PM wraps cabinet retreat with hint of pot pardons to come –

first_imgLONDON, Ont. – Canadians convicted of simple marijuana possession will have to wait until recreational pot is legalized later this year before learning if they’ll be pardoned for something that will no longer be a crime.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ruled out Friday declaring an amnesty before the new law goes into effect in July.“We recognize that anyone who is currently purchasing marijuana is participating in illegal activity that is funding criminal organizations and street gangs,” he told a news conference wrapping up a two-day cabinet retreat.“And therefore we do not want to encourage in any way people to engage in that behaviour until the law is changed.”Trudeau hinted that an amnesty could be declared once the law is enacted, although he did not specifically commit to one.“Once the law is changed, we will, of course, reflect on fairness in a way that is responsible moving forward. I think certainly we know that the current legislation is hurting Canadians and criminalizing Canadians who perhaps shouldn’t be,” he said.“But that is an engagement we will take once we have a legalized and controlled regime in place, not before.”Earlier Friday, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said his department is analyzing all the legal ramifications of pardoning the thousands of Canadians who’ve been convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana — acquiring criminal records that can hurt their career prospects or prevent them from crossing the border.Goodale said no decision has yet been made.The legalization of recreational marijuana is one of the biggest ticket items on the Trudeau government’s agenda for 2018 as the ruling Liberals tick off as many of their 2015 election campaign promises as possible in preparation for the next election in 2019.Government insiders have said the year will be focused primarily on “relentless implementation” of the Liberals’ central promise to invest in measures to grow the economy, create jobs and bolster the lot of middle-class Canadians.“We laid out an ambitious plan for growth during the 2015 election campaign and that plan for real change for all Canadians is working,” Trudeau asserted Friday, noting that unemployment is at its lowest level since 1976 and that Canada last year boasted the best economic growth among G7 industrialized countries.The Liberals are hoping that Canadians’ satisfaction with the state of the economy will trump criticism about other less favourable aspects of their record — particularly on the ethics front.Just before Christmas, the federal ethics watchdog ruled that Trudeau violated four different sections of the Conflict of Interest Act when he and his family took vacations on the private Bahamian Island owned by the Aga Khan, billionaire philanthropist and spiritual leader of the world’s Ismaili Muslims.Opposition parties, intent on keeping the ethics lapses front and centre in the new year, are calling for stricter rules and serious penalties for violating them.On that score, Trudeau said Friday that he’s willing to consider beefing up the conflict of interest legislation.“I’m always happy to take recommendations from experts, from various people like the outgoing commissioner or the incoming commissioner on how we can ensure that our institutions and the folks who protect and uphold our institutions continue to be doing the best things the best way for Canadians,” he said.Conveniently, outgoing ethics commissioner Mary Dawson has said she believes public shaming is sufficient penalty for politicians who break ethics rules.While the Liberals want to focus on the economy and the opposition parties on ethics, neither issue has generated much interest so far in Trudeau’s so-called cross-country “listening tour” to hear what Canadians outside the Ottawa bubble think.But Trudeau said the fact he got few questions during the first three town halls this week about his government’s economic agenda is actually a positive sign.“If there weren’t as many questions as there were in previous town halls I’ve done on the economy, I think it can be taken as a sign that we are on the right track.”last_img read more

Mamata remembers brave soldiers hails Tashkent Agreement

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Thursday remembered the soldiers who laid down their lives during the India-Pakistan war in 1965, following which the Tashkent Agreement was signed on this day. “On this day in 1966, Tashkent Agreement was signed by Lal Bahadur Shastri and Ayub Khan, ending the war between Pakistan and India. Homage to all the soldiers who laid down their lives for the country. Jai Hind,” Banerjee tweeted. The 1965 armed conflict between India and Pakistan was formally brought to an end by signing this agreement at Tashkent on January 10, 1966.last_img

Samsung Seeks Smartphone Revamp to Arrest Profit Slide

first_imgOctober 30, 2014 This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Enroll Now for Free 3 min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Thursday said it would revamp its smartphone line-up to take on competitors in the rapidly growing mid-to-low range segment, after third-quarter earnings set it on course for its worst year since 2011.The global smartphone leader’s market share declined in annual terms for the third straight quarter in July-September, lagging Apple Inc in the premium market and overtaken by rivals like Lenovo Group Ltd and Xiaomi Inc at the bottom end, research firm Strategy Analytics said.Executives said the South Korean giant would overhaul its lower-tier line-up to boost price competitiveness and use higher-quality components to set its devices apart, after it announced its worst third-quarter profit in more than three years.”The mid-to-low end market is growing rapidly, and we plan to respond actively in order to capitalise on that growth,” Samsung Senior Vice President Kim Hyun-joon said during a conference call with analysts.Samsung said its third-quarter operating profit fell by an annual 60.1 percent to 4.1 trillion won ($3.9 billion), matching its guidance issued earlier this month.While the company expects profits to pick up in the fourth quarter on strong demand for televisions and memory chips, analysts still expect Samsung to record its worst annual operating profit in three years.Profit for the mobile division fell 73.9 percent to 1.75 trillion won in the third quarter, its worst performance since the second quarter of 2011.Samsung spent most of the quarter without launching a new flagship device, and continued to struggle in the mid-to-low tier markets against cheaper and value-packed offerings like Xiaomi’s Redmi 1S.Robert Yi, Samsung’s head of investor relations, said the firm would launch new mid-tier models in the fourth quarter, although he didn’t specify what features they would have.Samsung expects average selling prices for handsets will rise in the fourth quarter due to an increase in premium smartphone sales, namely of the Galaxy Note 4, and as demand picks up in the holiday shopping season.Analysts say Samsung will likely have to sacrifice margins to protect its market share. Cheaper phones are expected to drive global smartphone market growth in coming years, meaning a general trend of lower average selling prices.Samsung’s chips division was a bright spot, recording a 2.26 trillion operating profit for the July-September quarter to mark the highest earnings since the third quarter of 2010.(1 US dollar = 1,053.5000 Korean won)(Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Stephen Coates) This story originally appeared on Reuterslast_img read more

Emerging Ethical Concerns In the Age of Artificial Intelligence

first_img Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 6 min read Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Register Now » Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. April 18, 2017 My husband and I have a running joke where we have our Amazon Echo “compete” with our iPhones to see who does a better (i.e., more human-like) job of interacting with us. While there’s no clear winner, Siri seems to have the edge for casual conversation, but Alexa can sing.I’ve noticed something else, too. We don’t usually thank Siri or Alexa the way we would a clerk at a supermarket or an employee at an information kiosk, even though they’re providing us with identical services. And why would we? Siri and Alexa aren’t people; they’re anthropomorphized computer programs. They don’t care if we thank them, because they don’t have feelings.At least, we’re pretty sure they don’t.Related: Good, Bad & Ugly! Artificial Intelligence for Humans is All of This & More.Science fiction novels have long delighted readers by grappling with futuristic challenges like the possibility of artificial intelligence so difficult to distinguish from human beings that people naturally ask, “should these sophisticated computer programs be considered human? Should ‘they’ be granted human rights?” These are interesting philosophical questions, to be sure, but equally important, and more immediately pressing, is the question of what human-like artificial intelligence means for the rights of those whose humanity is not a philosophical question.If artificial intelligence affects the way we do business, the way we obtain information, and even the way we converse and think about the world, then do we need to evaluate our existing definition(s) of human rights as well?What are “human rights”?Of course, what constitutes a human right is far from universally agreed. It goes without saying that not all countries guarantee the same rights to their citizens and nationals. Likewise, political support for the existing scope of rights within each country waxes and wanes, both directly and inversely, with those countries’ respective economic fortunes and shifting cultural mores.Historically, technological improvements and economic prosperity — as measured by per capita GDP — have tended to lead to an expanded view of basic human rights. The notion of universal health care as a basic right, for instance, is a relatively modern affectation. It did not exist — and could not have existed — without a robust administrative infrastructure and tax base to support it, and without sufficiently advanced medical technology to assure the population of its effectiveness.Work to live? Live to work?Technological advancement has always, understandably, been met with skepticism, particularly from those whose livelihoods are most likely to be affected by a technological shift. Technology that enhances productivity makes the humans using it more productive, but this is a double-edged sword, as it likewise increases the productivity expectations, and reduces the number of humans required for any given level of productive output. Theoretically, this need does not necessarily lead to job loss, as long as the demand for productive output continues to outpace the technologically abetted output itself.Related: 5 Major Artificial Intelligence Hurdles We’re on Track to Overcome By 2020Do human beings have a right to earn a livelihood? And, if they do, how far does that right extend? How much discomfort is acceptable before the effort required to find gainful employment moves from reasonable to potentially rights-infringing? If technology renders human labor largely obsolete, do humans have a right to a livelihood even if they cannot earn it?Tech industry luminaries such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk have recently endorsed concepts like guaranteed minimum income or universal basic income. A handful of experiments with this concept have been undertaken, announced or proposed in Canada, the Netherlands and elsewhere. Bill Gates recently made headlines with a proposal to impose a “robot tax” — essentially, a tax on automated solutions to account for the social costs of job displacement. While people may differ on the effectiveness or necessity of these and other proposals, it’s clear that discussion on these points will be a part of the broader AI conversation in the years to come.Whose datum is it, anyway?Technology challenges our conception of human rights in other ways, as well. Some of the most fascinating applications of improved artificial intelligence relate to the ability to quickly and efficiently analyze large quantities of data, finding and testing correlations and connections and translating them into usable information. “Big data” has dominated industry headlines in recent years, including speculation that a data analytics solution may have played a role in the 2016 US presidential election.Typically, concerns around access to and use of personal data have centered on personal privacy concerns. Many countries have enacted strict laws prohibiting the collection and sharing of personal data without first providing specific, detailed information about the planned use of such information and obtaining consent. Businesses safeguard their confidential information through an assortment of contractual arrangements and trade secret protection laws.Less legal attention has been paid, however, to the anonymized use of personal or proprietary data — that is, data that has been stripped of identifying information and aggregated alongside other data. This is partly because the question itself is inchoate: who, if anyone, has a right to impose use limitations on aggregated datasets? And on what basis might such limitations be imposed? Some data is relatively easy to obtain, and has traditionally been part of either a formal public record or, at a minimum, thought to be fair game to anyone obtaining them lawfully. This approach essentially mirrors the privacy-rights approach, in that it focuses on data at the point of collection, rather than at the point of use. And yet it is clear that independent ethical concerns do arise from the use, standing alone, of such data.For example, consider the case of an international beauty competition that was “judged” by an AI algorithm. The algorithm was given criteria thought to be unbiased and objective, and yet the selection of winners revealed an unexpected characteristic lurking in the algorithm’s operation — racial bias. As we increasingly rely on data aggregation software not only to provide us with organized information, but to influence or direct actions, we may increasingly find ourselves asking the question — should we have the right to ensure data is used fairly?Related: Artificial Intelligence: A Friend or Foe for Humans?Where do we go from here?Of course, technological innovation likely cannot be halted, and our ability to meaningfully hinder it is questionabl, even leaving aside the matter of whether it is desirable to attempt to do so. Industry groups have already formed to consider the ethical ramifications of increasingly sophisticated artificial intelligence. And while clear answers are unlikely to emerge any time soon, it will be equally important to ensure that we, collectively as a society, are asking the right questions to ensure that technological innovation equates to genuine progress.last_img read more