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Amazon Arm Can Create A New-Age Tech Workforce in India

The functionality within the AWS AI platform leverages 'Amazon Polly' -- a text-to-speech service that uses advanced deep learning technologies

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Realising the need to create a workforce for Next-Gen technologies, several tech companies have started accelerators and incubators in the recent past to nurture talent in disruptive technologies in India.

On the other hand, global Cloud services platform Amazon Web Services (AWS), a subsidiary of Amazon.com, started on the mission long back to prepare an industry-ready workforce and nurture start-ups in the country. According to a senior AWS executive, the company is working very closely with the entire accelerator and incubator space in India.

Amazon Arm can change the tech world. Wikimedia Commons

“AWS has various programmes that it runs in India that help all the stakeholders further drive invested or incubated companies move forward on New-Age technology. This includes giving AWS credits for free. We do mentorship, we do training. We take them through labs,” Bikram Bedi, Head (India Region) at Amazon Internet Services Pvt Ltd (AISPL), told IANS.

AISPL is an Indian subsidiary of the Amazon Group which undertakes the resale and marketing of AWS Cloud services in the country. “Next, we help them in terms of ‘connect’. One programme we run is called ‘Enterprise Connect’ where we go to a bank or a manufacturing company, for example, and ask what kind of new solutions they are looking for in the digital space.

“They tell us that they are looking at such-and-such five areas. We will then go back to our start-up space and say hey, these AWS customers want these five kinds of solutions. The next step is proof of concepts (POCs) and then adoption,” Bedi informed.

When it comes to creating the right set of skills in the market, AWS has a clear-cut strategy. “The effort is broken into a couple of things. The first is around the existing workforce — start-ups, big enterprises and the thriving small and medium businesses (SMBs), etc. We regularly run training classes. Every office that we open in this country has a training room attached to it,” Bedi told IANS. AWS has been running training prgrammes for the existing customers across segments — around system administration, solution architecture and more.

Also Read: Amazon India, HackerEarth partner for Alexa hackathon

“The second piece you need to focus on is the emerging workforce, like students. We’ve built two separate programmes for them. One is called ‘Educate’ and the other is called ‘Academy,'” the AWS executive said. With the increasing demand for Cloud employees, AWS Educate provides an academic gateway for the next generation of IT and Cloud professionals.

Educate is primarily a shorter duration programme that helps academicians build assets, study programmes and learning modules around AWS. “Academy is the full-term course. We are working with a number of educational institutes to see how we can help build the right skill-sets for the market,” Bedi added.

The third part of building skills is to go out and organise regular outreach programmes across communities. AWS recently organised a full-day programme around Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) called the “AIML Conclave” in Bengaluru that was attended by business leaders, data scientists, engineers and developers.

The event helped developers learn about Amazon AI and real-world use cases developed by Amazon and AWS customers — to build smart, customer-centric, scalable solutions in the Cloud and on the edge, using Amazon AI, AWS Internet of Things (IoT) and AWS Deep Learning.

This revolutionary technology can assist in IoT and Machine Learning.

AWS AI is also helping Indian developers build chatbots. Haptik, an AI-based chatbot platform, has partnered with AWS to offer solutions to customers in the country. In cooperation with AWS, Haptik aims to rapidly expand in the Indian chatbot AI market.

The functionality within the AWS AI platform leverages ‘Amazon Polly’ — a text-to-speech service that uses advanced deep learning technologies to synthesise speech that sounds like a human voice. “We are striving hard to reach out to the wider community in India. We are trying to connect several pieces into one and create a right mix of skilled workforce for the new technologies in the market,” Bedi told IANS. IANS

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WhatsApp Announces 20 Teams To Curb Fake News Globally

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation

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WhatsApp selects 20 teams to curb fake news globally, including India. Pixabay

Facebook-owned WhatsApp on Tuesday announced that it has selected 20 research teams worldwide – including experts from India and those of Indian origin — who will work towards how misinformation spreads and what additional steps the mobile messaging platform could take to curb fake news.

Shakuntala Banaji from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), Anushi Agrawal and Nihal Passanha from Bengaluru-based media and arts collective “Maraa” and Ramnath Bhat from LSE have been selected for the paper titled “WhatsApp Vigilantes? WhatsApp messages and mob violence in India”.

The research examines the ways in which WhatsApp users understand and find solutions to the spate of “WhatsApp lynchings” that has killed over 30 people so far.

The Indian government has also directed WhatsApp to take necessary remedial measures to prevent proliferation of fake and, at times, motivated/sensational messages on its platform.

Among others selected were Vineet Kumar from Ranchi-headquartered Cyber Peace Foundation (principal investigator), Amrita Choudhary, President of the Delhi-based non-profit Cyber Café Association of India (CCAOI) and Anand Raje from Cyber Peace Foundation.

They will work as a team on the paper titled “Digital literacy and impact of misinformation on emerging digital societies”.

P.N. Vasanti from Centre for Media Studies in New Delhi woll work withS. Shyam Sundar, The Pennsylvania State University (Principal Investigator) to examine the role of content modality in vulnerability to misinformation, under the topic titled “Seeing is Believing: Is Video Modality More Powerful in Spreading Fake News?”

WhatsApp had issued a call for papers in July this year and received proposals from over 600 research teams around the world.

“Each of the 20 research teams will receive up to $50,000 for their project (for a total of $1 million),” WhatsApp said in a statement.

Lipika Kamra from O.P. Jindal Global University and Philippa Williams from the Queen Mary University of London (Principal Investigator) will examine the role of WhatsApp in everyday political conversations in India, in the context of India’s social media ecosystem.

According to Mrinalini Rao, lead researcher at WhatsApp, the platform cares deeply about the safety of its over 1.5 billion monthly active users globally and over 200 million users in India.

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WhatsApp on a smartphone device. Pixabay

“We appreciate the opportunity to learn from these international experts about how we can continue to help address the impact of misinformation,” Rao said.

“These studies will help us build upon recent changes we have made within WhatsApp and support broad education campaigns to help keep people safe,” she added.

The recipients are from countries including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Israel, Mexico, Netherlands, Nigeria, Singapore, Spain, the UK and US.

WhatsApp said it is hosting them in California this week so they can hear from product leaders about how it builds its product.

“Given the nature of private messaging – where 90 per cent of the messages sent are between two people and group sizes are strictly limited – our focus remains on educating and empowering users and proactively tackling abuse,” said the company.

WhatsApp recently implemented a “forward label” to inform users when they received a message that was not originally written by their friend or loved one. To tackle abuse, WhatApp has also set a limit on how many forwards can be sent.

In India, WhatsApp has partnered with the Digital Empowerment Foundation to train community leaders in several states on how to address misinformation.

Also Read- Facebook Blocks Accounts Engaged in Malicious Activities

“We are also running ads in several languages — in print, online, and on over 100 radio stations — amounting to the largest public education campaign on misinformation anywhere in the world,” the company noted.

Sayan Banerjee from University of Essex, Srinjoy Bose from University of New South Wales and Robert A. Johns from University of Essex will study “Misinformation in Diverse Societies, Political Behaviour & Good Governance”.

Santosh Vijaykumar from Northumbria University, Arun Nair from Health Systems Research India Initiative and Venkat Chilukuri, Srishti Institute of Art, Design and Technology are part of the team that will study “Misinformation Vulnerabilities among Elderly during Disease Outbreaks”. (IANS)