FamilyMart to allow shorter operating hours at stores across Japan

The Japan Times

Convenience store operator FamilyMart Co. has said it will allow its franchise owners across Japan to shorten operating hours from March, in a bid to address a severe labor shortage during late-night hours. Under the new policy, which will cover nearly 16,000 stores, franchise owners will be able to shut down for part or all of the period from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. if they notify the headquarters in advance. "It is up to each of our franchise owners to make a decision" to end 24-hour operations, said Takashi Sawada, president of the company, at a news conference in Tokyo on Thursday. Store owners who want to cut operating hours would be able to choose to do so either every day or only on Sundays, according to firm, which is Japan's second-largest convenience store operator based on number of outlets. FamilyMart will also raise its monthly incentive to ¥120,000 ($1,100) from ¥100,000 for stores that maintain around-the-clock operations.


Get our AI for business starter pack in time for Christmas

#artificialintelligence

These books will help bring you up to speed, recognise where your knowledge gaps lie and give you a clearer understanding of what you need to do to in terms of your AI business strategy. As you will discover, your first move doesn't have to be a breathtaking project, in fact getting your business ready for AI can involve small changes over time, particularly around culture, and embarking on smaller projects to pull of easy wins while you build up momentum and pave the way for success. To see the full list of included books, scroll to the bottom of the page.


United States should make a massive investment in AI, top Senate Democrat says

#artificialintelligence

Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY) unveiled his artificial intelligence plan last week at a meeting of the National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate wants the government to create a new agency that would invest an additional $100 billion over 5 years on basic research in artificial intelligence (AI). Senator Charles Schumer (D–NY) says the initiative would enable the United States to keep pace with China and Russia in a critical research arena and plug gaps in what U.S. companies are unwilling to finance. The proposal, which Schumer outlined publicly for the first time last week in a speech to senior national security and research policymakers gathered in Washington, D.C., reflects the growing interest in AI and related fields, including a recent presidential executive order. And being the minority leader gives Schumer the chance to turn his ideas into concrete action.


Business must engage with consumers to boost AI

#artificialintelligence

A study by the University of London and Vanson Bourne for WP Engine has concluded that transparency, trust and humanness are key drivers to unlock value in artificial intelligence (AI). The study, which surveyed consumers and enterprise companies with 1,000 employees or more in the US, the UK and Australia, found a large proportion of businesses are already well on their way towards widespread AI implementation. Chris Brauer, director of innovation at Goldsmiths, University of London, said: "Our research shows enterprises investing in AI are already seeing astounding return on investment and performance outcomes. Consumers are demanding that innovating with AI in digital experiences clearly prioritises and expresses values around privacy, trust, and transparency. "Only by laying a solid foundation of ethics and values that guide the implementation of all facets of an AI solution will companies truly be able to fully harness the value of AI." The study reported that 85.5% of businesses ...


AI adoption and investments growing among health industry leaders

#artificialintelligence

A new survey, by Optum (an information and technology-enabled health services company) shows that that the application of artificial intelligence in healthcare is changing. AI is not only being widely adopted and invested in but it is also expected to drive an increased demand for AI talent. This matches a similar trend reported by KPMG. The survey, titled "OptumIQ Annual Survey on AI in Health Care", was conducted of 500 health care executives. This revealed that there was nearly an 88 percent increase in healthcare organizations that have a strategy in place and have implemented artificial intelligence, with these organizations having put a strategy in place in either 2018 or 2019.


Pwn2Own Tokyo 2019 victimize Sony, Samsung and Amazon devices SC Media

#artificialintelligence

Contestants at the Pwn2Own Tokyo 2019 took down an impressive number of high-profile products during the competition's first two days, including a Sony smartTV, Netgear router and an Amazon Echo Show 5. The two-day event paid contestants a total of $315,000 with Team Fluoroacetate, Amat Cama and Richard Zhu, being named Masters of PWN. Day One, November 6, saw more than $195,000 awarded for 12 bugs that were found. Overall, those participants had nine successful attempts against seven targets in five categories, several of which were new for 2019. The first day was dominated by the eventual event winners Team Fluoroacetate.


In the Moment Business Decisions Webinar Recording

#artificialintelligence

With the rise of artificial intelligence and machine learning, businesses are now able to make hundreds of thousands or even millions of intelligent in-the-moment decisions every day. We believe that until recently it has been too hard to use ML for in-the-moment decisions that drive intelligent actions. Complex architectures lead to latency where decisions are made on stale or old data.


AI chip startup taps two UK design teams

#artificialintelligence

A US startup has emerged from stealth mode with a programmable AI chip architecture and software for artificial intelligence and machine learning. Blaize, formerly called Thinci, has backing from automotive companies such as Toyota and Denso, and currently has 325 staff around the world, including two design teams in the UK. The AI chip technology, called a Graph Streaming Processor (GSP), uses a multicore architecture controlled by a state machine. The flow of the machine learning data is determined in the compiler beforehand. This means the compiler and the software development kit (SDK) is a vital part of the development, and the company claims that the architecture can process data ten to a hundred times faster than other AI chips with lower power consumption.


How AI Supports Marketing & Sales in Understanding the Customer Journey

#artificialintelligence

As an experienced Content Strategist at Marketing Essentials, I work with both B2B and B2C companies on website development, chatbots, white papers, blogs, digital marketing strategies and more. The marketing and sales tools powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) are not something to be feared, but something to embrace. Because this technology can help your company better understand your customers and the individual buyer's journey each customer goes through before making a purchase. AI is essentially a set of algorithms that tells a machine what to do or what to learn. These algorithms can help marketing and sales professionals by reducing time on repetitive yet important tasks such as analyzing data, monitoring social posts, locating opportunities in content, and lots more.


Voice Technology: As Google Duplex Wows and Scares, a Post-Screen World Emerges with Questions that the Smart Speakers Cannot Answer

#artificialintelligence

Such is computing's future--to each of our voices. Voice assistants hang on every word we say, when prompted. Their genesis has created an entire family named Siri, Alexa, Cortana, Pepper, Watson, and, most recently, Duplex. One wonders when smart speakers will replace what you're looking at now--this screen. The promise of voice interfaces was demonstrated again in May when Google rolled out Duplex, an AI-driven voice assistant so lifelike and sophisticated that some found it astounding but others deemed it unsettling and wondered if a new era of robocall abuse just dawned.