Oxford academics to help Twitter tackle hate speech

first_imgOxford academics from the Experimental Psychology department are to help Twitter become less ‘toxic’ by studying “the health of public conversation” on the social networking site.Alongside researchers from the University of Amsterdam, the Oxford academics will examine “how exposure to a variety of perspectives and backgrounds can decrease prejudice and discrimination.”The study forms part of Twitter’s ongoing drive to combat hate speech and harassment, after the company came under fire for not taking a hard enough line against sexist and racist abuse on the site.Professor Miles Hewstone, a social psychologist at Oxford, said: “Evidence from social psychology has shown how communication between people from different backgrounds is one of the best ways to decrease prejudice and discrimination.“We’re aiming to investigate how this understanding can be used to measure the health of conversations on Twitter, and whether the effects of positive online interaction carry across to the offline world.”In a blog post about its new partnerships, Twitter said: “We know this is a very ambitious task, and look forward to working with these two teams, challenging ourselves to better support a thriving, healthy public conversation.”Twitter shares dropped by 15% last week after it announced it had lost over a million users in a drive to remove locked, inactive accounts.Other social networking companies, including Facebook and YouTube, have previously faced similar public criticism for not preventing abuse and fake news in what some are calling a “techlash”.last_img read more

Creating jobs top priority in ‘Pulse of Vermont’ survey

first_imgAppendix: Education and Vermont’sQuality of LifeAppendix C contains an essay prepared by theauthors’both lifelong educators’on why so manyquality of life issues are influenced by education. Theessay goes beyond the present data and draws uponthe authors’ own disciplinary expertise in explainingwhy we should not be surprised that a state withsuch a high educational level should also enjoy sucha high quality of life. The essay draws upon sociology,economics, and philosophy to argue that educationis important not only for its role in promotingmobility and enhancing our personal development,but also because it is vital for economic growth andresponsible citizenship. Areas of Diminished Satisfactionsand ConcernsDespite the 20 year constancy that we see in thepersonal well-being of Vermonters, there have alsobeen some areas of diminished satisfaction’jobsatisfaction, for example, as well as satisfaction withrespondents’ towns, friends and families, and theirown educations. Vermonters’ trust in each other, whilefar higher than national levels, has declined in recentsurveys. Increasing proportions of respondents haveless confidence in the government in Montpelier thanpreviously, and worrisome proportions feel that lifein Vermont is getting worse. Finally, it appears thatsupport for public education is less than it was inearlier surveys. Individual Well-beingThe five surveys covering 20 years found remarkablestability in how Vermonters view their overall wellbeing.Their levels of happiness and satisfaction invarious domains of life have hardly changed sincethe first survey was conducted in 1990. Vermonters’thoughts about what constitutes ‘quality of life’ inthe Green Mountain State are also stable’mostlycentered on a ‘measured pace of life,’ and the ‘naturalbeauty’ of the state. Respondents’ perceptions ofneighborhood safety and their sense of belonging totheir communities also remained unchanged. MethodologyThe survey’s standard research methodologyyielded a sample of 407 adults who approximate thedemographic profile of the state. The response ratewas a healthy 60%. The recent national shift fromland-based telephones to wireless phones, however,has caused young persons to be under-represented,as were respondents in the lower educational andincome categories. The use of statistical ‘weighting’adjusted for many of these imbalances. Trends and Historical ContextThe interviews were conducted in the spring of 2010,a time of unusual economic dislocation and hardship,at the tail end of the ‘Great Recession’ that startedin late 2007. While the Vermont unemployment rateremained below national averages, the economicenvironment in the state was still considerably morechallenging than at the time of any of the other studies.Nine broad social and economic trends are highlightedthat set the backdrop for this 20 year analysis ofquality of life in Vermont. Public PrioritiesThe ranking of public priorities has been a centralfeature in each Pulse of Vermont study. This year,economic matters rose to the top. The risingimportance of maintaining family farms and localagriculture and concerns about the safety of the foodsupply showed the most dramatic change in priority. Economic AnxietiesNo single issue stood out so prominently in thisyear’s study as the state of the economy. In higherproportions than previously, Vermonters expresseda greater desire for job creation and were morepersuaded than ever that economic growthcontributes to an improved quality of life.People were less confident in their ability to retirecomfortably, and high proportions were worriedabout their ability to pay bills. Barely one in threeVermonters reported that they were ‘financially betteroff’ now than they were five years ago ‘ the lowestlevel reported in the five Pulse of Vermont studies. Somespillover effect was seen in increased worry about hightaxes and the financial situation of State government.The unemployed, native born Vermonters and thosewith less education and lower incomes were allimpacted more significantly by economic events thanother members of the sample and, as a group, gavelower ratings to most of the measures of well-beingand life satisfaction. An Online OptionFor the first time this project offered all Vermontersan opportunity to take an abridged online survey, inpart to see how the responses from a self-selectedsample might differ from the scientifically chosentelephone interviews. In response to a VermontPublic Radio spot and an insert in Comcast bills, justover 500 people completed the online survey. Whileresponses to some items were indistinguishablefrom the random telephone survey, many were quitedifferent, revealing more anger and anxiety overpublic issues than we observed in our random survey.Because of the self-selected nature of the respondents,the results of this online survey are only discussed ina separate textbox in Appendix B of this report. Thedata tables are available online at the VBR website. Source: Vermont Business Roundtable. http://www.vtroundtable.org/(link is external) This report is the fifth ‘Pulse of Vermont: Quality of Life Survey’ conducted since 1990. Each has used the same methodology of conducting 20 to 30 minute phone-based interviews with a statewide random sample of adult Vermonters. The interviews addressed questions about personal well-being and perceptions of various issues related to ‘quality of life.’ Many of the questions also focused on issues related to life in Vermont, such as confidence in Vermont-based institutions, trust in other Vermonters, aspects of life that seem to be ‘under threat,’ and public priorities. Each of the studies was conducted by the Center for Social Science Research at Saint Michael’s College under the sponsorship of the Vermont Business Roundtable. Since the first study was conducted in 1990, more than 2,000 people have been interviewed, allowing analysts to document various longitudinal trends. Demographic DifferencesCompared with other states, Vermonters are relativelyhomogeneous, yet there were still conspicuousdifferences between subgroups on most measures ofwell-being and quality of life. Income and educationwere the most important predictors of quality of life,and these two inter-related factors also helped explainthe differing public priorities among sample members.Two additional attitudinal questions were stronglyassociated with many measures of well-being’howmuch trust we have in our fellow Vermonters andthe emphasis one puts on the primacy of protectingone’s self and family from outside troubles. Themost trusting respondents were the most securefinancially, most committed to life in Vermont, andhad the highest confidence in many of the state’s central institutions.Their levels of various forms oflife satisfactions were also higher, as well as theirbelief that life in the state was getting better. Theyalso volunteered more and had a stronger sense ofbelonging to their communities. Gender, marital status,religiosity, nativity, and political orientation each alsoinfluenced various aspects of quality of life and wellbeing.last_img read more

Investing over spending: Banks, e-commerce firms cater to shifting consumer preference

first_imgWelma is a platform that allows users to invest in mutual funds, bonds, as well as to purchase insurance products. The bank reported that the number of transactions within Welma had increased from less than 2,000 transactions in December 2019 to 6,498 transactions in July this year, with the total transaction value reaching Rp 722 billion (US$49 million) in July. The number of users downloading the platform surged from almost 25,000 in the first quarter this year to over 58,000 in September.Indonesian Central Securities Depository (KSEI) data shows that the number of retail investors in the country has increased to 1.2 million as of June this year, a rise of around 12 percent from December last year. The rise of domestic retail investors in the country was significant in that it had provided the local bourse, the Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX), with a liquidity buffer as foreign capital fled the country, driven by market panic due to the COVID-19 fear, analysts have said. As of Friday, data from the IDX shows that domestic investors make up 65 percent of the total trading value in the bourse this year, while foreign investors make up only 35 percent. Bond instruments are also highly sought after, with the government raising Rp 18.33 trillion through its July issuance of ORI017 retail bond series, 367 percent more than the original sale target of Rp 5 trillion and making it the highest recorded proceeds from online bond issuances. Prominent players in the country’s digital economy are eyeing to benefit from this trend and thinking to possibly expand their platform to include investment features if they have not done so already. “Hopefully, we can release an investment service, [but] we don’t know when yet,” Bank BTPN digital banking business product head Waasi B. Sumintardja told The Jakarta Post during an Instagram Live session with the Post on Thursday. “I hope by next year, we’ll already have an investment service. But we’ll see then because we received quite a lot of input from our cocreators, so we need to pick which ones are the most fitting for Jenius users,” Waasi explained, referring to its innovation process called cocreation in which Jenius users can share their ideas to the Jenius’ team on how to make the digital banking app work better for them. Decacorn ride-hailing app Gojek has also expanded its services to include an investment platform by forming a partnership between its payment services GoPay and Pluang, an online gold investment platform. Speaking during a webinar hosted by the Post, GoPay managing director Budi Gandasoebrata hinted that the GoJek app might soon launch a new investment feature. “Yes, hopefully, you will see it very soon […] If I share too much, it won’t be a surprise anymore, so you’ll see when it comes,” Budi said on Sept. 25. Bukalapak also announced on Oct. 5 the launch of its fintech arm PT Buka Investasi Bersama (BIB) and aims to attract half a million Bukalapak users as mutual fund investors in 2021. Tokopedia, on the other hand, already owns mutual funds and digital gold investment platforms; both have grown robustly since they were launched. Tokopedia’s mutual fund investors have multiplied 57 times and gold investors 20 times in the last two years. The total number of transactions multiplied by 27 and 20, respectively. Schroders Indonesia president director and chief executive officer (CEO) Michael T. Tjoadi said during the Indonesia Knowledge Forum that investors would need to weigh in their investment horizon when building their investment portfolio — whether it was long-term or short-term. “In the short-term, knowing that the interest rates will be kept low, it is safer to invest in government bonds as they are less risky than corporate bonds,” Michael said on Oct. 6.Topics : Banks and e-commerce platforms are trying to ride the trend of customers choosing to invest rather than spend during the pandemic by offering investment services and pushing the use of existing assistance for retail investors.Publicly listed Bank Central Asia (BCA) vice president director Suwignyo Budiman noticed a shift toward wealth accumulation among customers after the privately owned bank recorded a surge in funds under management for investment products and bancassurance, while loans began to diminish. “Starting from March, especially since June and July until the present, investment products [demand] increased quite notably,” Suwignyo said during the 2020 Indonesia Knowledge Forum held online on Oct. 6. He added that demand had been particularly high for bonds, which gave a relatively higher return than bank time deposits as interest rates kept falling.Bank Indonesia (BI) data shows that the country’s loan growth stood at just 1.04 percent year-on-year (yoy) in August while third-party funds soared 11.64 percent annually.McKinsey & Company’s “COVID-19 Indonesia Consumer Pulse Survey” found that consumers remain cautious about spending, with 83 percent of respondents agreeing to the statement: “Given the economy and my personal finances, I have to be very careful how I spend my money”. The survey was done from June 19 to 21. “BCA has strengthened its wealth management services in the past few years, so in the condition where wealth accumulation increases, […] Welma, our wealth management app, received an overwhelmingly warm response from the public,” he added.last_img read more