these products. Our goal is to achieve an even stronger health IT company focused on our employee’s wellbeing while providing excellent health IT services to our clients.
PWM: What is something colleagues would be surprised to know/learn about you?
Mehta: I have a twin brother who is also in IT. He is more in the sales and software product side of the business. My son looks quite a bit like him. I also have an older brother who is in healthcare mergers and acquisitions. I grew up with my father owning his own consulting business around continuing education for CPAs. He did not have the luxury of the business conveniences that we have today. Due to the lack of technology, he had to educate CPAs in person, ship heavy training materials for his classes and had to conduct business over a phone hooked up to a wall. Today we can offer e-learning opportunities, send large documents over the internet, use our mobile phones to have Zoom or WebEx meetings with clients across the world. As a business owner and mother, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what my dad accomplished while raising kids without the technological advances we have today.
PWM: Anything else you would like to add that we missed?
Mehta: If your company has predominately male leadership, if it’s not leaning more towards a healthy even split, then the next generation of women will consider your company yesterday’s product. A product not worth their investment and time; a place where innovation and creativity will be stifled by outdated norms.
I want to take a moment to recognize the bright daughters of my outstanding employees and all that they are accomplishing. It’s exciting to think about a future where their contributions will not only be recognized but will be sought-after. Ultimately, empowering women in the workplace ensures your company will be ready for whatever challenges lie ahead.
Jeff Bezos has already selected a hobby for his post-CEO life: space travel. Just two weeks after he steps down as CEO of Amazon, Bezos will climb aboard a rocket made by his space exploration company Blue Origin. “If you see the earth from space, it changes you. It changes your relationship with this planet, with humanity. It’s one earth,” Bezos said in a video posted to Instagram on Monday morning. “Ever since I was five years old, I’ve dreamed of traveling to space.”
Blue Origin’s rocket is called New Shepard, and it’s reusable – the idea being that reusing rockets will lower the cost of going to space and make it more accessible. The pressurized capsule has space for six passengers. There are no pilots. This will be the first time a crew will be aboard the New Shepard, in a capsule attached to the rocket. And it won’t just be Bezos: He invited his brother Mark, too.
Want to join the Bezos brothers?
You can bid on a seat on the flight in an auction that benefits Blue Origin’s foundation, which has the mission of inspiring future generations to pursue careers in STEM. The current high bid is $2.8 million.
The flight is scheduled for July 20 — the anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969. Bezos gives up his CEO title on July 5, when he’ll pass the reins to Andy Jassy, who currently leads Amazon’s cloud computing division.
Bezos ended his Instagram post with Blue Origin’s Latin motto, Gradatim Ferociter – which the company translates as “step by step ferociously.”
What does it mean, Bezos is going “to space”?
Technically, the Karman line is the altitude at which space begins – about 62 miles above sea level.
But Bezos won’t be above that line for long. The flight is expected to last about 11 minutes, and only a small portion of that time is above the Karman line, according to a graphic of the flight trajectory on Blue Origin’s website.
The New Shepard’s journey is called suborbital flight, meaning the rocket isn’t powerful enough to enter Earth’s orbit.
A Giant Leap For Billionairekind
Bezos isn’t alone in spending some of his enormous wealth on space exploration.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX Crew Dragon now regularly carries astronauts to and from the International Space Station. And in May, a test flight by Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic reached an altitude of 55 miles, marking its third human spaceflight.
But neither Musk nor Branson has traveled to space yet in their companies’ aircrafts.
In 2014, two pilots were aboard a Virgin Galactic test flight that crashed California’s Mojave Desert, killing one of them. An investigation found that pilot error and design problems were to blame in the crash.
Microsoft Teams is not the first name that comes to mind if you’re looking for an alternative communications platform to WhatsApp after the controversial policy change around user data. So far, Teams has made its name as a workplace collaboration platform, but it is now going personal to become your preferred platform for staying in touch with family and friends. Today, Microsoft has announced that Teams is now available for personal use as well, and it is free on mobile (both Android and iOS), desktop as well as the web.
So, what features do you get on Microsoft Teams? Well, you can chat with friends and family members, to begin with. And even if they don’t have the app on their phone, Teams will let you communicate with them via SMS. But that’s not all. You can create tasks and to-do lists directly from chats, making it easier to collaborate on a family event such as your next barbecue party. Moreover, you can also schedule meetings and share invites without leaving your chats. And soon, Teams will also let you create polls in the app.
Coming to video calls, Teams will let you conduct a video call with up to 300 participants for free for up to 24 hours. However, this is a temporary perk for the pandemic era and will be waived off soon. Even after being scraped, Teams will allow you free 24-hour video calls for 1-on-1 interactions, while group calls will be capped at 100 participants for a maximum of 60 minutes. And in case the tile view reminds you of exhausting office video calls, Teams has a Together Mode that changes the view to that of a virtual cafe or a lounge for a more relaxed feel.
Moreover, there are some cool options to express yourself such as GIFs, chat animations, and emojis during video calls. And just in case you missed a group video call, you can still catch up on the fun as Teams keeps the text-based conversation happening during a group video call. Another convenience is that anyone can receive a Teams invite and join a video call over the web, even people who don’t have a Teams account.
Click here to read the full article on Pocket Now.
Today’s technology is evolving at a breakneck pace.
New digital trends pave the way for a rise in society’s expectations, and things that seemed impossible just a decade ago are now taken for granted. Having witnessed virtual reality, enhanced 5G connectivity, and even drones integrate seamlessly into society, it begs the question of when—not if—the next breakthrough is coming.
One man leading the charge in modern technological development is none other than Elon Musk. Taking a keen interest in “wondrous, new technology,” Musk has been furthering research and development in new technological spaces since the start of his career.
Originally from South Africa, he’s the founder and CEO of aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, and the CEO of electric vehicle and clean energy company Tesla. The former company aims to reduce space transportation costs to enable the colonization of Mars. Back on Earth, he aims to accelerate the world’s progression towards sustainable energy and drive the world’s transition to electric vehicles.
A relentless innovator, Musk is well known for his brazen, unorthodox ideas about the future. Musk is quoted as saying, “Some people don’t like change, but you need to embrace change if the alternative is disaster.” His position has never been more relevant as the global landscape changes day by day during the global pandemic. Yet despite the calamity, the outbreak of Covid-19 has breathed new life into old markets. According to McKinsey, consumer and business digital adoption were fast-forwarded by an astounding five years in just the first eight weeks of lockdown. The competition is rampant, and industry innovators show no signs of stopping.
Owing to Musk’s impact, and combined with the worldwide influence of Covid-19, a multitude of contrasting technological trends have now entered the scene for business owners to explore. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the biggest: the industry is estimated to be worth $190 billion by 2025, paving the way for job creation in sectors such as data, cybersecurity, and even healthcare. With the sheer volume of data collated on infection rates and the performance of the vaccine, algorithms need to be sophisticated enough to offer solutions that may well change the world as we know it.
And as for what these trends mean for you, the answer is simple. As technology changes, so do the skills you need to know to enamor your audience, run a future-proofed business, and find long-term success. Undoubtedly, technology will transform the way businesses are run in 2021 and beyond. To stay current, competitive, and in the know about what’s coming next, take it from these three successful entrepreneurs gaining momentum in the online space.
Automation is Reshaping Business
Jaikishaan Sharma, CEO of Sharmaatricks, connects hardworking individuals with social media-based business opportunities. His company shares accessible tools and educational resources to help his growing community of over 70,000 members build budding online businesses and achieve freedom from the rat race.
He believes that automation is reshaping business. Sharma shares, “Digital shifts are opening new opportunities for businesses. I believe that both 5G and artificial intelligence are going to change the way business owners will run their business. With each passing day, automation is reshaping business and contributing to increased productivity – it’s very hard to ignore the impact of technology regardless of whether you’re operating a multinational or a start-up.”
“For the last few years, one thing that has frequently risen above all else in technology is automation. Automation tools are being innovated and developed every single day to make business processes agile. For this reason, I believe that the innovation surrounding automation will cause a rapid expansion of both remote working and video conferencing. We have already seen such rapid growth during the pandemic; Zoom has become a household name and other tools like Google Hangouts, Microsoft’s Teams, and Cisco’s Webex have all been making a buzz in the corporate world. Technology gives business owners and their staff the option to work from home, and moving forward, working from home will continue to be the new normal.”
These advancements in technology lead Sharma to his final point: because of the pandemic, schools and education institutes have been forced to fast-track e-learning and shift online education into the new normal. “Many institutions are changing portions of their curriculum to accommodate online learning well into the future,” he says.
“In 2021, we expect to see huge demand and rapid growth of artificial intelligence. AI is already known for speech recognition, smartphone personal assistants, ride-sharing apps, and so much more. But there is plenty of room for growth and expansion, and small businesses will begin to adopt this new technology in 2021 to help them operate daily. Covid-19 has pushed the adoption of digital technologies by several years, and that could be here for the long haul.”
For a few weeks this year, South Korean carmaker Hyundai was dusted with the Apple magic. Last month Hyundai let slip that it was in talks with the maker of the iPhone to co-operate on a car project, but this week it said the talks were over.
However, this is by no means the end of Hyundai’s push into technology.
The car firm has been investing heavily in new technology with a string of partnerships, acquisitions and investments within the tech space.
Its takeover of robotics firm Boston Dynamics last year was a clear indication of the direction it is taking – into cutting-edge technology.
The whole auto industry has been forced to innovate as the move towards electric cars and autonomous vehicles accelerates.
Hyundai has been criticised in the past for lagging behind rivals in adopting emerging technologies but is fast catching up, sealing a string of alliances and investments with technology groups recently.
“Hyundai has a different set of motivations and more incentive to push the limit. They have been a lot more aggressive in reinventing themselves,” says Dale Hardcastle, a partner at consultancy firm Bain.
Hyundai has been ramping up the electrification of its line-up of cars with a dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV) range called Ioniq.
Its aggressive electric car ambitions will see it launch 12 new BEV models over the next four years, and fully electrify its line-up around the globe by 2040.
Beyond battery electric vehicles, Hyundai has been busy developing charging points and hydrogen refuelling stations.
“It’s very clear where Hyundai sees its future. It’s a brand that wants to disrupt and push forward, to break up the status quo,” says Mr Hardcastle.
The purchase of a majority stake in Boston Dynamics in a $1.1bn (£810m) deal in December was seen as a major step to becoming a leader in car technology.
Boston Dynamics is a pioneer in consumer robotics, while it has a shared interest with Hyundai in autonomous driving and smart factories.
“Hyundai is being very responsive to the dynamic market trends,” says Bakar Sadik Agwan, senior automotive consulting analyst at GlobalData.
“With the automotive industry getting more dynamic day by day due to the fast technological advancements, companies need to transform their business strategies to secure their position in the future mobility era. Hyundai seems to be well on track in this direction.”
Holders of Bitcoin may be able to cash in some of their investment in the digital currency for a brand new electric car.
Electric automaker Tesla said Monday that it has invested around $1.5 billion in Bitcoin and it plans to begin accepting the digital currency as payment for its high-end vehicles soon. The price of Bitcoin soared 15.4% to around $44,500 Monday in reaction to Tesla’s announcement, according to CoinBase.
The California-based electric car maker headed by Elon Musk revealed the new strategy in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, saying its investment in digital currency and other “alternative reserve assets” may grow.
Bitcoin has drawn enthusiasts for its scarcity and security, but the volatile digital currency still is not widely used to pay for goods and services. It’s mostly been a store of value, like gold, with some limited merchants like Overstock accepting bitcoin for payment. It’s also used by those distrustful of the banking system or criminals seeking to launder money.
Whether other major companies will follow Tesla’s lead in investing in Bitcoin or accepting it for transactions is unclear. A vehicle is a large purchase, which could make Bitcoin a better fit to pay for it, but the wild price swings in Bitcoin could be a significant risk to any merchant who decided to accept it.
“It was wise of Tesla to announce that it will deem its investment in Bitcoin as an “alternative asset.” That is certainly appropriate, because Bitcoin might be coming into greater acceptance as currency, but it is not cash,” said Anthony Michael Sabino, a professor of law, at St. John’s University.
Tesla said last month that it had cash and cash equivalents of $19.4 billion after selling new shares to take advantage of a rising stock price. Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities said the move gives Tesla “more flexibility to further diversify and maximize returns on its cash.”
Tesla is in a unique position to accept digital currencies for payment, since the automaker does not rely on a network of independently owned dealerships to sell its vehicles unlike traditional car companies such as General Motors and Ford.
“It certainly seems that beyond embracing it as a store of value for his own trust or his own assets, it does appear that (Musk is) embracing it as a transactional tool as well,” said Michael Venuto, co-portfolio manager of the Amplify Transformational Data Sharing fund, an exchange-traded fund that tries to invest in digital currency technologies.
Venuto’s fund holds a small amount of Bitcoin but mostly invests in companies that build around such technologies.
Even with Tesla’s support, it could take some time before those who’ve made money investing in Bitcoin to use it to buy a car.
Jessica Caldwell, executive director of insights at Edmunds.com, doesn’t expect it to become commonplace because most people take loans to buy their vehicles or lease them and don’t pay in cash, said Plus, most people at present would not be comfortable taking a risk with cryptocurrency on such an expensive purchase, she said.
Other experts say it’s just a matter of time before Bitcoin finds more widespread use in transactions.
“I think the trend is inexorable,” said Richard Lyons, a finance professor at the University of California at Berkeley, predicting Bitcoin and other digital currencies “will become transactional currencies increasingly over the next five years. It’s not going to happen overnight.”
Whether Tesla will get a definitive competitive advantage in accepting Bitcoin remains to be seen. The automaker could be simply investing in Bitcoin because Musk has been known to have eclectic tastes. Musk launched a Tesla car into space to demonstrate the payload capabilities of his SpaceX company rockets.
Similar to Tesla, Virginia-based MicroStrategy Inc. announced in August that it would use some of the excess cash on its balance sheet to invest in alternative assets such as Bitcoin. The move has paid off so far. As of Feb. 2, the business analytics company said it held 71,079 Bitcoins that it purchased for an aggregate price of $1.15 billion since last summer. Using a value of $44,500, those bitcoins are worth $3.16 billion.
The coronavirus pandemic has caused a healthcare and economic crisis across the country and around the globe. It has also posed some difficult questions for businesses and their workers, like law firms and their attorneys and staff.
There has been a wide range of issues stemming from the pandemic. As an employer with offices throughout Florida, we also have first-hand experience with some of the complications caused by the economic downturn. At the same time, we also understand how important it is to maintain a diverse and inclusive workplace. This is an essential part of our identity as a law firm, which we believe helps us better serve the people and businesses we represent.
Businesses, including law firms, must understand that employment-related and other decisions made now in response to the pandemic can have a long-term impact. They should be mindful of how those moves can affect their ability to recruit and retain a diverse and capable workforce.
Below are some essential tips for weathering COVID-19 without jeopardizing your team.
Keep Diversity in Mind When Considering Cutbacks.
The crisis has unfortunately forced some employers to trim their payrolls by cutting the headcount. Still, it is vital to retain a diverse and inclusive workforce during the pandemic and to be able to retain talent when economic conditions improve.
Company leaders can prioritize diversity by keeping it at top-of-mind when deciding whom to lay off and whom to keep on the job. They should ensure that such decisions are based on objective criteria rather than subjective factors that may make diverse employees more susceptible to the termination.
Leaders can also combat potential biases by being mindful of assignment creation, especially as many employees continue to work from home. Providing your diverse workforce with opportunities to work on important projects or tasks can go a long way in helping all to build confidence and experience on the job.
Understand That Everyone Has Different Personal Obligations
The pandemic, school closures, and the shift to telework can be incredibly stressful for working parents and people who are caring for the elderly or other family members.
It is crucial to acknowledge that everyone has different cultural and personal obligations, and it is especially important to show a commitment to working with employees during this time of anxiety and uncertainty. Allowing for flexible time off during the week and alternative scheduling arrangements can play a huge role in easing the burden for many employees.
Supplement In-Person Networking with Resources for Remote Profile Building
Although social distancing means many people are staying home, it does not mean that all career-building and networking opportunities need to be put on pause.
Law firms and other businesses should already be thinking about helping people bolster their online networking efforts. Tutorials on leveraging Linkedin, getting involved in webinars and other events, and participating in professional organizations can ultimately lead to maintaining and/or expanding contacts.
Internal marketing departments can play a crucial role in this training and development. It is also important to implement standards for tracking these efforts to ensure that they pay off in the long run.
Following the above tips can help all business leaders maintain a strong and diverse team of employees.
Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley PA is a Florida-based personal injury law firm that has represented thousands of clients with car accident, medical malpractice, brain injury and numerous other injury claims.
Thanks to Tesla’s roaring stock, Elon Musk’s net worth has nearly quadrupled during the Covid-19 pandemic, racing from $24.6 billion in mid-March to a current $126.8 billion by Forbes’ estimate. But despite this meteoric rise, the 49-year-old is not the world’s second-richest person yet.
Forbes currently has Musk in the No. 3 spot, behind Jeff Bezos, who reigns supreme at $182.6 billion, and French luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault, worth $140.6 billion. With the surge in the value of Tesla shares this week, Musk surpassed Bill Gates, who is now in fourth place, worth $119.4 billion.
Musk owns 21% of Tesla but has pledged more than half his stake as collateral for personal loans; Forbes applies a 25% discount to his shareholding to account for the loans. Musk’s net worth estimate includes $25 billion worth of options that he was awarded since May as part of a historic 12-tranche compensation plan.
Musk became eligible for the fourth tranche in late October after Tesla exceeded the cumulative EBITDA requirement, but Tesla has yet to confirm in public filings that it has certified the results. A representative for Musk did not reply to a request for comment from Forbes in time for publication. Until the receipt of the fourth tranche is confirmed, Forbes is only counting some 25 million options from the package towards Musk’s net worth.
We’ve seen no shortage of scandals when it comes to AI. In 2016, Microsoft Tay, an AI bot built to learn in real time from social media content turned into a misogynist, racist troll within 24 hours of launch.
A ProPublica report claimed that an algorithm — built by a private contractor — was more likely to rate black parole candidates as higher risk. A landmark U.S. government study reported that more than 200 facial recognition algorithms — comprising a majority in the industry — had a harder time distinguishing non-white faces. The bias in our human-built AI likely owes something to the lack of diversity in the humans who built them. After all, if none of the researchers building facial recognition systems are people of color, ensuring that non-white faces are properly distinguished may be a far lower priority.
Sources of Discrimination in the AI and Technology Fields
Technology has a remarkably non-diverse workforce. A 2019 study found that under 5.7% of Google employees were Latinx, and 3.3% were Black. Similarly low rates exist across the tech industry. And those numbers are hardly better outside the tech industry, with Latinx and Black employees making up just 7% and 9%, respectively, of STEM workers in the general economy. (They comprise 18.5% and 13.4%, respectively, of the U.S. population.) Data science is a special standout — by one estimate, it underrepresents women, Hispanics, and Blacks more than any other role in the tech industry. It may come as no surprise that a 2019 study by the non-profit Female Founders Faster Forward (F4) found that 95% of surveyed candidates reported facing discrimination in the workplace. With such a biased workforce, how can we expect our AI to fare any better?
Sources of bias in hiring abound. Some of this comes from AI. Amazon famously had to scrap its AI recruiting bot when the company discovered it was biased against women. And it’s not just tech titans: LinkedIn’s 2018 Global Recruiting Trends survey found that 64% of employers use AI and data in recruiting, including top employers like Target, Hilton, Cisco, PepsiCo, and Ikea. But we cannot entirely blame AI — there is a much deeper and more systemic source of hiring bias. An established field of academic research suggests that human resume screening is inherently biased. Using innovative field experiments, university researchers have shown that resume screeners discriminate on the basis of race, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, and age. Discrimination is so prevalent that minorities often actively whiten resumes (and are subsequently more successful in the job market). Scanning resumes, whether by computer or human, is an archaic practice best relegated to the dustbin of history. At best, it measures a candidate’s ability to tactfully boast about their accomplishments and, at worse, provides all the right ingredients for either intentional or unintentional discrimination. So how are companies overcoming this challenge?
A Musical Interlude
An unlikely parallel exists in — of all places — the field of classical music. In the 1970s and 1980s, historically male-dominated orchestras began changing their procedures for hiring. Auditions were conducted blind — placing a screen between the candidate and their judging committee so that the identity of the auditioner could not be discerned — only their music was being judged. The effects of this change were astounding: Harvard researchers found that women were passing 1.6 times more in blind auditions than in non-blind ones, and the number of female players in the orchestras increased by 20 to 30 percentage points. By focusing on the candidate’s performance (rather than irrelevant discriminatory attributes) companies can increase both diversity and quality of their new hires. Here’s how.