Microsoft on Wednesday announced a partnership with Accenture to help deepen the reach of entrepreneurs and start-ups that are focused on social impact and sustainability.
The joint initiative will provide hands-on support and technologies to social enterprises, helping them to build scalable solutions and business models that can lead to more tangible and lasting benefits for a greater number of people around the world.
Through the programme, Microsoft Research India and Accenture Labs will help social enterprise startups test and validate proof-of-concepts, conduct design thinking sessions to help them re-envision the impact of their solutions and provide support in exploring and using Microsoft technologies.
“Startups in the social impact and sustainability space are among the world’s most inspiring organisations,” Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations, said in a statement.
“By empowering them, our goal is to help change the lives of a million people,” Courtois said.
With a particular focus on the areas of agriculture, education and healthcare, the programme will initially engage with start-ups in Africa, the Middle East and South Asia, leveraging the Microsoft Research India Center for Societal impact through Cloud and Artificial Intelligence (SCAI).
“Our experience shows that by applying emerging technologies to critical challenges facing society, we can accelerate social transformation,” said Paul Daugherty, Group Chief Executive, Accenture Technology and Chief Technology Officer at Accenture.
“This collaboration is a great illustration of delivering on ‘value’ and ‘values’ – creating tangible business and social value while aligning with people’s values,” Daugherty said. (IANS)
As more and more people use video conferencing tools to stay connected in social distancing times, neuroscientists from Florida Atlantic University have found that a person’s gaze is altered during tele-communication if they think that the person on the other end of the conversation can see them.
The phenomenon known as “gaze cueing,” a powerful signal for orienting attention, is a mechanism that likely plays a role in the developmentally and socially important wonder of “shared” or “joint” attention where a number of people attend to the same object or location.
“Because gaze direction conveys so much socially relevant information, one’s own gaze behaviour is likely to be affected by whether one’s eyes are visible to a speaker,” said Elan Barenholtz, associate professor of psychology. For example, people may intend to signal that they are paying more attention to a speaker by fixating their face or eyes during a conversation.
Please Follow NewsGram on Twiiter To Get Latest Updates From All Around The World!
“Conversely, extended eye contact also can be perceived as aggressive and therefore noticing one’s eyes could lead to reduced direct fixation of another’s face or eyes. Indeed, people engage in avoidant eye movements by periodically breaking and reforming eye contact during conversations,” explained Barenholtz.
People are very sensitive to the gaze direction of others and even two-day-old infants prefer faces where the eyes are looking directly back at them. Social distancing across the globe due to coronavirus (COVID-19) has created the need to conduct business “virtually” using Skype, web conferencing, FaceTime and any other means available.
For the study, published in the journal Attention, Perception & Psychophysics, the team compared fixation behaviour in 173 participants under two conditions: one in which the participants believed they were engaging in a real-time interaction and one in which they knew they were watching a pre-recorded
The researchers wanted to know if face fixation would increase in the real-time condition based on the social expectation of facing one’s speaker in order to get attention or if it would lead to greater face avoidance, based on social norms as well as the cognitive demands of encoding the conversation.
Results showed that participants fixated on the whole face in the real-time condition and significantly less in the pre-recorded condition. In the pre-recorded condition, time spent fixating on the mouth was significantly greater compared to the real-time condition. There were no significant differences in time spent fixating on the eyes between the real-time and the pre-recorded conditions. To simulate a live interaction, the researchers convinced participants that they were engaging in a real-time, two-way video interaction (it was actually pre-recorded).
When the face was fixated, attention was directed toward the mouth for the greater percentage of time in the pre-recorded condition versus the real-time condition. “Given that encoding and memory have been found to be optimized by fixating the mouth, which was reduced overall in the real-time condition, this suggests that people do not fully optimize for speech encoding in a live interaction,” the authors wrote. (IANS)