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Milan Kordestani

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Milan Kordestani

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Good Morning from a Snowy Montana, 

This week’s letter has been challenging to write as I’ve been battling the flu in a blur of tissues, thermometers, and enough Nyquil to tranquilize a moose. While battling the sniffles and insomnia, I managed to hallucinate a memory of one of my favorite childhood songs that I had forgotten, buried deep in my subconscious. Since I last wrote, I have had a handful of healthy days where I managed to read lots, kick off some promising partnership opportunities, launch a new site, and work on my book! Keep reading to learn more. Buckle up because we're diving in!

Ankord Media:

From Milan the Author:

Just before the flu took over, my mind found solace in working on my manuscript and exploring the concept of "moonshot moments." These transformative leaps of progress, from the moon landing to the invention of the light bulb, ignite a spark within me, inspiring awe and a profound sense of human potential. With feverish determination, I’ve been crafting the first chapters of my next book focused on Moonshot Moments (9,000 words in the last week is no small feat). While I can't say the flu hasn't slowed my progress a tad, the momentum has been significant and deeply fulfilling. 

Ankord Labs Weekly Spotlight:

Narratives & The Doe:

I’m excited to share that the team at Narratives and Ankord Media came together to launch a landing page for Narratives as we build the organization. Click here for a first peek, and join me in celebrating the power of storytelling to drive social progress! For those of you new to this newsletter, Narratives is a 501(c)(3) content organization dedicated to sharing a broad spectrum of perspectives from across all cultures, demographics, and regions. It operates two distinct publishing arms: The Doe and Narratives. The Doe is our platform for anonymous storytelling, offering a space for authors to share their experiences without revealing their identities, fostering a unique environment for diverse, impactful narratives. Meanwhile, Narratives is set to feature personal stories under the authors' real names, celebrating the storytellers' identities and experiences directly.

We’ll have a more prominent, more comprehensive brand and site launch in the coming months, but that launch requires content and partnerships (which we are crushing):

Defy Ventures: I’m excited to share that we are just weeks from conducting the first bylined interview for Narratives. Through a beta partnership with Defy Ventures, other Narratives journalists and I will interview formerly incarcerated people, sharing their stories of survival, perseverance, and empathy building. Defy Ventures helps incarcerated individuals gain entrepreneurial skills so they can break free of the recidivism cycle. I’ve met a few times with Quan Huynh, a former inmate who now helps run Defy and has published his book, Sparrow in the Razor Wire: Finding Freedom from Within While Serving a Life Sentence (highly recommended, by the way!) We’ve decided to do a lengthy interview for Narratives, discussing his triumphant life story and how Defy is helping inmates transition to a more productive lifestyle. I’m thrilled to bring his powerful voice to Narratives, and the whole team is excited to have impactful content as we build this new non-profit. 

Pars Equality Center: This month, I also met with Peyman Malaz at Pars Equality Center, a  non-profit supporting Farsi-speaking immigrants in the US. The teams at The Doe and Narratives will be working with Pars’ staff on a project to support Afghan refugees who have been granted asylum in the US after the military pullout of 2021. Those who feel comfortable will share their stories with me to publish on TheDoe anonymously, where we’ll create videos for viewers to see and hear the real people behind this political crisis. For those comfortable sharing their identity, they’ll publish Narratives. We’re proud that, for many Afghan women who had experiences of trauma and fear, The Doe will offer them their first safe space to tell their stories. I will have to brush up on my Farsi skills, but I’m thrilled to have such a good reason to practice!

Finally, I want to thank the team at Narratives and The Doe immensely for their hard work reviving The Doe and bringing Narratives to life. We’ve had countless stories go viral in the past few weeks. Their headlines are below, and you can see tons of great civil discourse in the comments, too. Moderation is a challenge; we’re learning as we go, but we’re excited that our audience still cares to read and support our work. 

Things I’m Reading (Audiobooking):

  • Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of Machines, by Dr. Joy Buolamwini: In the spirit of Black History Month, I audiobooked "Unmasking AI" by Dr. Joy Buolamwini. It's a powerful exploration of how biased data and algorithms can perpetuate societal inequalities, particularly regarding race and gender. As a founder of AI development, this book was illuminating and unsettling. Buolamwini's personal experiences encountering discriminatory AI firsthand, her research uncovering the "coded gaze," and her subsequent activism through the Algorithmic Justice League was eye-opening. It challenged me to critically examine the potential for bias in my projects, reminding me of the responsibility we hold as developers to create responsible and ethical AI that amplifies, not amplifies, existing injustice. This book is a must-read for anyone involved in AI, urging us to prioritize human values and actively work towards equitable AI solutions.

Things I’m Listening To:

  • Gole Maryam: One night, while trying my best to fall into a deep sleep well tranquilized by Nyquil, I lay awake, unable to sleep for hours. In that Nyquil haze, I found myself recounting a rhyme and a couple of words of a song my mom used to play for me on the way to school in the 6th grade. It’s a genre-bending folk/pop mix from 1990s Iran called Gole Maryam. The following day, I called my mom, trying to recount the song, but I only remembered two words from the song and not the rhythm. She remembered the song situationally when I described where and when she’d play it for me, but no other specifics. The second night of my flu, again sedated with Nyquil, three more words came to me and the rhythm. This time, I voice-recorded it and then immediately called my mother. She didn’t recount it immediately; she was half asleep when I called her. But the following day, she identified the song, and I’m so excited to share it with you. Please see it linked here. Additionally, if you’re interested in tuning into any of my other favorite Iranian songs, please see my curated Persian Playlist here.

Wrapping Up

With that, I’m happy to report that I’m recovering well from the flu and enjoying beautiful skiing runs with my younger siblings and family. So much work is going on in the background at Ankord to support all of my notable startups and media ambitions; thank you to everyone helping me build this empire. Mark your calendars – the next few weeks promise big announcements you won't want to miss. Stay tuned, stay curious, and remember, every journey begins with a good night’s sleep and caring for your physical and mental self. 

Thank you again for subscribing to this little corner of my world. Until we meet again next week, may your moonshot dreams burn bright.

Stay Warm and Healthy,

Milan Kordestani

Ankord Memo - February 23, 2024

Greetings from a Warm but Cloudy Los Angeles,

Firstly, a massive thank you for tuning in once again to this newsletter. These days, I find that most of my serotonin comes from discovering new music that gives me chills, and the serenity of calm sunny days where I can spend my days reading and writing. As always, I find myself listening to more and more Cuban music, especially when the sun is shining and I get to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway with rolled down windows. As we look ahead, I can't help but feel excitement for the upcoming long weekend, with next Monday marking President's Day—a perfect opportunity to soak up more sunshine, discover some new tunes, and make some content! So please, kick back and enjoy another exciting edition of my newsletter.

Ankord Media:

From Milan the Author:

A few weeks ago, I had the incredible opportunity to sit down for an interview with Dr. Ben Kuipers, a distinguished mathematician at the University of Michigan renowned for his work in AI. Our discussion delved deep into the essence of cooperation and the imperative of cultivating win-win scenarios to propel our advancements in AI and to drive human progress. Dr. Kuipers introduced me to Robert Wright’s work on non-zero-sum progress which has profoundly influenced the current book I’m working on. As I continue crafting my work, I'm weaving in these insights, emphasizing the critical need and moonshot goal of global cooperation. Stay tuned as these transformative ideas take center stage in my upcoming book.

From Milan the Content Creator:

I recently had the opportunity to participate in an interview with Fox News, where we engaged in a discussion about President Biden's use of profanity to express frustration with his political opponents. Check out my comments here - and expect more election discourse as 2024 progresses! 

See here a video about why the DNC is going to intentionally lose this election. A solution to these problems can be found here

Ankord Labs Weekly Spotlight:

Audo:

Accelerating with Google StartED: We're excited to share that Ahmad Elzahdan, CEO of Audo, recently participated in the well-respected Google StartED Accelerator program. Over the course of the week, Ahmad had the opportunity to engage in insightful mentorship sessions, workshops, and networking events aimed at fostering growth and innovation in the education technology sector. The program provided Ahmad with valuable resources and guidance, which will allow him to further solidify Audo's position as a leader in the industry. He provided some insights to share. 

Ahmad enthusiastically expressed how productive and “intense” the conference was - an immersive experience, extending far beyond the scheduled times due to the abundance of valuable information and engaging Q&A sessions. The week commenced with an inspiring induction by Alisa O'Hara, Google's Global Head of EdTech Partnerships, shedding light on Google's ambitious plans for education and introducing Google's EdTech integration partner, Zazmic. Ahmad enjoyed meeting with Anthony Hernandez, Google's Strategic EdTech Partnerships Manager, to discuss funding and growth opportunities for Audo. Throughout the sessions, Ahmad focused on future partnership opportunities and ideas for fundraising strategies and investor prospecting. Overall, the conference was a rigorous yet enlightening journey, fostering collaboration, networking, and strategic planning to propel Audo towards its ambitious goals.

Progress on the Roadmap: Progress at Audo is soaring as we look to fill key hires across various critical roles, including a Data Engineer, Senior Flutter Developer, and ML Engineer. Additionally, significant strides have been made in backend development with the implementation of features for Audo’s Job Match feature and a Server Migration. On the front end, the Audo team’s focus remains sharp, with the development of native Course Pages, Design Prototypes, and intuitive user interfaces for Audo’s Course Listings, Resume feature, and Job Tracker functionalities. Audo’s executive team has also been focusing on securing grants and partnerships specifically focused on the prison system, to provide Audo to inmates looking to avoid recidivism. Stay tuned as we continue to push boundaries and bring technological innovation at Audo.

Branding Revamp and Content: In a collaboration between the Audo and Ankord Labs teams, we've pooled our expertise to create motion graphics videos showcasing the latest features of our products and undergo a new logo creation journey. With a fresh new logo and product suite set to debut later this year, we are more clear on the problems we solve and the populations we solve them for, than ever before.

Ankord Labs Job Searches:

The Ankord Labs team is working round the clock to fill new positions that open in the startups we incubate. If you know any great candidates, please help us to connect to them and grow the Ankord family! Three great positions are open at Nota:

  • Director of Product Management: Come spearhead product development, collaborate closely with senior leadership, and drive innovation in alignment with Nota’s mission of revolutionizing the industry through responsible and innovative use of technology.
  • Director of Customer Success and Partnerships: Come be instrumental in driving customer success, fostering strategic partnerships, and advancing Nato’s business growth through tailored solutions, strong relationships, and collaborative initiatives.
  • Director of Data Science and A.I.: Lead both strategic planning and hands-on execution of our data initiatives, playing a pivotal role in developing and implementing our data strategy while actively contributing to the design, development, and deployment of AI models and machine learning algorithms.

Things I’m Reading:

  • Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, by Robert Wright: I've just finished Robert Wright's Nonzero as part of my quest to deepen my understanding of human cooperation and progress. Wright's compelling exploration of the interplay between cooperation, technology, and cultural evolution resonates deeply with me.  What captivated me most about the book was Wright's optimistic vision of human destiny, highlighting the potential for positive-sum outcomes and non-zero-sum progress, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. It's a refreshing perspective that reaffirms my belief in the power of collaboration and collective action to shape a better future for humanity.
  • AI and the Herculaneum Scrolls: This is a story I’ve been following this week - winners were announced in a Silicon Valley-funded competition to use AI to decipher ancient Roman scrolls preserved in lava. I am always blown away by wildly creative applications of AI, and as a fan of Roman philosophy, I can’t wait for humanity to rediscover “new” wisdom from the past.

Things I’m Watching/Listening To:

  • Cuban Music: There’s just something so energetic and moving about Cuban music. Maybe it’s that I speak just enough spanish for the songs to keep me dreaming about what they’re singing about, or maybe it’s the consistency of the clave beating to keep salsa dancers on beat, but on the days when peace goes out the door and I need energy, I double down on Cuban Music. Please follow my playlist for my favorites!
  • Milkshake 20 (Alex Wann Remix): With the early 2000s in the spotlight this week with Usher’s Superbowl performance, I have been blasting this remix on repeat. I love how remixes like this make something so classic feel fresh again. 
  • Beyonce Goes Country: I’m all for this song, I was a big fan of her song first country song Daddy Lessons when it came out, and in general I love when artists become entrepreneurs and diversify their audiences, reach, and just generally experiment with new sounds. Maybe I’m tired of pop stars making same-sounding music; her new song Texas Hold’em feels far from “same-sounding”. 

Wrapping Up

As I conclude this edition of my newsletter, I want to thank each of you for subscribing. I hope you get to find some time this week for introspection, reflecting on the profound impact we can have when there is consensus and cooperation in our lives and communities. I’m grateful for all the progress across the Ankord portfolio, and especially Audo this week as we direct our collective efforts toward driving scalable change. Stay tuned for more updates on my book manuscript, where we delve deeper into the transformative power of cooperation and the potential it holds for launching moonshot moments of progress. Until next time, let's continue to champion progress and embrace the journey ahead with optimism and determination.

I hope you find the balance of making time to relax, while getting ahead, this upcoming long weekend.  

Kindly,

Milan Kordestani

Ankord Memo - February 15, 2024

Good Morning from a very flooded Los Angeles!

It’s been a busy couple weeks since I last wrote, but I’m so thrilled to share what’s been going on at Ankord, including progress on my next book manuscript and an inside look at what’s brewing at Nota. Thanks for joining me for this update!

Ankord Media:

From Milan the Author:

Currently immersed in the early stages of research and initial writing for my second book, I find the blank page to be both daunting and invigorating. The challenge of crafting a coherent narrative is met with inspiration drawn from the profound insights of the philosophers, physicists, and psychoanalysts whose work I’ve been exploring. Their diverse perspectives not only provide intellectual depth but also fuel my creative process. The next few months will be crucial as I put to page all the exciting ideas about AI and our future that I’ve been working on over the past few months.

From Milan the Content Creator:

I had the opportunity to interview someone who left an incredible memory and feeling that has stayed with me even months after having met. You may have seen my Eddie the Fiddler videos on social media, where I interviewed a self taught violinist in Central Park who plays under a bridge daily. There’s something so magical about how the right people fall into your world at the right time. Eddie described himself as having “Peter Pan Syndrome”, meaning that he’s an adult who never wanted to grow up and become serious. He’s jovial, light hearted, kind, and high energy. I say he came into my life at the right time because whenever I think of him, I remind myself that I have a choice of how I want to show up in the world daily, and that life is better when we show up curious and inspired like a young child. Peter Pan syndrome is an extreme of an otherwise important mental framework centered around the idea of maintaining childlike wonder, curiosity, and neuroplasticity. Eddie, and the others like him who I try to find to interview, remind me that not all heroes wear capes.

Please check out the full length interview I did with him here, and an Instagram Clip that hit over 2M views here!

Ankord Labs Weekly Spotlight:

Nota:

Fundraising Success: Any founder will tell you that the first round of fundraising is the hardest, and Nota has faced the particular challenge of fundraising in “tech winter” for the venture capital market. Yet, amidst this winter, Nota’s team has shown that for teams building real products, for real customers, who have real pain points, it’s never been a better time to build a startup. We hope to close our VC-led Seed round by the end of this month, bringing in over $3M of strategic institutional money to ensure Nota’s sustainability and growth.

I want to again applaud Josh Brandau, the co-founding team, and all the great talent at Nota for getting us through fundraising in such a competitive market. It is an exciting time to be in the startup ecosystem! And don’t worry - once Nota is ready to make the big announcement, you’ll get more detail here!

AI Tools for Publishers: Our users, from big media producers to smaller publications, have been heaping praise on us for the quality of our product. But we’ve also gotten a lot of positive - even grateful - feedback from publishers for helping them “do more with less.” With so much of the media industry suffering layoffs, many publications are being forced to ask more and more from fewer and fewer employees, and at Nota, we’ve been hearing how often our product is filling those gaps by making content generation more affordable and more user-friendly. We didn’t build for a recession, but we have always believed that publications should be focused on producing great journalism, so if we are helping outlets afford their best writers by doing away with unnecessary editors and videographers, then we know we’re doing our part to protect quality journalism and bolster the fourth estate.

New Landing Page and Promo Video: The last couple weeks I had a hand in creating a motion graphics video to show the world what the Nota team has been building. The new videos will be featured on the new website that will be launched soon - keep your eyes on this newsletter for an update when it goes live!

Going Forward: With the success of Nota’s fundraising efforts and consistent revenue growth, the team is excited to bring on a couple more team members, meaning an opportunity to enhance our customer experience and expand the capabilities of the tools we offer! I want to give you a very early sneak peek into two that have me excited:

  • Nota’s upcoming Tone Builder will help users - especially media holding groups with diverse publication portfolios - train our AI to match the tone of a given publication. 
  • Also in the works is a Proof tool which will allow our AI to assess and ‘grade’ users’ content for SEO quality, likelihood of virality, and more. 

Things I’m Reading:

  • The Perennial Philosophy, by Aldous Huxley. -Right now, I'm diving into Perennial Philosophy for its straightforward exploration of common threads running through various religious and philosophical traditions. I like how Huxley extracts universal insights that cut across cultural and historical boundaries, providing a practical lens to understand shared human values and wisdom. In a world with diverse beliefs, this book offers a down-to-earth perspective, helping me glean practical insights applicable to contemporary life while fostering a broader understanding of the common threads that bind us all.

Things I’m Listening To:

  • Milan's Guided Meditations Playlist- Lately, I’ve been in a creative mode and inspired by many of the authors I’ve been examining while working on my manuscript. This playlist includes guided meditations by some of my favorite philosophers, like Alan Watts and Ram Dass, whose insights are directing my writing and keeping me calm during the process. 
  • Phonics - I’ve been listening to one of our very own Guin artist’s newest releases on repeat since I last wrote. This song, by Asha Imuno, feat. Westside Boogie and Tempest (a new Guin signee), sets the tone for a great night relaxing with friends or driving through LA on a sunny day. 

Wrapping Up

Thank you for joining me in celebrating the high-energy activities of Ankord Labs' startups, and in supporting my creative process. As we wrap up this edition, I invite you to check back in next week for more updates from the leaders we’re supporting. Their excitement is palpable, and we can't wait to share more about the innovative strides these ventures are making. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the entrepreneurial pulse that fuels Ankord Labs, and thank you for being part of our engaged and vibrant community!

Thank you for tuning in, stay warm, 

Milan Kordestani

Ankord Memo - February 6, 2024

Links to supporting documents and resources are available for download for further reading and reference. The document includes source references used in the creation of this content.

Download the Reference Document

Executive Summary

The rise of artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most popular topics of the 2020s that are often discussed by scientists, journalists, industry leaders, and regular individuals. Whereas AI tools provide unique benefits for a variety of stakeholders, their use is accompanied by a set of social and economic risks. In particular, the available evidence provides a compelling reason to believe that the integration of AI into different industries can lead to the disruption of the economy, job displacement, and increased social inequality. A number of employees in the public and private sectors are at risk of job loss, such as workers of manufacturing factories, content creators, administrators, drivers, and many others. Scientists and practitioners continue arguing over the best way to approach the threats of AI in a way that would prevent economic disruption and ensure social stability without hampering AI research. 

The current white paper is dedicated to a critical analysis of ways to regulate AI tools to address the social and economic risks of this technology. The main goal of the research is to offer a set of practical recommendations to regulate AI so that Generation Z could benefit from the technology in terms of ensuring social stability and economic prosperity. The study sought to provide a detailed overview of the economic and social risks associated with AI, analyze the disruptive impact of AI on the manufacturing, healthcare, education, financial services, transportation, TV/film, publishing, and content creation sectors, review the current corporate recommendations for guiding AI regulation and development frameworks, and offer potential solutions and regulatory proposals for the chosen industries to control the disruptive effects of AI, while still allowing for innovation and growth.

It was found that AI has already become a vital concern for stakeholders of many industries. Policymakers, businesses, non-government organizations, and citizens all agree that AI must be regulated to prevent a plethora of risks associated with the technology. Simultaneously, there is currently no agreement among them regarding the exact strategy that should be chosen. Some stakeholders, such as Microsoft and OpenAI, advocate for the establishment of a strict regulatory approach establishing a separate agency under the Department of Commerce that would license and audit all large language models, while others, such as the European Commission and Alphabet, suggest the use of a risk-based framework that focuses on developing customized solutions for specific high-risk industries. A detailed analysis of the relevant regulatory interventions, such as the Sherman Antitrust Act, Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Sarbanes-Oxley Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Plan, and a series of initiatives supporting a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, leads to a conclusion where policymakers may choose suitable strategies among a variety of different options. The choice of specific measures mainly depends on the perceived significance of AI risks. In particular, those stakeholders who advocate for the use of a risk-based framework believe that the growing reliance on AI algorithms does not pose a critical threat to the economy and society that would justify the establishment of a separate agency and strict licensing requirements. Policymakers and industry leaders who believe in the threat of an “AI uprising”, at the same time, are proponents of strict regulatory measures. 

The current white paper proposes a two-layer framework for regulating AI. The first layer of this framework includes a set of provisions applying to all industries. It includes a comprehensive AI act that includes a set of specific provisions aimed at protecting the economy and society from the uncontrolled integration of AI into different spheres of life, such as:

  • AI adjustment assistance programs, 
  • the mandatory appointment of AI officers at large corporations, 
  • mandatory transition periods and severance payments for displaced workers of large corporations with the valuation exceeding $5 billion, 
  • investment into AI education campaigns, 
  • the support of large-scale AI projects to stimulate the transition of the workforce to AI-dominated jobs, 
  • and the establishment of a separate agency under the Department of Commerce that issues licenses for all large language models and monitors their functionality. 

The white paper also suggests a set of specific recommendations for the chosen industries, such as mandatory training sessions for “at-risk” employees in the manufacturing sector. The proposed regulatory framework can become a solid basis for further research on the problem under investigation. It also can be considered by policymakers of different countries when creating their versions of an AI regulatory policy. 

Chapter 1. Introduction

1.1. Research Background

Intensification of scientific and technological progress creates unprecedented challenges and opportunities for humanity. Disruptive technologies, such as the Internet and smartphones, have transformed various industries and become an inalienable part of life. The pace of scientific and technological progress continues to increase, translating into the continuous introduction of revolutionary solutions in various industries. Blockchain, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are examples of technologies that are becoming increasingly popular in different sectors. They offer value to diverse stakeholder groups and transform the ways in which organizations conduct different operations. The exact impact of most of these technologies will be impossible to quantify, but there is no limit to the variety of possible scenarios in which these technologies shape the course of human events, for better or worse. 

Artificial intelligence is one of the technologies that is often discussed in academic research as a driver of major changes in numerous industries. For example, AI-based automation solutions increase operational efficiency and simplify the completion of routine tasks, healthcare platforms leveraging AI offer personalized treatment plans and improve healthcare outcomes, adaptive learning platforms run by AI customize educational programs, and smart city solutions powered by AI optimize infrastructure, improve traffic management, and reduce energy consumption. The benefits provided by AI span myriad industries and potentially extend to nearly any aspect of human life. Therefore, it is natural that the number of studies dedicated to the advantages of AI has been growing. 

AI is a tech sector that has been attracting increased attention from investors. According to Statista, corporate investment in this niche reached $91.9 billion in 2022. During the period between 2017 and 2022, the number of companies using AI has increased from around 25% to 60%. Roser argues that the AI industry entered a new era in 2021, when private investment and mergers and acquisitions related to the technology skyrocketed, leading to the injection of large resources in AI development. The idea that AI is likely to drive social and economic progress is not new. Some authors predicted such a scenario in the 2000s; furthermore, a number of solutions were implemented in the 2010s to support the specific needs of different industries and businesses. Nowadays, however, AI developers find themselves in a unique situation where their product development activities can be supported by unprecedented amounts of funding, which facilitates the rapid design, development, deployment, and improvement of AI products. 

The emergence of ChatGPT served as an important milestone in the evolution of AI. As stated above, there were many products powered by artificial intelligence in the past. However, ChatGPT became a disruptive technology that not only introduced unique features and delivered value to users, but also dramatically increased public awareness of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The platform attracted a significant amount of attention and quickly became popular among users from different regions of the globe. The latest data show that the platform recorded 1.6 billion visits in June 2023. The rising popularity of ChatGPT and its impressive features have been discussed in detail in numerous scholarly and non-scholarly sources. The platform’s success became an important event that drew the attention of different stakeholders to AI and triggered intense debate over its implications. 

One of the topics that emerged as a result of the rise of ChatGPT is the threat of artificial intelligence. The introduction of this disruptive platform encouraged further research and development activities in the industry and encouraged stakeholders to design new AI solutions, such as Bing Chat and Google Bard. But the process was not without concern. For example, the public was stunned when ChatGPT-4 circumvented solving a CAPTCHA code by going to TaskRabbit and asking a worker to help on the false pretense that such a task was necessary to help a blind person. As a result, a number of entrepreneurs, journalists, and scientists expressed their concerns about the future of AI. A letter signed by Elon Musk and thousands of experts advocated for the pause in AI research, claiming that “AI labs and independent experts should use this pause to jointly develop and implement a set of shared safety protocols for advanced AI design and development that are rigorously audited and overseen by independent outside experts.” The risks associated with AI remain a topical research area and a popular theme raised in scholarly and non-scholarly sources. 

A number of the concerns pertaining to the risks of AI could be categorized as speculations over dystopian scenarios of AI uprisings. Such concerns are to a large extent inspired by popular films and TV shows, such as Black Mirror, Westworld, Terminator, and the Matrix quartet. Simultaneously, some other concerns focus on empirical evidence related to the possible scenarios underpinning the potential disruption caused by AI technology. The technology can result in job loss, trigger skill shifts, contribute to income inequality, cause additional privacy concerns, translate into overdependence on AI, and cause various ethical dilemmas. Such issues have been widely discussed in academic research in order to find optimal solutions for creating and implementing a consistent strategy to guide the introduction of new AI platforms, the improvement of their features, and the integration of novel AI solutions into different sectors in a way that prioritizes human well-being, fairness, and sustainable growth. Developing effective regulations to ensure that current and future generations benefit from AI and leverage it to achieve high economic growth, prosperity, and high quality of living is a timely research topic and a critical task for both scientists, politicians, and practitioners.  

1.2. Problem Statement 

The current study is dedicated to a critical investigation of ways to regulate artificial intelligence to ensure social stability and prevent economic disruption for Generation Z. Individuals belonging to Generation Z were born between the late 1990s and early 2010s. They are the first generation that was born with access to the Internet; thus, these people are sometimes called “digital natives”. This generation is characterized by a set of distinctive characteristics, such as a relatively slow pace of life, dependence on social media, and unpredictable purchasing behavior patterns as compared to Millennials. The reliance on digital tools is arguably the most important feature of Generation Z. This demographic quickly embraces new technologies and utilizes it to improve their lives. For these reasons, Generation Z is currently the most active adopters of AI tools, including ChatGPT. It seems justified to assume that this technology will be a major part of their lives, strongly influencing the labor market, economic growth, and a number of other economic and social issues. Therefore, it is in this generation’s best interests to develop a comprehensive and consistent set of policies to regulate the use of AI. 

As demonstrated, the risks of AI are not a new area of scholarly inquiry. Yet, to the best of the author’s knowledge, the overwhelming majority of voices proposing solutions to mitigate these risks emerge from non-scholarly articles, white papers, or blog posts that represent subjective opinions of different individuals who might not possess the knowledge and competence that are needed to discuss such a controversial topic. 

Indeed, the number of scholarly sources focusing on addressing the broad risks of AI is surprisingly limited. Helberger and Diakopoulos recently wrote an article arguing that ChatGPT differs from previous large language models because of its scale of use and dynamic context, then recommended the European Commission change the AI Act to consider these issues. Hacker et al.  argue that such disruptive platforms as ChatGPT must be regulated on four levels, including direct regulation, content moderation, data protection, and policy proposals. While some attempts were made to develop practical recommendations for regulating AI, these attempts have been fragmentary and inconsistent. Many of them offered excessively broad guidelines, while others, in contrast, focused on narrow segments of particular industries. As a result, there is currently no common vision among scientists and practitioners on what AI regulations have to be developed to prevent economic disruption and ensure social stability for Generation Z. 

1.2. Research Goal and Objectives 

The author of this study seeks to offer a set of practical recommendations to regulate AI so that Generation Z can see benefits ranging from social stability to economic prosperity. This white paper thus asks: how can artificial intelligence be regulated to prevent economic disruption and ensure social stability for Generation Z? 

The study will complete the following research objectives:

  1. To provide a detailed overview of the economic and social risks associated with AI;
  2. To analyze the disruptive impact of AI on the manufacturing, healthcare, education, finance services, transportation, publishing, television/film industries, and the creator economy;
  3. To review the current corporate recommendations for guiding AI regulation and development frameworks ensuring that new AI solutions are implemented in an ethical manner;
  4. To offer potential solutions and regulatory proposals for the creator economy and the aforementioned sectors, to control the disruptive effects of AI while still allowing for innovation and growth. 

1.3. Structure of the White Paper 

This white paper comprises seven chapters. After this introduction, the following chapter focuses on the social and economic risks related to AI technology. It mainly discusses the economic risks associated with AI and the threat of job loss that further progress in the AI sector can cause. The main goal of the second chapter is to present a landscape of negative economic and social implications of AI if humanity adopts a laissez-faire approach to regulating this technology. 

The third chapter offers a comprehensive industry analysis of AI. It demonstrates the current impact of AI on the creator economy and the television/film, publishing, manufacturing, healthcare, education, finance services, and transportation industries and provides valuable insights into the potential ramifications of insufficient regulation. 

Detailed information about the relevant corporate recommendations and strategies provided by leading tech companies can be found in the fourth chapter of the white paper. The knowledge of such recommendations is important to understand how tech companies developing AI solutions approach the issue of ethical guidelines and regulatory frameworks related to artificial intelligence and machine learning. 

The fifth chapter introduces the historical context of the problem under investigation. It seeks to draw parallels between the current AI regulation needs and historical instances of regulatory interventions in non-tech industries. The rationale behind such an analysis is based on the author’s attempt to determine what regulatory actions can be potentially effective in ensuring that Generation Z uses AI to its benefit. 

The sixth chapter of the white paper offers detailed regulatory proposals for the chosen industries that provide tangible measures to control the disruptive effects of AI, while still allowing for innovation and growth. The proposals balance the interests of employees, industry, countries, and other relevant stakeholders. 

Finally, the last section puts forward a set of recommendations for further research, summarizes the main regulatory proposals of the study, and reflects on the main limitations of this white paper.  

Chapter 2. Overview of AI Landscape and Risks Associated with a Laissez-Faire Approach to AI Regulation  

2.1. The Current State of AI

The term “artificial intelligence” was introduced in 1956 by a team of scientists led by John McCarthy, who conducted a study “on the basis of the conjecture that every aspect of learning or any other feature of intelligence can in principle be so precisely described that a machine can be made to simulate it”. Six years earlier, computing genius Alan Turing examined the mathematical possibility of artificial intelligence. Turning made the powerful assumption that all activities performed by humans while using available information to solve practical problems and make decisions could be duplicated by machines, provided that they have access to full information. The ideas of both these individuals were rooted in theoretical constructions and utopian philosophies about the ability of humanity to create computers with infinite memory and advanced processing capabilities, These thinkers did not describe any practical constructs for building such an intelligence. At the same time, these researchers pointed to the existence of an intriguing research area that was later pursued by the scientists whose empirical models and mathematical justifications allowed for formulating the first theories of AI. 

During the period between 1957 and 1974, AI had been becoming an increasingly popular research field. Some early solutions, such as General Problem Solver and ELIZA, provided insights into the problem-solving capabilities of computers. Governments and private stakeholders started investing in AI research, which resulted in the appearance of multiple research papers on this topic. Most of these studies, however, revealed that despite the promising features of computers, they could not exhibit human intelligence in their current form owing to the lack of storage capacity and low processing speed. 

The introduction of expert systems and deep learning techniques in the 1980s provided scientists with the possibility to continue examining AI-related research problems and develop AI-powered programs, even though AI research did not have significant funding at the time. The introduction of speech recognition software, a chess-playing computer program that managed to defeat the world’s chess champion, and a robot that could recognize emotions showed that AI research and development had achieved significant progress. AI and machine learning turned into popular tools that were utilized in multiple industries to achieve diverse goals. 

In the 21st century, AI attracts an unprecedented amount of attention from numerous stakeholders. AI investments constantly hit record numbers. The data from NetBase Quid via AI Index report indicates that AI companies received unprecedented funding in 2020, 2021, and 2022. In 2020 they attracted $153.63 investment, which mostly came from private investment ($64.50 billion), minority investment ($48.22 billion), and merger and acquisition transactions ($27.28 billion). In 2021, these numbers were even higher. AI became an attractive target for private investors, who recognized the unique potential of this technology. At the same time, the growing number of mergers and acquisitions involving AI companies illustrates the value that corporate investors attach to AI. While the amount of AI investment declined in 2022, the growing focus on ChatGPT and other AI technologies in 2023 guarantees an increase in investment this year.. 

One of the most important arguments illustrating the growing importance of AI is that the number of organizations using different AI solutions has been rapidly growing. Only 20% of companies utilized AI in 2017; however, according to the report by McKinsey, this number increased to 56% in 2021. A recent article on Forbes shows a similar figure. Apparently, the most popular areas for AI use include customer service (56%), cybersecurity (51%), digital personal assistance (47%), customer relationship management (46%), inventory management (40%), and content production (35%). Many companies use different AI solutions simultaneously to solve various problems. The number of AI capabilities embedded in organizations increased from 1.9 in 2018 to 3.9 in 2021. A recent survey of 250 executives reveals that AI has the capability to improve the functions and performance of products (51%), optimize internal business operations (36%), free up employees by automating tasks (36%), improve decision-making (30%), and optimize external processes (30%). 

Academic research shows that AI is highly effective in solving multiple tasks in different sectors. Research by Johnson et al. reveals that public and private organizations often use AI solutions to fuel research and development activities, but most of them focus on exploration rather than exploitation. Interestingly, the scientists point out that the majority of these solutions seek to augment human activities instead of replacing them. A recent Chinese study dedicated to the application of AI in the healthcare industry indicates that AI tools are already widely used to assist with detection, diagnosis, and treatment in neurology, cancer, and cardiology. The authors show that the full potential of AI in this sector is yet to be realized. Waltersmann et al. share information about the impressive benefits delivered by AI to manufacturing companies in such fields as production planning, quality assurance, predictive quality, predictive maintenance, and energy efficiency. At times it feels as though all industries could benefit from the unique capabilities of AI, which explains their use by the increasing number of organizations. 

AI usage patterns and investments in AI research and development activities are not the only indicators of the technology’s momentum. The annual number of scholarly publications on AI-related topics has increased from 162,444 in 2010 to 334,497 in 2021. Only 8,466 individuals attended thirteen major AI conferences in 2010, but this number reached 76,453 attendees in 2021. The data from the Center for Security and Emerging Technology show that the annual number of global patent filings for AI technologies has grown from 2,560 to 141,241 during the same period. New research papers and patents dedicated to AI deepen the knowledge of the technology and provide stakeholders with an opportunity to better understand the disruptive impact of artificial intelligence. 

Whereas many scientists recently expressed their interest in AI, it is important to emphasize that the current progress in this field is mainly driven by industry. 195 out of 281 AI Ph.D. graduates in North America were represented by industry, and only 84 were represented by academia. Whereas many scholars only started examining the implications of AI, organizations from various industries have already launched highly effective solutions to increase efficiency, improve decision-making, enhance customer service, and simplify the completion of routine tasks. Industry leaders are the most important stakeholders in this field since they develop and deploy AI solutions, requiring scientists to refrain from conducting exploratory studies and focus on analyzing specific cases of the implementation of AI solutions. The prevalence of practitioners among the stakeholders driving the progress in AI development is a crucial aspect of the problem under investigation. It implies that scientists and policymakers currently are unable to provide the necessary support and guidance for the dynamic AI sector alone. 

While it is important to note that the AI regulatory frameworks have been developing in a slow manner, the number of relevant laws addressing different AI-related issues has significantly grown recently. The number of AI-related bills passed into law in 127 selected countries increased from only one in 2016 to 37 in 2022. The dangers of AI and the integration of this technology into different sectors encourage policymakers to develop new laws to regulate the use of AI and protect society from its risks. Most of these laws, however, currently exist as rough drafts.

The process of developing comprehensive AI laws is ongoing, although some countries have already introduced laws that offer interesting insights into ways in which AI could be regulated. Members of the European Union utilize the risk-based approach described in the Artificial Intelligence Act. Such an approach distinguishes between unacceptable, high-risk, and not explicitly banned AI applications and allows for the use of AI in all sectors besides critical services that might threaten livelihoods or encourage destructive behaviors. The text of the document is not finalized. Nevertheless, the main contributions of this legislation are its detailed definitions of AI-related matters and the development of a comprehensive risk evaluation and management approach. Furthermore, it also prohibits the utilization of automation decision-making tools in such processes. The regulation calls for the use of a universal approach to evaluate the risks related to each AI application to make sure that its implementation does not hurt public interests. 

Canada also has a risk-based approach in its proposed regulatory framework, though this is not yet law. Once passed, the law will require developers to design specific mitigation plans to reduce risks associated with their products. The proposed law is similar to the draft of the EU Artificial Intelligence Act. However, unlike the document proposed by the European Parliament, the draft law introduced by the Canadian Parliament shifts the responsibility for risk management to developers. 

Similar to Canada, the United States currently does not have federal legislation on AI. The National Institute of Standards and Technology designed a set of broad AI guidelines. The Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Framework (AI RMF) calls for the use of a four-stage approach to assess and manage risks related to AI that involves testing, evaluating, verifying, and validating each application. It also calls for dividing AI risks into a series of groups so that each group could be separately governed, mapped, measured, and managed. AI RMF is currently available only as an early draft and, thus, is not a final framework. This document is also not legally binding. 

The same conclusion can be made in relation to the AI Bill of Rights, which summarizes the main risks associated with AI and encourages stakeholders to protect data privacy, prevent algorithmic discrimination, prioritize safety, and maximize the effectiveness of AI tools. None of these two documents offers any specific policies to prevent AI risks. Regulations introduced by some states, however, managed to address this gap. In particular, the Automated Employment Decision Tool Law adopted in New York requires all employers who use automated employment decision tools to conduct annual audits of their technologies to make sure that the tools do not have any biases in their algorithms. 

China recently adopted a series of laws at the federal and provincial levels that address AI-related issues. The federal law introduced requires all entities that utilize AI for marketing purposes to inform their consumers of this fact and prohibits the use of data collected with the help of AI to advertise the same products at different prices. Shanghai Regulations on Promoting the Development of the AI Industry offer an avenue for local companies to develop AI products in line with AI regulations from other countries. Considering China’s interest in AI, it seems justified to assume that the number of AI laws adopted in China will continue to increase in the near future.

Table 1. Summary Assessment of International Policies Regarding AI

Country

Position

European Union

  • Developing the Artificial Intelligence Act, a yet-to-be-adopted doctrine which distinguishes between unacceptable, high-risk, and not explicitly banned AI applications
  • Allows for the use of AI in all sectors besides critical services that might threaten livelihoods or encourage destructive behaviors

Canada

  • Developing a law similar to the EU Act, which will require developers to design specific mitigation plans to reduce risks associated with their products
  • Shifts the responsibility for risk management to developers

US

  • Developing the Artificial Intelligence Risk Management Framework (AI RMF), a yet-to-be-adopted framework that calls for testing, evaluating, verifying, and validating each AI application for risk
  • Dividing AI risks into a series of groups so that each group could be separately governed, mapped, measured, and managed
  • AI Bill of Rights, a declaration summarizing risks associated with AI and encouraging stakeholders to protect data privacy, prevent algorithmic discrimination, prioritize safety, and maximize the effectiveness of AI tools
  • Does not offer any policies for actually enforcing regulation or management; entirely advisory

China

  • Introduced federal law that requires all entities that utilize AI for marketing purposes to inform their consumers and prohibits uses of AI data
  • Shanghai Regulations on Promoting the Development of the AI Industry supports entrepreneurs to keep China’s tech scene competitive in AI

While many countries managed to introduce drafts of AI legislation, most of them have not adopted final laws yet. Moreover, even their drafts mostly introduce broad strategies and a set of guiding principles rather than specific solutions. Some state and local regulatory bodies adopted legislative acts that protect society from the most critical risks of AI. At the same time, these documents focus on narrow aspects of AI use, such as the utilization of artificial intelligence in the recruitment process. The majority of AI laws, therefore, are either broad documents defining AI and offering some basic principles of AI risk management, or specific laws addressing some narrow domains of AI use. Neither the international community nor its individual constituent countries have a consistent vision of an AI regulatory framework. Many of them introduced rough drafts of laws proposing a risk-based approach. However, the specific details of this approach are not entirely understood as of yet. 

2.2. AI and the Risk of Job Loss 

AI has the potential to cause disruption in the labor market. The technology is capable of jeopardizing employment opportunities and causing skill shifts resulting in the emergence of fundamentally new employment patterns. One of the obvious aspects of this impact is the automation of tasks. AI threatens job security through automation since AI-powered machines and algorithms effectively and efficiently perform routine and repetitive tasks, reducing the demand for human labor in a number of industries, such as manufacturing, customer service, and many others. Those jobs that used to be performed by humans in the past might be performed by AI solutions. 

From this perspective, the advancement of AI might be compared to the industrial revolution, which also saw a shift in labor patterns due to the introduction of efficient machine technologies. Levy’s study predicts that a modest number of jobs will be lost to autonomous long-distance trucks, industrial robotics, and automated customer service responses in the next seven years. He further argues that AI will create visible threats to job security in a number of sectors, providing politicians with an opportunity to drive the populist agenda against AI-powered automation solutions. Tschang and Almirall assert that AI-driven automation has been replacing routine and low-skilled jobs, and predict that it also will start to replace nonroutine and low-skilled jobs in the near future. Wajcman believes that the scale of the “automation wave” brought about by AI is unprecedented and, thus, is likely to result in the loss of a massive number of jobs. In general, there is a consensus among scientists that automation associated with AI is an important technological advancement whose impact on the job market goes beyond the completion of a limited number of routine tasks. Potentially, technology can replace the majority of low-skilled jobs, including even those that require certain creativity. 

One of the critical factors underpinning the risks that AI poses to job security is its ability to store and analyze data. In addition to completing routine tasks, something that was a popular application of AI tools in the past, modern AI solutions display impressive performance in performing cognitive tasks that used to be the sole responsibility of highly skilled specialists. For instance, AI is highly effective in distinguishing between different risk groups of customers of financial institutions. Compared to customer service specialists, AI tools deliver reliable and accurate results in a swift and efficient manner. Recent evidence from the healthcare industry demonstrates that research on neural networks and biomarker development led to the emergence of novel AI programs that have wide applications for diagnosis in oncology. The use of AI to assist with drafting legal documents, processing data, building arguments based on case law, and even making final decisions in court reveals the potential of this technology to revolutionize the legal industry and accelerate legal proceedings. The utilization of AI in knowledge-intensive jobs is not without its flaws. Disruptive AI tools, such as ChatGPT, are characterized by the pattern of “AI hallucination”, which refers to situations when AI presents data that never existed. Because of this reason, most AI tools in their current form are not ready for being implemented in knowledge-intensive industries without human supervision. Nevertheless, it seems justified to assume that further progress in the field will amplify job security risks for knowledge-intensive workers. 

Another issue pertaining to the impact of AI on employment is connected to efficiency. While the risk of automation refers to a scenario in which an AI tool performs routine tasks that used to be performed by employees, the risk of efficiency-related job loss refers to a situation in which the superior efficiency delivered by AI makes many jobs redundant. Compared to the workforce, AI has higher efficiency and productivity. As a result, it can perform more tasks.  In the transportation sector, for example, revolutionary AI solutions can replace a plethora of jobs, including those of drivers, warehouse workers, quality assurance specialists, and others. In the area of customer service, AI chatbots can replace almost all employees, such as frontline customer service employees and individuals specializing in specific areas. The field of content creation witnesses the unprecedented threat from AI because the technology can make the job of SEO copywriters, SMM managers, and editors redundant. Given the large storage capacity of AI and its ability to use the volumes of information that are insurmountable for humans without suffering from common cognitive limitations, AI is capable of not only replacing some jobs but also making entire lines of work outdated. 

The impact of AI on employment is a controversial research area. Many scientists believe that AI poses a threat to job security and warn humanity against blindly embracing this technology. Makridakis argues that any industry witnessing the rise of AI will suffer from a temporary increase in unemployment rates. As a disruptive technological advancement, AI changes common employment patterns and leaves many people unable to adapt to a new reality. Wang and Siau express concerns that 30% to 60% of all jobs can be replaced by AI in the next decade based on the reports of multiple credible organizations. A study by Korinek and Stiglitzwho applied several different theories to explore the phenomena of artificial intelligence and robotics from the perspective of their economic and social effects, came to the conclusion that AI would inevitably increase unemployment rates unless humanity launched interventions to prevent the negative effects of worker-replacing technological change. 

The impact of AI on job security is a controversial issue that might be hard to address on a global scale. The pace of AI integration differs greatly across various professional fields, countries, and industries. Thus, whereas its effects on employment can be complementary in one case, it is possible that some other case, in contrast, exhibits heightened job security concerns associated with the technology. Nevertheless, there is already some evidence pointing to the potential of AI to replace around a third of jobs. Approximately 37% of people working in the United Kingdom claim that their jobs are meaningless and mostly comprise a set of routine tasks. The majority of these tasks can be completed by AI-driven machines. Foxconn recently replaced 60,000 factory workers with robots and plans to conduct even more significant job cut initiatives in the future in line with the strategy of harnessing automation in manufacturing operations”. For this company, adopting AI and robotics to cover most factory operations has already become a cheaper option than hiring a substantial number of low-skilled employees working on minimum wage. Specialists from McKinsey share alarming figures showing that 45% of all paid activities can be performed by AI, while 60% of all occupations can see approximately 30% of their constituent activities automated. While different scientists and analysts do not agree on the exact scope of the job loss threat associated with AI, the fact that AI already started replacing many jobs in various industries is a truism. 

Some scientists, however, believe that AI research and development does not always result in unemployment. The research by Mutascu, which presents an analysis of the historical data on the relationship between AI and unemployment during the period between 1998 and 2016, shows that the impact of AI on jobs is nonlinear and concludes with a surprising remark that the accelerated use of AI actually reduces unemployment rates. It should be noted, however, that this study was carried out before the recent introduction of disruptive platforms like ChatGPT. Fleming advises society not to be excessively concerned about the job losses driven by AI. He puts forward an assumption that the integration of AI into most professions will be guided by the concept of “bounded automation”. Therefore, only low-skilled jobs can be threatened by technology in the near future. Naude points out that while it might seem that novel AI solutions can easily replace many jobs, their deployment is expensive and difficult, which explains why many companies have not yet adopted any AI tools in their operations. Unlike many journalists and other authors of non-scholarly sources on the impact of AI on unemployment, Naudethe scientist adopts a more cautious approach to forecasting the future of AI and encourages stakeholders to carefully measure the advantages and disadvantages of the technology in terms of disrupting the labor market. 

2.3. Economic Risks of AI  

Even if workers do not lose their jobs because of AI, there is a possibility that the rise of AI technology will reduce their well-being because of negatively affecting the wealth gap and contributing to inequality. The study by Korinek and Stiglitzstates that “in the absence of such intervention [against adverse effects of innovation], worker-replacing technological change may not only lead to workers getting a diminishing fraction of national income, but may actually make them worse off in absolute terms”. The potential of AI to replace human jobs with AI results in a situation when people owning AI technologies and leading the process of AI integration accumulate unprecedented wealth, whereas workers face the threat of job loss and might agree to a lower salary in exchange for keeping the job.

The redistribution of income is a critical problem associated with AI. One of the approaches to address this problem is to launch a set of policies to maximize the likelihood that AI integration leads to Pareto improvements. The scientists believe that changes in factor prices brought about by AI would translate into gains on the complementary factors, thus allowing for the achievement of uplifting the poor without lessening the quality of life for others. According to the agreed position of 41 economists from top universities in the USA, the “rising use of robots and artificial intelligence in advanced countries is likely to create benefits large enough that they could be used to compensate those workers who are substantially negatively affected for their lost wages.” AI threatens job security, but it also can offer an avenue for shared prosperity if utilized properly. The available evidence provides a premise to assert that the ways in which the income produced by AI is distributed in society are the key issue in shaping the future of AI and addressing social and economic risks associated with this technology. Depending on the specific policies adopted to redistribute AI-driven profits, humanity can either benefit from artificial intelligence or, in contrast, enter a new era of an unprecedentedly large inequality gap.

 The influence of AI on inequality is a critical issue underpinning the economic risks associated with the technology. There are several factors that play a major role in driving this impact. The unchecked progress of AI can lead to labor market polarization. AI-driven automation can simultaneously create the demand for high-skilled and high-paid jobs related to different segments of AI use and eliminate numerous low-skilled jobs as a result of automation. The data from McKinsey show that many organizations already started hiring employees for AI-related roles, including software engineers (39%), data engineers (35%), AI data scientists (33%), machine learning engineers (30%), data architects (28%), AI product managers (22%), design specialists (22%), data visualization specialists (21%), and translators (8%). Most of these professions require significant skills and knowledge. Furthermore, as stated above, the education sector is not ready yet for meeting the demand for such specialists since progress in the AI field is driven by industry rather than academia. Therefore, the majority of specialists hired for AI job positions are experienced workers rather than holders of advanced degrees. Such a scenario illustrates that labor market polarization can result in the widening of an inequality gap that is inherently linked to the skills gap. 

The magnitude of the skills gap can be especially significant if one considers the global rather than national level. Ironically, while many scientists warn society about the dangers of AI as a technology that can be present in all parts of human life, approximately 2.9 billion people still have never used the Internet. Even those technologies that exist at the moment create a significant digital divide contributing to inequality gaps. Further development of AI is likely to widen the global gap even more. Many communities or even countries might find themselves in a situation where they are deprived of an opportunity to benefit from AI. In South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi, the Central African Republic, and Ethiopia, around 92.8%, 90%, 89.7%, and 89.7%, and 83.3% of the population do not have access to the Internet. People living in these states are highly unlikely to take advantage of AI since they do not have the means to access the technology. Considering that the international community still has not found a way to achieve a significant increase in Internet penetration rates in the Global South, finding a way to expand the benefits of AI to the global population currently seems to be a critical challenge. 

Data bias is another pertinent nuance of the income inequality threat. AI algorithms use a system of rules developed by their creators; thus, the algorithms might use the biases of their developers. Some scholars are concerned that AI algorithms might amplify biases in decision-making, which can potentially result in discriminatory outcomes and magnify the adverse effects on marginalized communities, widening the existing gaps and contributing to new inequalities. A number of stakeholders point to the significance of this risk as one of the main factors determining whether AI produces adverse economic outcomes. Furthermore, as described above, the state of New York adopted a specific local law requiring companies that use AI algorithms to conduct annual audits of these tools with the purpose of preventing discriminatory practices. The full spectrum of this problem is not entirely understood because many biases might be implicit, thus making it hard to detect them. Further research is needed to develop effective systems for identifying all pertinent bias threats in AI algorithms. 

Another vital aspect of the potential impact of AI on inequalities pertains to privacy concerns. There is a popular belief that AI can establish a culture of surveillance in which both government organizations and businesses would regularly collect detailed data on individuals for various purposes. Some communities can be disproportionately targeted by such surveillance practices, which would further deteriorate their well-being and widen inequalities existing in society. Those power imbalances that already exist can be increased even more if communities that were traditionally believed to be “risky” are specifically targeted by government and private companies that have access to novel AI solutions. 

Possible economic losses associated with unemployment, wealth concentration patterns, and inequalities are not the only economic risks brought about by AI. The available evidence demonstrates that AI operationalization can lead to market monopolization. Companies possessing the resources to develop their AI capabilities can use advanced algorithms and personalized features that create network effects and favor dominant players of the market. As a result, those companies that already have significant market shares can increase them even more, while also reducing the bargaining power of customers and introducing substantial barriers to entry. In this situation, other market players might struggle with checking the monopolistic position of such large corporations as Google or Microsoft. Finding ways to prevent market monopolization is an important priority for stakeholders that is likely to play a major role in shaping the economic impact of AI. 

The uncontrolled rise of AI can cause economic disruptions in traditional sectors. Entire industries might become redundant owing to the introduction of revolutionary AI solutions. As a result, stakeholders may expect economic turbulence as both workers and employers will be forced to adapt to new market conditions. Large sectors employing thousands or even millions of people can disappear, resulting in numerous, substantial economic risks resulting from the change in the purchasing power, inflation rates, and investment. Entry-level programming and data analysis, proofreading, translation, graphic design, accounting, postal service, data entry, bank tellers, and administrative support are the examples of jobs that can disappear in the near future owing to AI. It might be too early to speculate on the economic implications of such processes, but it seems likely that they are likely to pose significant economic risks. 

Chapter 3. Industry Analysis 

3.1. The Integration of AI into the Manufacturing Industry

The manufacturing industry is one of the sectors that has witnessed the rapid rise of AI. In 2022, companies operating in North America ordered approximately 44,000 robots with an estimated price of $2.4 billion, which represented an 11% increase compared to the orderings that were made in 2021. Apparently, the rising gap between the paces of revenue growth and wage growth - as well as the pandemic, which forced companies to implement multiple strategies to comply with quarantine measures, support the expansion of remote work options, deploy sanitation stations, and maintain social distancing - provided owners of factories with both the means and the motivation to facilitate the adoption of AI tools. AI solutions might be expensive and hard to deploy, but they can continue functioning even during times of uncertainty, while also not requiring any healthcare coverage, bonuses, and additional expenses. Therefore, it is not surprising that many large enterprises accelerated their shift to AI-powered robotics in the last several years.

An analysis of recent information available online shows that multiple companies introduced revolutionary technologies using AI algorithms and data elements that are tailored to the manufacturing sector. Hyundai Motor developed Stretch Robot, which grabs packages from a shipping container, Emerson Electric launched new projects in the industrial automation industry with a focus on the semiconductor market, and GE launched the autonomous robotics system. NVIDIA recently deployed IGX Orin, which is an AI platform with industrial inspection capabilities, Siemens adopted Microsoft’s OpenAI Service, and Rockwell Automation designed a Smart Manufacturing solution to predict manufacturing process problems using AI. The number of AI applications related to manufacturing continues to increase.

Cobots, additive manufacturing, generative design, predictive maintenance, and smart factory solutions are among the most well-known cases illustrating the utilization of AI in the manufacturing industry. Cobots are a new type of AI-powered robots that do not require a dedicated space and can function alongside humans. They can perform a plethora of functions, including simple operations like polishing or screwing and complex quality assurance inspections enabled by specific cameras. At the moment, automotive manufacturers, such as Ford and BMW, are widely using robots to perform different tasks and report high efficiencies brought about by this technology. Therefore, streamlining manufacturing processes with cobots is one of the user cases of AI applications in the manufacturing industry. 

Generative design is a popular smart manufacturing solution. It uses input data on the weight and size of products to manufacture those products that meet the necessary requirements. Generative design incorporates not only the data on products and materials but also the data on costs. In other words, one can set limits on the amounts of money that can be used to produce specific items, thus maintaining certain efficiency levels. Generative design produces blueprints and instructions that can be then used in the manufacturing process. It works effectively with additive manufacturing since it can conceptualize the products created using 3D printing tools. Many companies have already started to use generative design solutions to produce cheap and light components and enhance the quality of their products. Such a process is instrumental in product design and development, but it can lead to the loss of numerous jobs in the manufacturing industry. 

Predictive maintenance is another field in which manufacturers widely apply AI. It helps anticipate servicing needs and prevent the loss of financial and time resources. Both early and late machine maintenance results in financial losses; moreover, the latter can lead to significant safety hazards. Effective predictive maintenance systems forecast companies’ needs in specific replacement parts, which assists in planning. The system framework introduced by Li et al. comprises maintenance implementation, data acquisition, sensor selection, data processing, data mining, and decision support modules, which are all powered by AI. Aivalioties et al. present a methodology that leverages AI to design a digital twin of a factory and apply simulations to calculate the remaining useful life of machinery equipment. The implementation of AI in predictive maintenance is closely connected to the Internet of Things since the retrieval of manufacturing data occurs with the help of different sensors reporting vibrations, thermal images, the presence of liquids, and efficiency. The deployment of AI allows for predicting possible problems with equipment in advance. 

Smart factory solutions are another well-known example of the use of AI in the manufacturing industry. The concept of a smart factory implies operating a facility independently from humans. FANUC has been operating a product line without humans since 2001, as its facility can work without supervision for up to a month. Philips, at the same time, has a razor-producing factory where only nine human employees are required to be present at any time. In other words, the entire factory operates with only nine supervisors as opposed to manufacturing facilities employing hundreds of people. Smart factories deliver such benefits as increased efficiency, enlarged productivity, cost savings, quality improvement, flexibility, enhanced safety, and supply chain optimization. Thus, one may expect that the increasing number of organizations will deploy smart factory solutions in the near future. 

The rise of AI in the manufacturing industry can pose a set of risks. Unemployment rates are among the most obvious issues in this field. The manufacturing industry employs a significant number of people. Therefore, AI-driven disruption can result in the loss of millions of jobs in different regions of the globe. It is crucial to emphasize that many of these jobs are low-skilled and low-paid, which makes them an optimal target for AI job replacement projects. Seseni and Mbohwa examined the case of Soweto furniture manufacturing small and medium enterprises. They found that computerization automation can simultaneously cause large-scale job losses and lead to the essential improvement in the quality of products and services. The loss of jobs can lead to multiple adverse outcomes discussed in the previous chapter of this white paper.

Many countries heavily rely on manufacturing as a way to improve the quality of living of their low-income residents. For example, Bangladesh essentially leveraged the fast fashion manufacturing sector into reducing poverty rates and becoming a middle-income country. Manufacturing also is a viable strategy to increase the quality of living in marginalized communities. The loss of manufacturing jobs to AI, therefore, is a critical challenge that can result in substantial economic and social losses, especially in least-developed countries. Large enterprises might close their factories in the Global South, or at least reduce the scale of manufacturing operations. Such a process could reduce GDP growth rates in these states and affect global foreign direct investment flows. 

Changes in entry barriers are another vital socioeconomic risk related to the integration of AI into the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing already is one of the most prominent sectors in which companies that lack large resources struggle to compete or succeed. The rise of AI can increase entry barriers even more since companies will need to invest additional money into deploying AI infrastructure, purchasing and installing software, and conducting employee training. SMEs are likely to find themselves in a position where their resources are insufficient for effectively utilizing AI in their factories. As a result, they might produce limited gains from AI, while large enterprises will invest in the large-scale implementation of novel AI solutions that allow them to take advantage of the economies of scale and scope. 

3.2. The Integration of AI into the Healthcare Sector

The healthcare industry has also witnessed an unprecedented number of disruptive AI applications. The market of AI healthcare is expected to increase from $14.6 billion in 2023 to $102.7 billion in 2028, exhibiting a compound annual growth rate of around 47.6%. Specialists expect that this growth will be mainly driven by the growing demand for cost reduction initiatives and the availability of big data. Large healthcare datasets comprising patient data require the utilization of analytical solutions. While many healthcare organizations already utilize electronic healthcare record systems, the demand for AI solutions operating with big data is likely to increase even more along with the growing investment and frequent government interventions. 

Many new AI solutions tailored to different segments of the healthcare industry appear on a monthly basis. Around 42% and 40% of healthcare providers from the recent Healthcare AI Survey use healthcare-specific models and algorithms, and production-ready codebases, respectively. The technologies are used in medical imaging, diagnostics, drug discovery and development, personalized medicine, customer communication, data analytics, and predictive analytics. The number of specific AI healthcare solutions might be hard to calculate. Haleem et al. published a  study focusing on AI applications in orthopedics and mentioning diagnosing, surgical training, treatment, surgical, administrative, and problem-solving tools that could be further divided into 15 subgroups based on their functions. Each group, in turn, comprises numerous specific solutions, including those that were specifically designed for particular facilities. This paper shows that each clinical field already embraced numerous AI solutions. Administrative processes already are widely affected by AI. For example, the research by Stanfill and Marc cites automated medical coding, healthcare data management and governance, health information management workforce training, and Patient privacy and confidentiality as four areas in which AI improves health information management. Almost all aspects of healthcare facilities’ operations can benefit from AI integration. 

The use of AI in the healthcare industry delivers multiple benefits. It enhances diagnostics and treatment, increases efficiency, reduces costs, assists with personalizing care, improves resource allocation, and expands telemedicine applications. A survey that was carried out in 2022 reveals that a significant number of healthcare specialists in the United States report that artificial intelligence and machine learning tools improve clinical outcomes (59%), operational performance (58%), the efficiency of the health system (53%), administrative performance (46%), financial outcomes (47%), and consumer engagement (46%). These numbers illustrate that many healthcare organizations might use AI solutions for different purposes because of the impressive benefits brought about by these tools. 

AI integration in the healthcare industry can unify multiple systems and processes. AI can be used as a component of a new system incorporating biochemical assays, electronic health record systems, and data retrieved from wearable devices. If used consistently as part of such a system, AI can enable targeted diagnostics and personalized care. It can tailor recommendations and prescriptions to the unique needs of patients and change them based on the results of vital signs measurements in real-time. 

Healthcare specialists are enthusiastic about the future of AI healthcare. They are willing to embrace AI technologies provided that these tools exhibit extreme accuracy, protect data privacy, and offer wide training opportunities. Physicians and nurses recognize the benefits that AI can deliver. Patients also do not have concerns about the technology. The study by Fritsch et al., which was carried out among 452 German patients, showed that only 4.77% of them had negative or very negative approaches toward the use of AI in the healthcare sector. The patients from this study agreed that the technology had to be controlled by a physician but denied having significant concerns about AI. It is important to note, however, that this study was conducted in Germany. A research paper from a Global South country might have delivered different results. In general, it seems justified to state that both healthcare professionals and patients currently are enthusiastic about AI integration in the healthcare industry. 

Unlike manufacturing, the healthcare sector is unlikely to witness a significant volume of job losses because of AI. Davenport and Kalakota claim that even though AI can result in the loss of at least 5% of jobs in the near future, there is no evidence to claim that the healthcare sector can be significantly affected by this technological advancement. As stated above, the use of most AI solutions in this industry requires the supervision of healthcare professionals. Moreover, most healthcare jobs are high-skilled and cannot be easily replaced. Administrators, accountants, and other individuals who work in the healthcare industry on non-medical jobs are most likely to face job security risks because of the rise of artificial intelligence. For the majority of healthcare professionals, however, the risk of losing a job to AI is negligible. 

The healthcare industry is not a sector exhibiting high unemployment rates. In contrast, many healthcare organizations struggle with attracting employees, especially nurses. The use of AI can help these organizations at least partially cover their staffing needs. The use of AI solutions is expected to increase the productivity of the existing medical workers, as they will be able to perform more operations using AI. As a result, healthcare organizations might receive an opportunity to increase salaries for the existing employees, thus improving their motivation. The arguments laid out above illustrate that AI might contribute to solving the problem of the shortage of medical staff. 

The integration of AI into the healthcare sector can have a wide range of positive social and economic implications. In addition to assisting with solving the staffing problem, AI solutions can increase the operational efficiency of healthcare organizations by eliminating waste and reducing costs. Such a result can be obtained by reducing medical errors, optimizing resource allocation, and streamlining administrative processes. Another crucial benefit is increased access to healthcare. Telemedicine and wearables can provide residents of remote regions with access to high-quality healthcare services. Owing to the reduced number of errors, increased data processing speed, and a number of other advantages of AI, novel artificial intelligence and machine learning instruments can substantially improve healthcare outcomes. In turn, such an outcome is likely to translate into a plethora of positive results for communities and entire countries, such as enhanced quality of life, increased life expectancy, reduced healthcare costs, increased productivity, and increased economic growth rates. 

At the same time, the embrace of healthcare AI should not be described as a utopian scenario. AI integration in this industry is associated with a number of risks. In particular, owing to difficulties with accessing this technology, its use in the healthcare industry can widen inequalities. People who still do not have access to the Internet are highly unlikely to enjoy the benefits of AI. Therefore, ironically, the rise of AI healthcare applications can simultaneously close and widen gaps in accessing high-quality healthcare services. Residents of rural areas who normally struggle with accessing healthcare facilities would welcome the use of AI, while people from low-income neighborhoods who lack access to the Internet would be unable to take advantage of the technology. 

There are some other social and economic risks related to AI-driven healthcare. The wide application of AI tools could potentially result in the erosion of human expertise and the loss of valuable patient-provider relationships. For many patients, especially the elderly, relationships with particular healthcare specialists are a strong driver of the effectiveness of treatment. The introduction of AI algorithms that make all decisions regarding treatment can cause the loss of empathy and trust built between patients and healthcare providers. Such a scenario is dangerous since it can create substantial threats for humanity originating from the overreliance on technology. Medical errors, discrimination biases, and flawed algorithms embedded in AI can have catastrophic implications. Because of this reason, it is of paramount importance to establish effective regulations to ensure the accuracy and reliability of all AI healthcare solutions and make sure that their use is supervised by competent healthcare professionals at all times. 

3.3. The Integration of AI into the Industry of Financial Services

Unfortunately, there is currently no information about the total size of the AI market in the sector of financial services. Nevertheless, indirect evidence shows that large cost savings encourage different companies operating in this industry to experiment with AI solutions. According to an expert at Nvidia, around 36% of U.S. financial services companies have already deployed AI solutions and achieved at least a 10% reduction in operational costs. A report from Business Intelligence shows that 80% of banks are aware of the benefits of AI, while 75% of large banks are already implementing at least some AI strategies. The cumulative cost savings opportunities of AI in banking reportedly reach $199 billion, $217 billion, and $31 billion in conversational banking, anti-fraud and risk management, and credit underwriting, respectively. Such impressive cost savings trigger the unprecedented integration of AI solutions into the industry of financial services. 

Progress in AI-driven disruption of financial services depends on several factors, such as the explosion of big data, the availability of infrastructure, regulatory requirements, and competition. The explosion of big data is an important factor from the perspective of AI disruption. Clients interact with financial institutions using a substantial amount of information in the digital domain that includes transaction reports, emails, images, and many other types of data. It is necessary both for financial institutions and clients to retrieve and process the data as quickly as possible to improve customer experience. The use of AI can streamline data handling processes, simultaneously increasing the accuracy of operations and reducing costs. The use of big data powered by AI also can inform decision-making by providing financial institutions with detailed customer data. In general, patterns related to big data are among the key drivers of AI growth in the industry of financial services.

The availability of infrastructure is another major factor in this field. The use of AI requires significant computational resources and a number of complementary technologies, such as cloud platforms capable of storing large amounts of data. Many financial institutions currently are unable to achieve meaningful progress in deploying the infrastructure that can support novel AI solutions. Moreover, as stated above, such infrastructure is unavailable in many countries, especially the ones that have low Internet penetration rates. 

Regulatory requirements are a relevant factor shaping the integration of AI into the sector of financial services. Compared to other industries, this sector is heavily regulated. Financial institutions face a set of regulatory requirements addressing various aspects of their operations. On the one hand, AI can be beneficial from this perspective since AI solutions can assist with ensuring regulatory compliance by standardizing documents and making sure that an organization meets all the requirements. On the other hand, AI itself can become a regulated issue subject to a set of restrictions. The ways in which new laws and policies focusing on the industry of financial services will address AI will to a large extent predetermine the pace of its integration into the industry. 

Finally, the last relevant factor in this field is competition. Financial services face significant competition with direct rivals and companies offering substitute products and services. Technology is a well-known differentiator in this space since it can become the basis of a sustainable competitive advantage. The fact that AI reportedly increases operational efficiency, improves client experiences, and reduces costs encourages financial institutions to accelerate the exploration of AI solutions and facilitate their deployment. 

The specific AI applications in the sector of financial services are abundant. Chatbots powered by natural language processing have already become an inalienable part of bank-client communication. Whereas they usually cannot solve particular problems that require the attention of human specialists, these solutions can help clients find an answer to a standard question and solve a common problem. Chatbots are highly effective in assisting with new account creation, budget allocation, and a number of other operations. Most of them, however, often misunderstand the nuances of human dialogues (59%), misunderstand requests (59%), execute incorrect commands(30%), struggle with understanding accents (29%), fail to distinguish the owner’s voice (23%), and provide inaccurate information (14%), according to respondents from the study by Suhel et al. At the moment, AI chatbots are not ready to replace human specialists in financial institutions. Only 19% of the respondents from the research paper by Ris et al., which focused on the UK banking industry, admitted to preferring AI chatbots to human customer support service specialists. At the same time, before the recent emergence of ChatGPT-3, the idea of replacing humans with chatbots in customer support of financial institutions used to be unrealistic. Nowadays, it has already become evident that the majority of tasks completed by bank tellers and other employees interacting with clients can be performed by AI-powered tools. 

AI is widely used for fraud detection and prevention purposes. The deployment of AI solutions can increase the likelihood of spotting abnormal transactions that can be indicative of fraud. Awotunde et al. presented a model in their study that leveraged the artificial neural network to detect loan fraud and assist with bank loan management in order to prevent manipulations during loan applications. The model managed to predict fraud risks with 98% accuracy. AI algorithms are capable of utilizing a set of rules and instructions to spot behavioral indicators that are indicative of suspicious activities and can translate into high risks. 

One of the most important aspects of AI use in the industry of financial services is customization. From this perspective, the role of AI in this industry could be compared to the role of AI in the healthcare sector. Financial services organizations that take advantage of AI capabilities can leverage the technology to provide personalized recommendations to clients that consider all the relevant input data. Unlike human specialists, AI tools do not make mistakes in data retrieval and processing except for the cases of AI hallucination. Therefore, personalized recommendations focusing on particular customers can be more accurate, reliable, and valuable. 

AI is used in many different segments of the financial services industry. Its integration into trading is one of the popular research topics. At the moment, however, it is too early to make final conclusions on its effectiveness in this sector. AI tools offering the instrument of algorithmic trading potentially are supposed to be capable of identifying trends and executing trades at high speed. Simultaneously, their outcomes strongly depend on the assumptions and input data. AI-powered trading systems facilitate the process of trading, reduce the likelihood of making a careless mistake, and ensure the consistency of a strategy implemented by particular traders. However, their effectiveness is constrained by the limitations of the algorithms guiding their operations. Thus, the role of such systems in trading mainly boils down to reducing mistakes and making the entire process more convenient. 

The rise of AI poses a significant threat to banking jobs. Banks from different areas of the globe, especially from wealthy countries, are embracing digitalization and cutting costs, which often implies closing branches and firing staff members. In 2017, the Royal Bank of Scotland announced the closure of 259 branches and eliminated approximately 680 jobs. AI and other digital technologies are likely to make many jobs redundant, such as entry clerks, risk analysts, loan underwriters, and customer support representatives. The technology can replace employees involved in both front-office and back-office operations. Whereas some high-skilled individuals are supposed to remain to supervise AI algorithms, low-skilled workers would hardly deliver value to banks that cannot be delivered by AI. The research by Wells Fargo predicts that robots will eliminate more than 200,000 jobs in the banking industry within the next decade. Considering that many jobs in this sector involve the completion of repetitive tasks, such as answering standard questions and helping clients sign documents, the potential of AI replacement projects in this field is significant. Therefore, it is of paramount importance to introduce strict regulations to make sure that the advancement of AI does not result in a rapid decline in the quality of life caused by the loss of millions of jobs. 

The use of this technology in the sector of financial services can amplify a set of economic risks. In addition to those threats that were already discussed above, such as overreliance on technology and adverse outcomes of job losses, there are some unique risks that are specific to this industry. In particular, the integration of AI algorithms into trading can result in increased market volatility and a high risk of flash crashes. Since trading systems quickly respond to various events, they can amplify price swings and cause market disruptions in a fast manner, making it much harder for specialists to predict and prevent them. Furthermore, the fact that different financial institutions use the same or similar algorithms would contribute to systemic risks since any malfunction or disruption associated with widely used AI algorithms would lead to catastrophic consequences across the entire industries, such as a cascade of selling. The interconnectedness of financial institutions relying on AI algorithms, thus, might become a valid concern destabilizing the financial system. 

3.4. The Integration of AI into the Transportation Industry

Stakeholders in the transportation industry are enthusiastically embracing the power of AI. According to the recent report published by the International Association of Public Transport, 86% of public transport stakeholders are currently engaged in partnerships focusing on the development and adoption of artificial intelligence. The report from Precedence Research provides the figure of $2.3 billion as the size of the global AI transportation market in 2021. The specialists forecast that the market will continue to grow at the compound annual growth rate of around 22.97% and will reach $14.79 billion by the end of 2030. According to Iyer, the transportation sector is one of the industries that displays especially impressive progress in capturing the value produced by AI and adopting AI solutions to overcome the obstacles faced by the sector. Therefore, investments in AI transportation solutions are expected to continue to grow in the near future. 

Transportation stakeholders use AI for a variety of tasks. A recent survey shows that they mostly prefer utilizing AI in such fields as real-time operations management (25%), customer analytics (25%), intelligent ticketing systems (21%), predictive maintenance (17%), scheduling and timetabling (17%), multimodal journey planning (17%), fraud detection (13%), safety management (10%), and route design (10%). The implementation of AI tools delivers benefits both to drivers and other stakeholders. They can enjoy increased safety, enhanced efficiency, and accessibility as a result of the use of AI in traffic flow optimization, infrastructure planning, and intelligent transportation systems. To illustrate the advantages of this technology, it seems justified to discuss the specific benefits that AI provides to different stakeholders. 

Enhanced safety is one of the most important benefits of AI in the transportation industry. Several effective AI technologies, such as computer vision and sensors, enable vehicles to detect possible threats and respond to them in real-time. The most important advantage of AI in this sphere is that the technology can reduce the number of accidents by decreasing the significance of human errors. The role of AI in this field can be broad and cover not only various tools available within the paradigm of “bounded automation” but also the construction of autonomous vehicles that can function independently from humans. If AI applications are used consistently as part of the Internet of Vehicles and along with the concepts of autonomous driving, intersection management, and predictive planning, stakeholders can implement the necessary changes to reduce the number of accidents by decreasing congestion, optimizing routes, and eliminating the main drivers of accidents. There is currently no detailed information about the role of AI in improving safety in the transportation industry, but there is a consensus among specialists that such an outcome is one of the high-priority goals for the stakeholders who develop novel AI applications for the sector.

Efficiency is another relevant advantage of AI. The conference paper by Olayode et al. introduces an artificial neural network that is capable of ensuring the efficiency of traffic management by predicting congestion. The model was found to predict the traffic flow based on the data pertaining to a road intersection, vehicle classes, and speed. According to the authors, it could decrease road congestion significantly if the model had a large dataset with historical and real-time data. AI approaches display impressive performance in increasing the efficiency of air traffic management. The study by Tang et al. provides empirical evidence from multiple studies pointing to the ability of different applications to improve the efficiency of airspace management, air traffic services, flight operations, and air traffic flow management. Guo et al. believe that the increased efficiency of transportation can be enabled by a combination of the operator network, big data platform, and operator optimization implementation platform. A big data platform would be closely connected with AI platforms, which are responsible for model training, prediction, and machine learning. According to these scientists, the role of AI in the transportation sector mainly boils down to supporting the analysis of big data. 

Many scientists believe that AI transportation solutions are mandatory components of smart infrastructure and city planning. AI tools can be instrumental in analyzing information about public transit usage, weather conditions, traffic patterns, and other relevant issues that are important in maintaining smart cities. Nikitas et al. put an emphasis on connected vehicles, autonomous vehicles, autonomous personal and unmanned aerial vehicles, the Internet of Things, and physical Internet as those topics that are often discussed in relation to the use of AI in the transportation industry within the context of smart cities. The study by Agarwal et al.concludes that intelligent traffic management and control, smart packing management, emergency transportation systems, safe mobility, and smart traveler information systems are among the main applications of AI in the transportation sector that are of paramount importance for developing Indian smart cities.  While the idea of an AI-powered future remains a utopian scenario in many sectors, stakeholders of the transportation industry have already achieved significant progress in integrating this technology into various operations. 

The uncontrolled expansion of AI transportation applications, however, might be associated with different risks. In particular, autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles run by AI could cause unpredictable situations and accidents. It is imperative to design an effective system of regulations that would prevent such situations by requiring audits and safety inspections for vehicles and introducing a set of guidelines for drivers on how to ensure the safety of their cars. Countries also have to develop regulations on how to address accidents involving autonomous vehicles. The research by Abdullah and Manap illustrates that the Malaysian legislation currently is unable to determine tortious liability in those road accidents that involve autonomous vehicles. The scientists argue that shifting the liability to manufacturers or making users liable for accidents are two viable options and assert that it is crucial to ensure consistency in this field. This article shows that the legislative system of many countries currently is not ready for dealing with a number of legal issues arising from the implementation of AI in the transportation sector. 

The majority of social and economic risks related to the uncontrolled development of AI that were mentioned in the previous sections also apply to AI transportation applications. Simultaneously, it seems crucial to highlight the significance of cybersecurity vulnerabilities in this sector. While cybersecurity is a relevant issue in many sectors witnessing the rise of artificial intelligence, the transportation sector is especially important from this perspective given the high price of most vehicles and the safety risks associated with possible cyberattacks. The number of cyberattacks against not only particular vehicles but also entire public transport systems has been growing, causing substantial losses. In this situation, AI algorithms simultaneously are a desirable target for hackers and a powerful mechanism for protecting the sector from cybersecurity threats. 

Possible job losses in the transportation industry currently represent a highly uncertain scenario. A recent report by PwC published on the official website of the UK government predicts that the country will lose approximately 550,000 jobs in the transportation and logistics sectors due to AI in the next 20 years. At the same time, its authors admit that this impact is likely to manifest itself only in the long-term perspective. Delivery drones and autonomous vehicles have not become an inalienable part of the sector yet. Furthermore, it is possible that their development and integration will be slowed down because of safety and security concerns. Given such uncertainty, predicting the exact number of jobs that will be lost to AI in the transportation sector is challenging. 

3.5. The Integration of AI into the Education Industry

The education sector witnesses numerous AI applications. Intelligent tutoring systems, smart content creation platforms, education chatbots, automated grading tools, translation services, and virtual classrooms are bright examples of technologies that are already used in many different educational institutions to improve academic outcomes, enhance the student experience, support educators, and increase efficiency. The size of the AI education market reached $1.82 billion in 2021 and is expected to continue growing at a compound annual growth rate of 36% in the next 8 years. The growing reliance on AI tools in the sector can be to a large extent explained by the outbreak of COVID-19. Owing to the rapid growth of online education platforms during the pandemic, many stakeholders who barely used novel technologies before 2020 were forced to adopt them. As a result, approximately 51% of educators in the United States are now more confident about online education than they used to be before the pandemic. Such enthusiasm concerning education technologies encourages educational institutions and instructors to experiment with novel solutions, including those based on artificial intelligence. 

The capabilities of AI in the education sector are abundant. The framework introduced by Hwang and Chien states that AI can assume the role of teachers, students, and peers within the new AI-powered metaverse. All these roles are important to support stakeholders in performing their roles and facilitating the teaching and learning processes. Furthermore, AI also is expected to play a major role in arbitration, simulation, and decision-making by creating and maintaining a learning environment. The overwhelming majority of contemporary AI applications that are used in the industry focus on providing learning support, although a few of them also are deployed to assess students’ learning. Chiu and Chai showed in their study that AI-powered curriculum design is a powerful instrument that can provide multiple benefits for teachers, reduce costs, and even enhance learning experiences for students. However, surprisingly, this important avenue for improvement has not been recognized yet by a significant number of educational institutions. It seems that the education industry currently uses AI to improve the products and services delivered to learners. At the same time, the utilization of AI to increase efficiency is a less popular approach. Such a pattern has profound implications for the economic and social risks associated with the rise of AI in the education sector. 

The impact of AI on job loss in the education sector currently remains a controversial area. The aforementioned report by PwC predicts that the integration of AI in the education sector will produce approximately 300,000 job gains in the UK in the next 20 years. In other words, much more jobs will be gained than lost in the UK education sector because of AI. Such a prediction can be explained by the argument stating that most stakeholders of the education sector currently view AI as a mechanism to support the learning process rather than as a way to increase operational efficiency and reduce costs. Many journalists and stakeholders of the education industry expressed their concerns about the possible job loss in the education sector along with the expansion of online education that utilizes AI-powered tools instead of humans. However, at the moment, there is no evidence to assert that such concerns are justified. Given the current trends in the education sector, AI is more likely to produce job gains than job losses. Despite such a prediction, the sector still needs to develop comprehensive regulations addressing the risks associated with AI to make sure that all stakeholders benefit from the technology and leverage it to improve the learning process. The industry also needs to be prepared for unexpected scenarios that could translate into the sudden amplification of various social and economic risks related to AI. 

3.6. The Integration of AI into the Film/Television/Streaming Industries

The idea of utilizing AI to improve films and television shows is not new. Filmmakers have been using AI tools since the mid-1990ss. The Matrix and The Lord of the Rings are bright examples of movies that relied on AI to add special effects and create computer-generated images. However, recent evidence suggests that the role of artificial intelligence in the sector has dramatically increased in the last decade. Unfortunately, there is currently no information about the size of the film/television AI market because of the unique nature of this industry. Nonetheless, one can infer from indirect evidence that its size has been growing. 

 An analysis of different sources leads to the conclusion that AI tools are used in the film/TV industry in such areas as scriptwriting and storytelling, editing videos, selecting actors, improving animation and visual effects, and improving marketing activities. A combination of AI and ML tools is capable of writing a unique script based on the example of previous films and TV shows, thus maximizing the likelihood of success for a new product. D.A.N. is an example of a film that was created using AI. Whereas Jon Finger still wrote the script for this film, he heavily relied on Gen2 from Runway to produce individual shots. This case shows that AI has the potential to assist with brainstorming when writing scripts and even producing specific shots that can build up the scene. From the perspective of scriptwriting, the impact of AI on the film/television sector is similar to its effect on the copywriting sector.

AI tools are already widely used in video editing. Producers used the IMW Watson program in order to create a trailer for the film “Morgan”, as the instrument is capable of detecting high-action scenes from a movie and combining them within a short video. A video scaling tool by Topaz Labs reportedly sharpens fuzzy footage and assists with motion interpolation. In general, it is clear that although AI tools currently are unable to replace video editors, they can significantly increase the productivity of these employees. The area of actor selection is another interesting application of AI in the film/television industry. As stated above, many companies use AI algorithms to select employees; thus, some film directors also apply AI for this purpose. Moreover, some AI solutions can enable automatic auditions by using actors’ textual and audio data to show how particular individuals would perform certain scenes. Another crucial application of AI is the creation of digital actors. At the moment, this process mainly occurs in the case of non-human characters, such as Thanos from Avengers: Infinity War. At the same time, there is a premise to believe that the idea of using the existing data on actors, especially background ones, to create artificial characters in films and TV shows will become appealing in the near future.

Various AI solutions are currently utilized to assist with enhancing visual effects (VFX) and animation. The main benefit of AI in this area pertains to reduced costs and time needed to create animations and VFX. The AI tools developed by Runway are an example of a novel solution that can be applied to facilitate the processes of masking and rotoscoping. 

Finally, the last area in which AI is often applied in the sector is marketing. Data analysis tools embedded into many AI solutions allow for a detailed analysis of the information about the target audience. The results of such an analysis can inform decision-making, support the production of appealing marketing materials, guide the implementation of marketing strategies, and increase customer engagement. The arguments laid out above illustrate that AI tools can now be used in almost all the operations involved in the film/television industry. 

There is currently not enough information about the economic and social risks of AI in this sector. Nonetheless, the 2023 Writers Guild of America strike and concomitant SAG-AFTRA strike of film and television actors illustrates the growing significance of such threats. Writers are striking to ask for higher wages, seeking to prevent the overuse of AI-generated storylines and dialogue that would be categorized as “literary material” or “source material”. One demand of screenwriters is to make sure that humans remain the only authors of “literary” and “source” material for awards consideration. They claim that “only a person can be considered a writer, and AI-generated material would not be eligible for writing credit.”

Writers are not the only stakeholder group that is concerned about the threat of AI. Apparently, many actors believe that the integration of AI in the sector will lead to the loss of transparency, a further decrease in wages, and the eventual replacement of background actors with artificially created characters. There is a popular opinion that production companies will force all actors to sign a consent to the use of their visual and audio data, which will eventually result in their replacement by so-called “synthetic actors” created by AI algorithms. Such a risk related to the use of AI seems to have triggered public discourse over the tools to control the spread of AI and creating ethical safeguards to make sure that the use of artificial intelligence tools is beneficial for all the parties. The full spectrum of social and economic risks that AI poses to the visual arts industry is not known yet, but it seems justified to assert that writers and background actors are the most vulnerable groups in the sector in terms of the risk of being replaced by AI. 

There have been no regulatory proposals yet in regard to film/television AI tools. At the same time, there are several points that are likely to become the basis for such proposals in the future. In particular, the special agreement for background actors published by the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) currently does not include any provisions regarding AI. While many tech companies adopted certain self-regulation frameworks that guide the use of AI tools, the film/television industry does not currently have any mandatory or voluntary rules guiding the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning. The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers reportedly has made a “groundbreaking” proposal that protects actors’ “digital likeness” by requiring their informed consent for the use of digital replicas or alterations of their performance; however, the actors’ union has rejected this proposal by claiming that production companies would only pay actors for one day of their work on the condition that these individuals would sign an informed consent form. Stakeholders are in the process of designing the initial proposals concerning the best ways to regulate AI in the film/television sector. 

3.7. The Integration of AI into the Publishing Industry

The publishing industry is in the process of embracing different AI tools in its quest to improve efficiency and performance. The majority of publishing firms already employ different automated technologies to facilitate the production process; however, AI has the potential to cover the existing gaps in this area by reducing inefficiencies related to the overreliance on human activities. There are also many other fields in which AI can provide significant benefits to publishing companies. AI tools can facilitate research, synthesize certain types of content, conduct initial checks of content, and customize content to ensure consistency. A recent study based on the data retrieved from various publishing companies depicts AI as a valuable tool that writers and other professionals use. Thus, as of this moment, the majority of authors cooperating with publishing companies are likely to benefit from AI rather than face job security threats.

The process of editing is time-consuming both for authors and for publishers. Reliable AI tools can significantly accelerate this process by offering valuable features to not only identify careless mistakes but also detect minor stylistic inaccuracies and other issues that might undermine the quality of content. Hypothetically, AI will facilitate all the organizational processes of a typical publishing company that operates between the stages of content creation and consumption. The available evidence indicates that AI can ensure the swift implementation of text analysis, formatting, proofreading, and translation processes, while also supporting the preparation of final products. An additional application of artificial intelligence in the publishing sector is connected with the ability of the technology to assist with creating and enhancing graphic images, which often are an integral part of a final piece of content. For instance, for a journal like The Washington Post, the presence of a relevant image that captivates readers’ attention is often just as important as the quality of content because appealing titles and images draw readers’ attention to an article. Thus, AI can be considered a revolutionary technology that simplifies and accelerates many organizational processes carried out by publishing companies. 

One of the most important applications of AI in the industry is to ensure the alignment of articles, books, and other publishing materials with the expectations of readers. The technology can analyze reader data and provide customized recommendations for individuals on the best articles or books that they would enjoy reading, whereas trend analysis might help writers create engaging content that is appealing to a particular target audience. Based on such trend analysis, publishers can ensure that their value offering is suitable for a particular niche. 

The benefits of AI in the publishing sector are evident, but the use of the technology also is accompanied by a set of significant risks. In particular, the introduction of new content creation tools may eventually lead to job displacement of some authors. Despite the popular concern about the possible job loss in the publishing industry, many specialists do not agree that this risk is critical. The results of a recent survey conducted among around 300 industry professionals revealed that AI is more likely to strengthen core business functions than to replace writers. Moreover, the cases of The Washington Post and Axel Springer surprisingly show that AI tools not only positively influence sales and readership statistics, but also enhance job stability for the staff. Another popular risk related to AI is connected with quality. Given the tendency of many AI tools to “hallucinate”, there is a risk that many books and articles will contain inaccurate information, which, in turn, can translate into adverse outcomes for the entire society. For instance, an article that offers AI-generated content on medical topics can give wrong advice resulting in the injury or even death of a reader. Misinformation, copyright issues, and quality concerns are currently among the main topics that are raised in regard to the advancement of AI in the publishing industry. 

One of the most important benefits of AI in the publishing industry is connected with the ability of AI algorithms to convert and generate content based on a source article that is adjusted to different social groups, which results in improved reach and increased profit margins. Apple News, Google News, Instagram, YouTube, Spotify, and many other platforms already widely use AI algorithms for these purposes, creating customized product offers without increasing the size of their marketing and content editing teams. Meta, for instance, uses AI algorithms to predict how valuable a particular piece of content might be to specific users based on their demographic characteristics and previous history of the account. The information published by the company’s Transparency Center provides detailed information about the drivers of AI predictions. For example, predictions related to the likelihood of clicking on an author’s profile on Instagram depend on the number of times the user viewed the profile of this author, the number of times other users clicked on the author’s profile, and the number of times the author’s followers clicked on the profile. Google News has long used AI algorithms to customize news to viewers’ preferences, which explains the wide criticism of this platform for allegedly adjusting to viewers’ biases. Stakeholders of the publishing industry employ AI algorithms for different purposes. The risk of AI bias currently seems to be the most disturbing AI-related threat facing the sector. 

There is currently no comprehensive proposal for regulating the rise of AI in the publishing sector. A number of authors recently signed a petition that protects the authorship of their content. They claim that large language models must be forbidden to use copyrighted material without the explicit consent of its authors. According to the president of the Authors Guild, “AI regurgitates what it takes in, which is the work of human writers… [therefore], it’s only fair that authors be compensated for having ‘fed’ AI and continuing to inform its evolution.” Copyright law is currently one of the most controversial issues related to AI. Moreover, it is addressed in a number of drafts of AI laws, including the AI Act. It seems justified to expect that the issue of regulating the use of copyrighted content by large language models will be one of the heavily regulated aspects of AI functionality. It is important to emphasize that authors are among low-paid professionals, as their median salary in the United States is only around $23,330. In this situation, it seems justified to state that AI can further contribute to the reduction in authors’ wages, which are already lower than the average wage. Such a process could encourage many authors to change their profession, which can lead to the erosion of democracy in the long-term perspective, something that is already often described as a critical threat of AI. Therefore, the use of copyrighted content created by authors currently seems to be a critical social threat that must be addressed by stakeholders. 

3.8. The Integration of AI into the Creator Economy

The last application of AI that is discussed in this white paper pertains to the creator economy. The term “creator economy” refers to content creators of all types. It is reasonable to group all creators together for analysis, even if they create very different content, because of many of the shared experiences they have relating to AI.

The available evidence provides a compelling reason to believe that the creator economy has already embraced artificial intelligence. Influencers and content creators widely apply AI with the purpose of creative ideation and content enhancement. The majority of AI instruments utilized in this field could be divided into text-focused and visual-focused tools. Text-focused generative AI tools play a more important role in this sector since content creators apply them for brainstorming, content creation, editing, and proofreading purposes. For example, according to popular video blogger Jordan Harrod, visual-focused tools help edit content and enhance its quality. In particular, she admits to using AI tools to convert large videos from YouTube into short video clips that could be posted in TikTok. From this perspective, the application of AI in the creator economy can be compared to the use of this technology in the film/television industry since artificial intelligence allows for simplifying the process of video editing and enhancement, reducing the time spent on preparing a final product. 

Interestingly, the majority of journalists, authors, scientists, and influencers believe that AI tools will never replace human creativity. Hill-Yardin et al., who conducted a study on the use of ChatGPT in scientific writing, note that this software “is a useful tool to get us started, but, like running an immunohistochemistry experiment using an antibody of questionable specificity, without probing, integrating, and non-linear minds to assess the content, the outputs might be of little value”. Harrod believes that using AI to replace content creators in the creator economy is unjustified, “if you're going into the creative space, you're doing it because you have ideas and you want to create them, and you're looking for tools that can help you do that, not because you're trying to just generate as much content time as physically possible”. A similar opinion also was expressed by Dave Wiskus, the CEO of Nebula, “Autotune didn’t destroy singing – it just made people with a different kind of creativity more likely to find a good way  to express that creativity; Photoshop didn’t run photography  - it just did it so more people could get into photography; it made photography more accessible so we could get better art from more artists… I think AI, at least as we understand these tools today, will give the same effect.” The arguments laid out above provide a compelling reason to assert that AI is highly unlikely to fully replace content creators and influencers in the creator economy.

Despite the optimistic predictions of most specialists highlighted in the previous paragraph, some recent cases show that AI-driven influencers can be popular among readers and viewers. The case of AI influencer Rozy shows the impressive potential of AI to revolutionize the way in which content is created and shared. Rozy’s account on Instagram, which currently has around 156,000 subscribers, is a bright example of a successful artificial influencer. The account participated in more than 100 advertising campaigns and is forecasted to earn around $1,000,000 the next year. Lil Miquela, who currently has 2.7 million readers, not only succeeded in promoting many brands, including Vogue and Prada, but also managed to take part in activist campaigns, such as the #MeToo movement. The example of Lil Miguela shows that an influencer created by AI can not only create content that is interesting for followers but also successfully take social action that might potentially influence the public opinion. Such an issue is simultaneously impressive and disturbing given the high risk of misinformation related to AI. 

At the moment, the role of AI in the creator economy mostly boils down to providing a set of tools to assist with the completion of those tasks that used to be performed manually. At the same time, several important issues should be mentioned in relation to the potential risks associated with the technology. First, AI is likely to result in job disruption and displacement in the case of low-skilled content creators. Those content creators whose work is not directly connected with creativity are likely to be the most vulnerable group in this field. Authors of SEO-optimized articles exemplify such stakeholders. These individuals create texts that are supposed to include a certain number of keywords so that a website would be better indexed by search engines. In many situations, the meaning of these texts and their value for customers are not crucial since these pieces of content are primarily created for search robots. Modern AI tools, such as Google Bard or ChatGPT, are capable of producing such articles by meeting the given requirements in terms of the frequency of certain keywords. At the same time, corporations that are concerned about their image and reputation are likely to invest in creating high-quality SEO texts so that these articles would simultaneously include a required number of keywords and be appealing to potential visitors of the platform. Such a task might be difficult to complete for the majority of modern large language models, thus justifying the decision to hire competent SEO copywriters. The example of SEO copywriting illustrates that whereas low-skilled content creators are at risk of losing a job, competent and high-skilled professionals are likely to keep a constant flow of orders. 

One of the most important issues related to the risk described above is that many content creators do not have a formal employment status since they work as freelancers. According to different estimations, there were approximately 50-60 million freelancers in the United States alone before the COVID-19 pandemic. This figure has likely increased in recent years. While most freelancers do not rely on freelance work as the main source of their income, many of them consider freelancing as an important constituent of their earnings. People living in many parts of the Global South, such as in India and Kenya, strongly rely on freelancing since they can successfully compete with rivals from other nations owing to their low fees. The advancement of large language models can negatively affect the job security of these individuals, especially considering that their employment rights are often not protected by employment contracts and applicable laws. Furthermore, given that many of them do not have an official employment status, it is difficult to identify these individuals and target them with any social program to help them adjust to the AI-driven labor market. 

The second risk of AI in the creator economy is the redundancy of content. The use of content created by authors to train large language models might result in situations when content creators unknowingly plagiarize the work of other authors. Such a risk is critical because it could erode creativity, reduce the value of new content, and adversely affect the development of the creator economy. It also might hurt content creators whose ideas can be used without proper compensation. This risk is already being addressed by policymakers who are trying to find an optimal way to regulate the use of content for pre-training large language models. 

Another threat related to the rise of AI in the creator economy is inequality. As stated above, the development of large language models occurs in a way that puts various individuals in fundamentally different conditions. Those individuals who have access to normal Internet infrastructure can find themselves in an advantageous position, whereas content creators working in so-called Internet cafes are likely to struggle with taking full advantage of AI models and algorithms. Besides the risks highlighted above, the integration of large language models and AI algorithms into the creator economy also is accompanied by a set of threats that were already discussed above in relation to other industries, such as quality dilution, the loss of authenticity, data privacy concerns, and ethical dilemmas. 

The case of the rise of AI in the creator economy is different from most other sectors discussed in this white paper. For example, AI can offer promising solutions in the healthcare and education industries, but stakeholders hardly discuss scenarios in which AI could provide complete products in these two sectors without any human intervention. In contrast, even the current AI tools demonstrated their ability to create content that can be confused with the content written by humans. Therefore, many social and economic risks related to the integration of AI into the creator economy have already become pressing. 

Chapter 4. Review of Corporate Recommendations 

4.1. Introduction

As previously demonstrated, progress in the field of AI is mainly driven by industry rather than academia. Large corporations that introduce revolutionary AI products are responsible for setting new principles, rules, and guidelines in the AI industry. While both policymakers and scientists currently are not ready to support the rapid pace of AI development, these companies shoulder the responsibility for regulating the rise of artificial intelligence so that it would occur in a sustainable manner. Considering that there is currently no consistent regulatory landscape on the international, national, and local levels regarding the use of AI technology, internal recommendations and principles adopted by leading technology companies currently play a critical role in shaping AI progress and mitigating the risks associated with this technology. This chapter offers a detailed discussion of the corporate recommendations and strategies in relation to AI regulation provided by leading tech companies, including Google, OpenAI, Microsoft, Apple, Meta, and IBM.  

It is worth noting that all corporate recommendations include some degree of risk assessment and risk-based regulation. This universal point could serve as a foundation for building a shared framework. On issues of self-regulation and government licensing, however, there are significant differences of perspective across AI stakeholders. 

4.2. OpenAI

Unlike other companies discussed below, OpenAI does not have a universal ethical framework guiding all the actions of the company in relation to AI research and development. Nevertheless, the firm’s official website describes a set of broad principles adopted by the corporation, including broadly distributed benefits, technical leadership, and cooperative orientation. The need to distribute benefits broadly is a critical pillar of OpenAI’s stance on AI development since the company seeks to minimize any cases of harm induced by AI and to make sure that as many humans as possible can unlock the value of the technology. Like other leading tech companies, OpenAI recognizes the risks posed by AI tools to equality and encourages stakeholders to distribute the benefits delivered by the technology broadly. Whereas the goal of making new AI tools accessible worldwide seems utopian owing to low Internet penetration rates and other constraints that are impossible to overcome in a swift manner, creating a system for ensuring the fair distribution of AI benefits seems to be a viable option for addressing social and economic risks amplified by artificial intelligence. 

The principle of long-term safety is a unique feature of OpenAI’s approach to AI ethics. The company’s officials expressed their concerns regarding the “competitive race” involving AI research. Furthermore, the firm announced that if another company managed to come close to creating artificial general intelligence, OpenAI would stop competing with this project and instead start assisting with its further development. This approach marks a fundamental difference from the competitive stance adopted by other companies in this analysis.

The enterprise agrees to assume broad responsibility for managing the societal impact of artificial intelligence. The company’s officials agree not only to engage in safety and policy advocacy but also to “strive to lead in those areas that are directly aligned with our mission and expertise”. As part of this responsibility, the enterprise regularly publishes its AI research in line with the principle of cooperative orientation and intends to share policy, standards, and safety research with industry stakeholders and policymakers in the future to make sure that the industry as a whole manages AI risks. 

One of the regulatory measures supported by OpenAI is the introduction of licensing and testing requirements. Furthermore, the company also supports the establishment of a monitoring agency for pre- and post-deployment review of AI products and funding of AI safety research. In general, OpenAI supports a universal approach to AI regulation that implies the creation of an agency that requires a license for all AI products whose capabilities exceed certain limits. This way, it will be easier to ensure compliance with safety standards.

A recent testimony given by Sam Altman to U.S. Congress provides important information about the company’s stance on AI risks. It shows that OpenAI recognizes that a scenario in which AI creators cause “significant harm to the world” is possible. In particular, Altman specifically emphasized the risk of “one-on-one interactive disinformation”, which, in his opinion, must be prevented using the instrument of AI regulation. One of the most interesting insights that could be gained from analyzing Altman’s testimony is that he is not sure about specific scenarios underpinning the disruption of the economy and society as a result of the integration of AI algorithms into various spheres of life, but he is confident that these scenarios are possible, “I think if this technology goes wrong, it can go quite wrong, and we want to be vocal about that, we want to work with the government to prevent that from happening”. In general, Altman’s testimony illustrates that OpenAI advocates for the use of a proactive approach toward AI regulation so that the government would address AI risks even before they become visible. 

OpenAI adopted a more cautious approach to mitigating the risks associated with its AI products. The company reportedly spent six months carrying out external red teaming and testing of GPT-4 before releasing it to the public. Moreover, the corporation has recently launched a specific alignment division whose main goal is to reduce the risks of AGI. The division will use approximately 20% of the firm’s capacity to make sure that a human-level automated alignment researcher is capable of ensuring the compliance of new AI algorithms with safety standards. Therefore, whereas the company advocates for the adoption of strict regulations, OpenAI also works on enhancing its own self-regulation approach. 

The companies which follow were selected because they all belong to Partnership on AI, a research group comprising Google, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Meta, and Amazon. 

4.3. Google (Alphabet)

Google is ready to embrace AI. The company’s officials recognize the revolutionary role of this technology and its potential to improve human life. The website of Google AI states that “while we are optimistic about the potential of AI, we recognize that advanced technologies can raise important challenges that must be addressed clearly, thoughtfully, and affirmatively”. The company claims to adhere to seven principles that guide its AI research. First, the company promises to take into account relevant economic and social factors associated with the development of AI technologies. It is important to emphasize that the enterprise’s specialists are optimistic about the future of AI and claim that “the overall likely benefits substantially exceed the foreseeable risks and downsides”. Second, the firm claims to take the necessary measures to avoid creating and reinforcing unfair bias in AI algorithms. Third, the corporation develops and tests its products in a constrained environment that helps ensure sufficient levels of safety. Fourth, the firm seeks to ensure that all systems and products designed by Google are accountable to humans. This way, the enterprise plans to address a set of popular concerns related to the lack of control over large language models. Fifth, in addition to safety, the design of AI solutions also incorporates privacy principles. Sixth, the company claims to rely on rigorous scientific research and extensive scientific evidence in developing and upgrading its AI products. Finally, the last AI principle to which Google adheres is to conduct regular audits of its solutions to minimize the cases of harmful uses. 

In addition to the set of AI principles, Google claims that it will not engage in the development of certain AI products. First, it will not support and participate in the development of those large language models that mainly focus on causing or facilitating injury to people. In other words, Google plans to refrain from participating in the production of AI-based military products. Second, the firm announced its commitment to not developing technologies that gather data in a way that violates international norms. Third, Google will not develop products whose purpose is not aligned with international law and human rights. Finally, it also should be noted that the company claims not to develop products that “are likely to cause overall harm”. Interestingly, the firm preserves the right to develop AI algorithms that cause harm provided that the benefits of these solutions are expected to outweigh the risks. Google’s own evaluations and forecasts are in this situation the only criterion that is used to evaluate both benefits and risks of AI algorithms. To make sure that the company complies with its principles and refrains from working on applications that are incompatible with its ethical norms, the corporation has a specific team that conducts ethical reviews of all new solutions implemented by the company through the stages of intake, analysis, adjustment, and decision. The official website of Google, however, does not provide detailed information about the composition of this team and the ways in which it operates. 

One of the most important features of Google’s stance on AI regulation is that the company’s officials believe that self-regulation is not sufficient for protecting humanity against the risks of AI. Even before the recent progress in AI research caused by the introduction of ChatGPT-3, the company insisted on the need to regulate AI. According to Google’s CEO, “Good regulatory frameworks will consider safety, explainability, fairness and accountability to ensure we develop the right tools in the right ways… sensible regulation must also take a proportionate approach, balancing potential harms, especially in high-risk areas, with social opportunities.” The document called Recommendations for Regulating AI, which was recently issued by Google, calls for regulating AI by taking a sectoral approach on the basis of the existing legislation, adopting a risk-based framework, promoting interoperability in AI standards, ensuring parity between AI and non-AI systems, and recognizing the role of transparency. In general, the firm encourages policymakers to avoid generalizations and instead adopt a pragmatic approach to balance the interests of relevant stakeholders and implement a customized risk-based model in each industry. 

The leadership of Google is engaged in discussions with policymakers regarding AI regulation. A head of the enterprise’s cloud division recently announced that the company’s leaders were having “productive conversations” with EU regulations regarding the EU AI Act. In particular, the company’s representatives are reportedly discussing ways to protect creative industries and enforce copyright laws. In a recent recommendation to the U.S. government, Google advised policymakers to issue detailed guidance to all agencies on tackling AI risks. From this perspective, the company’s recommendations differ from the recommendations of many other corporations calling for the establishment of a separate agency responsible for addressing AI risks. In a recent proposal sent to Australian policymakers, the company recommended the Australian government to ensure clarity on liability for the misuse and abuse of AI systems, establish a copyright system to enable the use of copyright-protected content, refrain from introducing strict privacy laws so that that data could flow across borders, facilitate cross-sector collaboration, and adopt a framework for the use of data for training AI algorithms. In general, Google’s approach on AI regulation is cautious. The company calls for balancing the interests of relevant stakeholders and avoiding overregulation. Instead of adopting universal policies, the company encourages policymakers to apply a risk-based approach that would focus on protecting high-risk sectors and designing customized interventions rather than “one-fit-for-all” policies. 

Despite the consistent approach taken by Google in relation to the issue of AI regulation, the company has been heavily criticized for failing to recognize the full spectrum of unregulated AI until recently. Google’s employees reportedly labeled the launch of Bard as “rushed,” “botched” and “un-Googley” in a series of internal messages. Given the firm’s attempt to introduce a new product as soon as possible, it is natural that certain ethical and regulatory aspects of the new AI algorithms and large language models launched by the corporation might have been overlooked. Timnit Gebru, who is one of the leaders in AI ethics research and an ex-member of Google’s ethical AI team, believes that Google did not take enough measures to address the large social and economic risks associated with AI, such as high model training costs, large environmental emissions, bias risks, and misinformation. Furthermore, Dr. Geoffrey Hinton left Google because, as he believes, the launch of ChatGPT-3 led to Google adopting an aggressive strategy to facilitate the work on its own large language models without taking the necessary precautions. In light of recent publications, it seems justified to state that Google’s stance on AI ethics and regulation is heavily criticized because of the company’s rushed introduction of Google Bard.

4.4. IBM

IBM has a consistent AI ethics framework. The company states that the goal of its AI products is to augment human intelligence. The firm does not seek to create large language models that would replace humans and instead pursues the concept of “bounded intelligence” in its projects. The company also claims to comply with copyright law by ensuring that clients’ data and insights belong to their creators. This principle is important since it addresses one of the most popular controversies related to AI products. Finally, the corporation also tries to make its technology explainable and transparent. IBM promises to reveal data on the training of all AI algorithms and the basis of algorithms’ recommendations. These three principles are not unique, but they illustrate the stance that was taken by IBM on AI ethics. Contrary to many other firms, IBM believes in the potential of self-regulation to protect humanity from AI risks. In addition to these principles, the company’s AI research is also guided by five pillars, including privacy, robustness, transparency, exploitability, and fairness. All these principles are standard and could be found in the ethics statements of many other technology companies. 

The corporation advocates for the so-called “precision regulation” approach, which is similar to the strategy recommended by Google. The approach comprises four pillars that were announced by Christina Montgomery, IBM’s chief privacy and trust officer. First, the firm calls for adopting the strongest regulation exclusively in the fields with the highest risks in line with the risk-based framework. Second, the company believes that policymakers must define risks and provide guidance on AI uses in high-risk areas to reduce uncertainty. Third, IBM supports the call for transparency as a mandatory principle of any AI algorithm. Finally, the last principle involves the introduction of certain requirements to companies in relation to testing their AI products and conducting impact assessments. In general, IBM warns policy makers against overregulating the field and instead suggests the application of a risk-based approach that would not interfere with research and development activities. 

The company is one of the most active supporters of the risk-based approach to AI regulation. Following the recent EU AI Act vote in the European Parliament, IBM made an announcement praising the institution for “preserving the Commission’s risk-based approach to artificial intelligence in line with our consistent calls globally for precision regulation on AI, which we believe is the best way to protect people and values while promoting innovation”. According to the enterprise, a broad regulation of technology focusing on AI would be harmful for society and innovation. The study conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of the corporation showed that around 70% of Europeans and 62% of Americans agree on the need to adopt a precision regulation approach. The arguments laid out above illustrate that both IBM and Google advocate for similar regulatory measures based on the risk-based framework, whereas OpenAI supports a broader approach. 

4.5. Microsoft 

Microsoft is one of the companies involved in the “competitive race” in the AI sector. The company’s official website distinguishes between six principles of AI research, including fairness, reliability and safety, privacy and security, inclusiveness, transparency, and accountability. While all of these principles are common and are hardly different from the pillars announced by other leading tech companies, such as Google or IBM, it is important to emphasize that these principles are operationalized by the company through the Responsible AI Standard. This standard includes a set of criteria that are used to achieve a set of goals across these six principles. Compared to most other companies involved in AI research and development, the operationalization of AI ethics principles at Microsoft is very detailed. The firm has a clear framework aimed at ensuring that each AI product presented by the corporation meets strict requirements.

Until recently, the company also had an AI Ethics Team comprising 30 individuals that was supposed to guide the company in developing new AI products and implementing the assessments mentioned in the Responsible AI Standard. According to a member of this group, “People would look at the principles coming out of the office of responsible AI and say, ‘I don’t know how this applies’… our job was to show them and to create rules in areas where there were none.” However, the firm decided to eliminate this team as part of a 2023 cost-cutting initiative. The corporation still maintains the Office of Responsible AI, which creates rules and principles for guiding the firm’s AI projects. However, the enterprise no longer has a team that would enforce these rules and help employees comply with them. According to the officials, such an event was a result of the reorganization efforts; furthermore, actual investment in AI responsibility allegedly increased. 

Microsoft’s position regarding AI regulation resembles the one expressed by OpenAI’s officials, which is natural given the companies’ close relations with each other (Microsoft has been a major investor in OpenAI). Microsoft supports a system that would require all AI developers to notify the government about testing new products and apply for a license before deploying any systems. Moreover, the company calls for ensuring that all AI algorithms involved in critical infrastructure can be slowed down or even turned off immediately. The firm supports the establishment of a government agency in the United States that would enforce safety standards, monitor AI testing, and license all large language models before they can be deployed. The company’s CEO also advocates for an executive order that would promote voluntary compliance with the guidelines included in the NIST framework. It is crucial to empathize that Microsoft agrees that AI developers sometimes have to bear the legal responsibility for complying with security regulations, something that certain other tech companies try to avoid. In general, in comparison with most other corporations, Microsoft supports a strict AI regulatory framework that has a relatively broad scope but, at the same time, allows for the implementation of customized solutions in line with the risk-based approach. 

4.6. Apple

Apple is one of the leading companies involved in AI and ML research and development, although it does not have its own AI product yet that could compete with Bard or ChatGPT. Nonetheless, the firm has adopted a set of ethical principles and joined discussions regarding AI regulation. Given the corporation’s limited progress in the field of AI, however, its stance on the economic and social risks of AI has not received a significant amount of attention. Moreover, the firm currently does not have a separate ethics framework for AI research and development.

It is all but certain that the corporation’s leadership is aware of the dangers of artificial intelligence. Apple recently restricted the use of ChatGPT among its employees in response to concerns about possible data leaks and other security issues. Little is known about the company’s stance on AI regulation. One could infer from the recent interview with Tim Cook that Apple pursues a balanced approach in which AI legislation is supposed to be supplemented by companies’ self-regulation frameworks. Presumably, the company will introduce its position on AI regulation in a press-release in the near future in order to join the popular discourse. 

4.7. Meta

Meta has a Responsible AI platform that briefly summarizes the firm’s principles of AI responsibility. The principle of privacy & security is operationalized at the company through the unification of AI products and systems into a single ecosystem so that it would be easier to manage risks. The company plans to interact closely with users to help them protect their own data while providing the feedback that can be instrumental in improving AI products. The principle of fairness & inclusion is enforced through the Fairness Flow tools, which allow for detecting and eliminating algorithmic bias. The Responsible AI team was supposed to play a major role in monitoring such biases and offering solutions to eliminate them, though it was disbanded in 2022. The AI Red Team works closely with partners to test AI algorithms and check their resilience against various threats. The company tries to ensure transparency in its AI research and development by providing users with recent data on the ways in which their AI products work. From this perspective, Meta’s practices are similar to the actions of other tech companies engaged in AI research and development. It also is important to emphasize that the company is open to the idea of collaborating with other companies on the future of Responsible AI, which is evident in the firm’s engagement in a number of international projects addressing AI ethics. 

Leadership at Meta recognizes the importance of AI regulation. The company supports the development of uniform standards, which is evident in its participation in the AI Observatory project launched by the OECD. Facebook also supported the Technical University of Munich in establishing the Independent TUM Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence. Insights from Facebook AI Research (FAIR) are regularly published online so that various stakeholders can access them. 

Despite these efforts, Facebook’s own AI algorithms are often criticized for spreading misinformation. The scandal involving Cambridge Analytica illustrates the inherent weaknesses of the AI algorithms deployed by Facebook. At the moment, the company’s AI tools are too weak to protect social media from misinformation and fake news. The scholarly paper by Schonau shows that Meta’s predictive recommendation system is flawed and exhibits significant biases caused by the constraints of AI algorithms. Apparently, the firm’s self-regulation framework is currently unable to address the risks of AI products designed by the corporation. 

The firm has not announced an official position on AI regulation. Nevertheless, it seems that Meta supports a risk-based approach and warns policymakers against regulating the technology as a whole. The company is ready to be transparent and explain all the aspects of the work on its AI algorithms. Apparently, the corporation does not support the establishment of a separate federal agency that would license all large language models and instead advertises the “precision approach,” which also was supported by IBM and Google. Contrary to Microsoft and OpenAI, Meta advocates for regulating the uses of AI rather than the technology itself. Such proposals might seem unconvincing given that the flaws in Facebook’s AI algorithms are one of the main arguments in favor of establishing an AI federal agency. Interestingly, there is no evidence that the company’s position on AI ethics changed recently, which is surprising given that the rise of ChatGPT-3 marked the advancement of a new era in AI research and development. 

4.8. Amazon

Amazon is one of the leading companies in machine learning (ML) research. It has a set of principles underpinning the responsible use of AI and ML. In particular, the document Responsible Use of Machine Learning provides an exhaustive list of criteria and practices that have to be used in the stages of design and development, deployment, and ongoing use of AI and ML applications. For example, developers are supposed to evaluate use cases, understand the capabilities and limitations of each application, build and train diverse teams, collect data, train and test data, monitor biases, explain ML systems, ensure auditability, and comply with relevant regulations during the stage of design and development. The company has a set of resources that help comply with the ethical guidelines, such as Amazon SageMaker Clarify, Augmented AI, Sage Maker Model Monitor, and SageMaker Data Wrangler. The enterprise, therefore, not only has a set of general principles guiding AI and ML development but also offers practical solutions for operationalizing these principles. 

There are three broad principles that apply to Amazon’s AI and ML research. First, all its systems are subject to monitoring and human review in order to prevent inaccurate predictions and ensure the reliability and accuracy of all models. Second, the company reports data explaining the predictions of all its models. Therefore, users and other stakeholders can understand the models’ behavior. Finally, a set of tools developed by the company allow for detecting biases and disparities. The use of these tools helps follow the guidelines described above. 

Amazon’s position on AI regulation is currently unclear. In 2020, Amazon and Meta joined forces in opposing facial recognition bills because the proposed legislation was “overly broad” and could hamper technology development. At the same time, the firm’s recent press release covering AI regulation does not provide any specific information besides repeating the principles outlined in the aforementioned Responsible Use of Machine Learning guide. One could infer from indirect evidence that the firm’s position on AI regulation resembles the one expressed by IBM, Meta, and Google, who all oppose broad regulation and instead believe that a narrow risk-based approach is better equipped to deal with the threats of AI. 

Table 2. Summary Assessment of Corporate Positions on AI

Company

Position

OpenAI

  • does not identify a universal ethical framework in regards to AI
  • recognizes the risks posed by AI tools to equality and encourages stakeholders to distribute the benefits delivered by the technology broadly
  • supports a universal approach to AI regulation that implies the creation of an overseeing agency that requires a license for all AI products whose capabilities exceed certain limits
  • unique states that if another company managed to come close to creating artificial general intelligence, they would stop competing with this project and instead start assisting with its further development

Google (Alphabet)

  • adheres to seven principles that guide its AI research
  • argues that self-regulation is not sufficient for protecting humanity against the risks of AI
  • calls for regulating AI by taking a sectoral approach on the basis of the existing legislation, adopting a risk-based framework, promoting interoperability in AI standards, ensuring parity between AI and non-AI systems, and recognizing the role of transparency
  • does not encourage licensing or extensive governmental regulation 

IBM

  • maintains a consistent AI ethics framework
  • supports a so-called “precision regulation” approach only, making them the most active supporters of the risk-based approach to AI regulation

Microsoft

  • distinguishes between six guiding principles of AI research, and the operationalization of AI ethics principles at Microsoft is very detailed
  • supports a strict AI regulatory framework that balances a relatively broad scope with the implementation of customized solutions
  • supports a system that would require all AI developers to notify the government about testing new products and apply for a license before deploying any systems

Apple

  • adopted a set of ethical principles and joined discussions regarding AI regulation
  • not a major player in the AI industry right now, so has not yet needed to self-regulate or articulate extensive stances

Meta

  • publishes lists of the firm’s principles of AI responsibility  
  • focuses on the development of uniform standards through the AI Observatory project
  • supports a risk-based approach only and warns policymakers against regulating the technology as a whole

Amazon

  • operates under an exhaustive list of criteria and practices that have to be used in the stages of design and development, deployment, and ongoing use of AI and ML applications
  • opposes broad regulation and instead advocates for a very narrow risk-based approach and self-regulation
  • one of the leading companies in machine learning (ML) research

Chapter 5. Historical Context and Lessons 

5.1. Introduction 

The available evidence provides a compelling reason to believe that the current debates over AI regulation can rely on the examples of multiple regulatory interventions in non-tech industries. The Sherman Antitrust Act, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Plan, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and a series of initiatives to support the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy are the examples of regulatory interventions that sought to provide meaningful benefits to society and protect stakeholders from a number of critical economic and social risks. These laws succeeded in achieving their goals to a certain extent, although they have been heavily criticized by different stakeholders. It seems justified to discuss these interventions in the current chapter to put the issue of AI regulation into a relevant context and show what historical lessons can help policymakers adopt effective AI laws. 

5.2. The Sherman Antitrust Act

The Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890 is an important law that marked a crucial milestone in the history of the United States. In the most general view, it could be defined as a law prohibiting monopolies, while ensuring free competition thrives. The document was supposed to preserve a competitive marketplace and protect customers from abuses. According to the Supreme Court in Spectrum Sports, Inc. v. McQuillan, “the purpose of the Sherman Act is… to protect the public from the failure of the market… the law directs itself… against conduct which unfairly tends to destroy competition itself.” The law was introduced to prevent legal persons from interfering with the competitive environment because “every person who shall monopolize, or attempt to monopolize, or combine or conspire with any other person or persons, to monopolize any part of the trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, shall be deemed guilty of a felony.” The document offers a definition of anticompetitive conduct, emphasizes that any actions aimed at monopolizing trade or commerce are illegal, and highlights that the provisions apply in all U.S. territories. As per the law, the U.S. Department of Justice started enforcing the Act in the federal courts. 

The Sherman Antitrust Act is relevant to the problem under investigation because it was the first legislation in the United States to address the issue of monopolies, which was an increasingly important threat to U.S. society. Such trusts as Standard Oil and the American Railway Union were believed to have monopolized certain sectors and raised prices on goods and services as a result of their dominant position. The Sherman Antitrust Act became a natural response to the growing threat that was recognized not only by policymakers but also by journalists, scientists, and regular citizens. A similar scenario can be observed nowadays when the discourse regarding the dangers of AI involves multiple stakeholders who are becoming increasingly concerned about the dangers of AI. 

One of the important parallels between the Sherman Antitrust Act and the current regulatory efforts regarding AI legislation, such as the EU AI Act, is that the Sherman Antitrust Act was the first law of its kind to address an issue that was largely outside the policymakers’ attention in the past. As a result, the document was very broad and had many gaps and loopholes, such as the lack of clear definitions of “monopolies” and “trusts” and the absence of consistent tests for the “unreasonable” restraints of trade. These issues were later addressed in the Clayton Antitrust Act. In a similar way, the EU AI Act as well as drafts of similar laws in other countries can become the basis on which future AI laws could be built. Despite the limitations of the Act, the Supreme Court used the Sherman Antitrust Act to facilitate the “trust-busting” campaign, which is evident in the cases against Northern Securities Co., the Standard Oil Company, and the American Tobacco Company. Thus, despite the broad scope and the lack of strict definitions and criteria, the Sherman Antitrust Act became a critical milestone in the development of antitrust laws in the United States. Policymakers can consider the ambitious approach proposed in the Sherman Antitrust Act when considering the best ways to regulate AI. 

5.3. Trade Adjustment Assistance Acts

While the Sherman Antitrust Act is relevant to the topic under discussion because it was the first law to address the growing threat of monopolistic practices to American society, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act of 1974 is pertinent to the problem under investigation because of its focus on providing reemployment assistance. At that time, the rapid development of global trade provided U.S. manufacturers with an opportunity to reduce costs by shifting production to foreign countries, outsourcing services, or increasing imports of articles or services. The Trade Adjustment Assistance for Workers was a program established to help displaced employees find a new job with minimal losses. Eligible workers could receive payments during 117 weeks, participating in full-time training aimed at obtaining new skills, and apply for a supplementary wage provided that they were above 50 years old. Whereas the issue of financial support during the transition period used to be a popular idea even before the 1970s, the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act of 1974 introduced the concept of training, which was a revolutionary approach to facilitating reemployment. The training component of the law illustrated that the government recognized rapid changes in the economy and the labor market and was ready to provide the support for employees that went beyond financial assistance. 

Similar measures can be required to help employees whose jobs were replaced by AI adapt to changes in the labor market. According to the report published by PwC, AI is likely to produce a substantial number of new jobs in the United Kingdom in the next 20 years. The education sector alone can gain as many as 300,000 new jobs. However, to take advantage of such job openings, potential candidates will need to possess new skill sets and have deep knowledge of AI-related issues. Thus, educating such people on the nature of AI and training them on the use of AI tools in different areas could be an essential part of the reemployment initiatives suggested in the new AI legislation. 

In 2002, policymakers changed the legislation by introducing wage insurance and health credits as new constituents of trade adjustment assistance. Moreover, the new version of the act broadened the definition of eligible workers by incorporating primary, upstream, and downstream workers displayed by increased imports or plant relocation programs as well as farmers who suffered from price declines as a result of imports. This change shows how important it is for policymakers to ensure that the scope of assistance programs covers a sufficient number of affected employees. 

Unfortunately, it is hardly possible to quantify the benefits of trade adjustment assistance programs introduced in the United States. According to Aho and Bayard, the assessment of the benefits of the program from the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act of 1974 was difficult because the majority of benefits referred to the improvement in the perceptions of the U.S. government and the potential foreign policy gains associated with such positive perceptions. The sole fact that a country supports displaced employees allegedly improves its impact, which might indirectly influence foreign direct investment and other relevant indicators. Because of the difficulties with quantifying the results of trade adjustment assistance for a country, it is currently hard to determine whether such programs provided significant benefits for the United States.

Some evidence illustrates that the programs have been ineffective in supporting workers. In a testimony focusing on the trade adjustment assistance program based on the Act of 1974, Louis Jacobson stated that the gains per person were too small compared to the magnitude of losses. Furthermore, many employees did not return to a similar job even two years after applying for the program; as a result, the financial assistance did not cover the entire transition period and did not help them find a new job. To address this problem, Jacobson argued for the introduction of a training component into the program. However, even after the program adopted such a component, the situation hardly improved. Reynolds and Palatucci argue that participation in the program “has no discernible impact on the employment outcomes of the participants.” Furthermore, similar results were reported by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Labor. The scientists mainly explain such outcomes by the flaws in the training programs and the lack of adequate training options in various regions. 

Trade adjustment assistance programs introduced in the acts adopted in 1974 and 2002 are relevant for discussing AI regulation because they address the threat of job loss. These laws introduce a set of different measures as part of assistance programs, including financial assistance, training, health insurance, and specific measures targeting older individuals. However, the effectiveness of the programs has been limited. One of the important lessons from these programs is that the support of displayed workers is a challenging endeavor that must incorporate different measures besides financial assistance. It is necessary to prepare displaced workers for a new job by helping them acquire new skills and find a job with adequate compensation, something that many employees are unable to do by themselves. Training is arguably the most important component of such programs. 

Another crucial lesson is that programs should engage not only employees but also employers so that individuals who successfully pass the training programs could find a job using effective channels. Furthermore, the program also showed that local governments must closely monitor the effectiveness of training sessions that are available for displaced workers to make sure that these activities are valuable for employees and meet the demands of the labor market. 

5.4. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 

The global financial crisis of 2008 became a critical challenge for the U.S. economy and society. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act sought to alleviate the negative implications of the Great Recession by providing assistance to small businesses, reducing the tax burden, and creating new jobs. According to the document’s authors, the law was supposed to facilitate government spending so that it could compensate for a decline in private investment. The law focused on infrastructure, education, and healthcare, which were believed to be suffering from the crisis. From this perspective, the Act could be compared to current drafts of AI regulation that offer a risk-based approach to prioritize the regulation in high-risk industries. 

Many initiatives within the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act directly targeted the threat of job loss. The government encouraged the implementation of local projects with the stimulus package of $85 billion, extended medical insurance to displaced workers, funded the computerization of patient records at healthcare facilities, helped school districts and states underwrite staff salaries and educational programs, and funded preschool and special education programs. According to the Office of the President, the government expected to save or create around 0.7 million, 3 million, 2.5 million, and 0.7 million jobs in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, respectively. Blinder and Zandi praised the U.S. response to the Great Recession, including financial measures, the fiscal stimulus, and job creation initiatives. According to the projections, the unemployment rate would have reached 15% if the country had not adopted a radical approach to protecting jobs. 

Recent evidence suggests that the law indeed has made a substantial impact on unemployment rates. According to the more recent study by Blinder and Zandi, which was published in 2015, the country would have lost 17 million jobs instead of 8 million, while the unemployment rates would have reached 16% instead of 10% if the government had not adopted the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Furthermore, the country also would have witnessed much more adverse trends in relation to GDP decline and budget deficit. During the period between late 2009 and mid-2011, the law alone was responsible for a 2-2.5% increase in the country’s gross domestic product. 

Not all scientists depict the law as a highly effective instrument in saving jobs. Conley and Dupor argue that the act contributed to job gains in the public sector but failed to make a desirable impact on private sector jobs. The working paper published as part of the working paper series of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco shows that the fiscal spending initiative reportedly produced only 0.8 million jobs by October 2010, which mostly could be found in the construction industry. Simultaneously, in some other industries, such as the healthcare sector, the positive effects of the program were hardly visible at that time. 

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides valuable historical lessons about the potential of a radical public spending program to prevent large-scale job losses during a crisis. Unlike the trade adjustment assistance programs discussed earlier, it mainly focuses on creating new jobs instead of providing training for displaced workers. The available evidence provides a compelling reason to claim that this Act has been highly successful in helping the United States survive the uncertain times during and after the Great Recession, mitigating the economic and social implications of the crisis. Nonetheless, it should be noted that the law was adopted in response to a crisis rather than a set of gradual changes, such as the ones related to AI integration. 

5.5. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act was a federal law that introduced mandatory financial record-keeping and reporting practices. The law emerged in response to a set of accounting scandals, such as the ones involving WorldCom and Enron. These scandals reportedly cost millions of dollars for investors and demonstrated the inability of the U.S. regulatory framework to protect the economy and society from the destruction of evidence. The act was supposed to restore public confidence in U.S. securities markets and prevent corporate and accounting scandals. The law is relevant from the perspective of the problem under investigation because it introduced mandatory practices to ensure transparency and accountability in a field that was previously regulated by internal organizational policies. Instead of encouraging companies to adopt comprehensive ethical frameworks and strict internal guidelines, the act introduced mandatory practices, thus acknowledging the inability of corporations to succeed in preventing corporate and accounting scandals using self-regulation. 

Another important parallel between the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the current debates concerning AI regulation is that the law created the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which was supposed to monitor, regulate, and inspect accounting firms that performed audits of public companies. Such a body resembles the federal agency that might be created in the United States to oversee AI developers, which is currently recommended not only by policymakers and scientists but also by some tech companies, including OpenAI and Microsoft. The act includes a set of provisions pertaining to auditor independence, corporate responsibility, analyst conflicts of interest, enhanced financial disclosures, studies and reports, commission authority, corporate tax returns, fraud accountability, and white-collar crime penalty enhancement. From the perspective of the current study, however, the most important feature of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act is that it turned accounting into a heavily regulated area and introduced the mandatory organizational practices that must be conducted by all public companies to promote transparency and accountability.  

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act became a crucial milestone that had large effects on the U.S. economy and society. Moreover, it encouraged many other countries, such as Germany, Canada, India, Japan, Italy, and others, to adopt similar laws. At the same time, the implications of this act remain a controversial topic. The results of the 2014 Sarbanes-Oxley Compliance Survey indicate that the costs of compliance with the regulations increased by 20%, putting a manageable yet considerable financial burden on corporations. The survey published by Foley & Lardner LLP reveals that the average compliance costs for companies with the revenue below $1 billion increased from $1.7 million to $2.8 million. Moreover, in the opinion of around 70% of respondents, public companies whose revenues are below $251 million should be exempt from Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. There is also a popular concern that the bill might have reduced the competitive edge of the United States by introducing unnecessary bureaucratic barriers and creating a complex regulatory environment that discouraged investors. In particular, the study commissioned by the New York government revealed that “the flawed implementation of the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX), which produced far heavier costs than expected, has only aggravated the situation, as has the continued requirement that foreign companies conform to U.S. accounting standards rather than the widely accepted – many would say superior – international standards”. Whether the law was successful remains a controversial issue. 

5.6. The Fair Labor Standards Act

The Fair Labor Standards Act was not concerned with the issue of unemployment. However, it is relevant to the problem under investigation because it was an initiative that introduced fundamentally new instruments to protect workers. Before 1938, the United States legislation did not use such terms as “the minimum wage”, “overnight pay”, and “the maximum workweek”. The laws of such states sought to protect employees’ rights; however, this process was challenging. In particular, the Supreme Court voided the law adopted in the District of Columbia that set minimum wages for women. Progress in the field of worker protection was inconsistent and fragmentary. While some states tried to set some minimum standards to regulate child labor and minimum wages, others continued to support the “free market” as a universal force that would supposedly encourage employers to implement such changes through the mechanism of self-regulation. Indeed, some industry stakeholders took decisive measures in this direction. In particular, the Cotton Textile Code abolished child labor, introduced the maximum workweek of 40 hours, and set a minimum weekly wage of $13 and $12 in the North and the South, respectively. Despite such industry initiatives, many stakeholders advocated for the introduction of strict legislation ensuring the consistency and clarity in worker protection. From this perspective, the situation prior to the adoption of the Fair Labor Standards Act resembles the current situation in the AI sector. Many tech companies set voluntary restrictions and adopted comprehensive ethics codes; moreover, several firms encourage the government to focus on managing only high-risk areas and letting the industry manage other risks of AI technology. However, the majority of stakeholders believe that self-regulation might be insufficient for addressing all the risks of AI and call for strict regulation. 

The Fair Labor Standards Act is sometimes depicted as a revolutionary piece of legislation. Some other scholars, however, believe that it was a weak law that covered only approximately 20% of the U.S. labor force. Furthermore, it left many loopholes, such as those pertaining to the employment of independent contractors instead of employees. Nevertheless, it contributed to the consistency and uniformity in terms of labor laws and prevented the occurrence of unpopular legal cases protecting employers from any liability for violating workers’ rights. Several years before the law’s adoption, the Supreme Court made a controversial decision in Morehead v. Tipaldo, in which it essentially voided the New York law on minimum wages as a violation of the liberty of contract. The Fair Labors Standard Act made such cases impossible. Whereas the measures required by the Act could be regarded as insufficient, they still created a certain basis upon which further developments in worker protection could be built. 

5.7. Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Plan

The so-called Build Back Better Plan refers to a legislative framework that was introduced by Joe Biden. It was initially created as the most ambitious public investment project since the 1930s that comprised the American Families, American Jobs, and American Rescue plans focused on different fields. Not all of them have been eventually adopted as laws. The American Rescue Plan was signed into law in 2021. At the same time, two other parts of the framework were significantly changed before being adopted. In particular, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act incorporated only some of the infrastructural goals of the American Jobs Plan. Furthermore, the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 encompasses many essential parts of the American Families Plan and American Jobs Plan, although it does not include the safety net proposals. Considering that this part of the white paper is concerned with the examination of various regulatory options rather than final bills, it seems justified to review the main aspects of the initial Build Back Better Plan as a revolutionary instrument that was expected to provide relief to American society, introduce the concept of family leave, reduce the U.S. contributions to climate change, and offer a number of other initiatives that are relevant to the current research.

The American Rescue Plan included a number of cash payments and supplements to stakeholders affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 extended weekly unemployment benefits to $300, removed a tax on the first $10,200 in unemployment benefits, provided direct stimulus payments ($1,400) to eligible individuals, provided emergency paid leave, offered tax credits, increased food stamp benefits, expanded the child tax, child and dependent care, and earned income tax credits, increased taxes on large corporations and wealthy individuals, and offered grants to small businesses. Additional stimulus was provided to education, state and local government aid, housing, COVID-19 provisions, transportation, healthcare, and cybersecurity. The law was ambitious in its focus on a significant part of the U.S. population. According to the study by Jorda et al., the Act and other fiscal measures of the U.S. government raised inflation rates by around 3%. At the same time, the scientists believe that the absence of such measures would have resulted in deflation and slow economic growth. The case of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 shows how a series of decisive measures can provide relief to a substantial part of the population by making direct cash payments to individuals and businesses, while also utilizing fiscal tools to relieve the fiscal pressure on low-income and middle-income households at the expense of high-income individuals and large corporations. 

The American Jobs Plan was an ambitious strategy to create numerous jobs, strengthen employment protection measures, and reduce the negative effects of climate change. Using the successful example of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Biden administration aimed at making large investments in infrastructure. They planned to invest approximately $4 trillion in physical infrastructure, public housing, research and development, and the “care economy”. It was planned to increase corporate tax rates, thus partially reversing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, while also eliminating subsidies for fossil fuel corporations and utilizing the instrument of deficit spending. Compared to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the American Jobs Plan used similar instruments, but it had a broader scope since it targeted a number of policy areas that were not traditionally associated with infrastructure. 

The American Families Plan included a set of provisions that were supposed to provide quantifiable benefits to households. In particular, the Biden administration planned to use $1 trillion and $800 billion in spending and tax credits, respectively, to increase spending on childcare, ensure the availability of free pre-kindergarten services, allocate money to paid family and medical leave, ensure the availability of free community colleges, and provide health insurance subsidies. The initiatives were supposed to be funded using fiscal measures, such as increasing tax rates for wealthy individuals.  

The Build Back Better Plan was a highly ambitious strategy, which explains why many of its provisions have not been adopted in their original form. Nonetheless, it provides examples of many interesting instruments that can be used to provide relief to individuals and households affected by crises, such as the creation of new jobs through investment in infrastructure, the extension of social safety nets in the form of paid leave, unemployment benefits, and direct cash payments, and the introduction of free healthcare and education services. Most of the measures, especially those related to the COVID-19 pandemic, cannot be directly applied to the case of AI because they were a direct response to the large crisis and, therefore, targeted the short-term perspective. At the same time, those instruments that were included in the American Families Plan and the American Jobs Plan were supposed to become the mechanisms for driving long-term changes. Therefore, some of them may be considered when analyzing possible regulatory frameworks for addressing the risks of AI. 

5.8. Initiatives to Support the Transition from Fossil Fuels to Renewable Energy in the United States

The COVID-19 pandemic contributed to the loss of thousands of jobs in the energy industry. The country’s energy sector lost 840,000 jobs in 2020 as a result of the crisis, which accounted for approximately 10% of the workforce. Interestingly, natural gas fuels and petroleum lost approximately 21% of employees, while wind and solar sectors, in contrast, exhibited a 1.8% growth. Given the large environmental impact of non-renewable energy sectors, finding a way to facilitate a transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy could be an environmentally sound program that also was likely to produce significant job gains. The Biden administration launched many initiatives in this area. They are worth examining in the current study because they offer avenues for supporting a workforce transition to new sectors, something that might be useful when addressing the risks of AI. 

The record sale of six wind leases is one of the most well-known initiatives in this area. According to the Interior Secretary, “the investments we are seeing today will play an important role in delivering on the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to tackle the climate crisis and create thousands of good-paying, union jobs across the nation”. One of the advantages of the project is that it is expected to provide significant benefits to local communities, including underprivileged households, by adding thousands of jobs in different sectors and powering more than 2 million homes. A number of other initiatives support the promotion of wind and solar energy. For instance, the Department of Transportation made power investments to facilitate the development of those areas in which offshore wind turbine components will be built and staged. A recently announced pilot program to support the deployment of clean energy in underserved rural communities was launched as part of the American Rescue Plan. It implies not only supporting regional coalitions and encouraging the development of industry clusters but also providing job training so that more people could work in renewable energy projects. All these initiatives are expected to support a gradual transition of the energy workforce from fossil fuels to renewables. 

The initiatives discussed in this section represent a set of separate measures that pursue similar goals. They seek to support the development of renewable energy projects in a way that provides maximum benefits to underserved communities and low-income individuals. These initiatives follow the logic of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, although all of them focus exclusively on renewable energy programs. The emphasis on training, however, illustrates the long-term perspective of these measures. Unlike the Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, these initiatives aim at supporting long-term changes in the U.S. economy. Therefore, their example might be useful when discussing ways to address the risks of AI, which certainly has been causing long-term transformations in the economy and society. 

Chapter 6. Potential Solutions for Regulation

6.1. Introduction

The previous chapters of this white paper showed that AI is a complex technological advancement that has already made a disrupting impact on a number of industries as well as on humanity as a whole. Therefore, the question of how to address the risks of AI remains topical. The current chapter discusses a set of broad solutions and recommendations discussed in popular culture to address the threats of artificial intelligence. Unlike Chapter 7, which focuses on specific strategies and recommendations to mitigate the risks of AI in particular industries, this chapter offers a broad overview of the potential solutions that are often discussed as possible instruments to protect stakeholders from the threats of AI. It focuses on the analysis of the concept of universal income, reviews the main approaches to regulating AI, and elaborates on other solutions that can be instrumental in the context of AI. 

6.2. Universal Basic Income 

It was established in the previous parts of this white paper that artificial intelligence can lead to adverse social and economic implications. Two of them are especially important. First, the adoption of AI in different industries, such as manufacturing and financial services sectors, can trigger the loss of millions of jobs globally. Thus, it is necessary to find a way to protect these jobs or at least make sure that people who lose their jobs can support themselves during the transition period. From this perspective, stakeholders should consider some measures in the spirit of the tools introduced in the Trade Adjustment Assistance Acts. 

Second, the distribution of AI benefits is currently one of the key problems associated with the technology. Around 2.7 billion people still have never used the Internet. There is no reason to believe that the benefits of the Internet are distributed fairly in today’s globalized world since low Internet penetration rates prevent many people from taking advantage of the unique opportunities provided by the Internet. Ensuring the fair distribution of AI benefits currently seems to be an even more challenging task. To make sure that the further adoption of AI does not widen inequality gaps and does not provide disproportionate benefits to the rich, it is of paramount importance to create a set of instruments to extend the benefits of AI to all people, including those who have never used the Internet and AI in their lives. 

The concept of universal basic income (UBI) has been proposed as capable of meeting both these requirements. In the most general view, universal basic income can be defined as a system in which all citizens regularly receive a certain guaranteed income. It is crucial to emphasize that all citizens are eligible for UBI regardless of their demographic characteristics or employment status. In other words, those people who work a full-time job are supposed to receive the same amount of monthly payment as those who are unemployed. The feature of unconditional payment is the most important characteristic of UBI that makes it fundamentally different from the majority of other initiatives involving the provision of cash payments to citizens. Citizens who receive UBI would not face exhaustive bureaucratic barriers since they would not need to prove their entitlement to the program. Another important feature of the concept is its focus on cash payments. Whereas many countries use taxpayers’ money to invest in education, healthcare, or other areas, proponents of UBI believe that taxpayers are in the best position to decide on the best ways to spend their money. Thus, allocating a certain part of the budget to make such direct cash payments to citizens would benefit the economy. Moreover, payments are supposed to be regular and predictable, thus reducing citizens’ stress and helping them plan their future. 

The concept of universal basic income has a set of advantages and disadvantages. The first benefit of UBI is poverty reduction. According to recent estimations, 659 million people live on less than $2.15 per day. The overwhelming majority of Global South countries, including those with large gross domestic products, struggle with finding the best ways to support marginalized communities and impoverished individuals. The idea of offering a cash payment to all citizens, therefore, is promising since it could result in poverty reduction. Some specialists, however, are skeptical regarding the ability of UBI to eliminate poverty. Hanna and Olken, who investigated the experience of Peru and Indonesia, came to the conclusion that targeted programs are much more potent than universal programs in transferring welfare to impoverished individuals on a per-beneficiary basis. Some individuals might be excluded from targeted programs, but they still reportedly perform better than universal projects focusing on the entire population. Zon is of the opinion that UBI is a weak measure that is incapable of reducing poverty unless the amount of a universal basic income equals the minimum wage, which is implausible given the cost of such a proposal. In theory, the introduction of a universal basic income linked to the minimum income standard level would eradicate poverty, which was demonstrated by Connolly et al. However, the costs of a UBI program that provides such a significant cash payment that eradicates poverty might put a significant financial burden on taxpayers. 

The second positive effect of UBI is connected with physical and mental health. According to the study by Painter, a universal basic income has the potential to enhance both the physical and mental health of individuals. Painter argues that the government must proceed with testing this promising instrument in order not to miss a unique opportunity that presented itself to humanity. Ruckert et al. point out that UBI can be highly effective in reducing health inequalities because it can provide all individuals with the means to afford healthy living. In general, it is important to emphasize that whereas the impact of UBI on poverty is often depicted as a controversial issue, its impact on the population’s health hardly is an object of debate. Sometimes specialists disagree on the price of UBI, but there is a consensus among them that the majority of UBI projects are highly likely to improve physical and mental health.

The third advantage of UBI is that providing citizens with cash payments can boost their consumption. From this perspective, the rationale behind the introduction of a universal basic income is similar to the rationale behind quantitative easing. During the Great Recession as well as the post-crisis period, central banks of developed countries followed the Federal Reserve System’s example and injected substantial amounts of money into the economy to stimulate consumption. By using the instrument of open market operations, central banks provided financial institutions with substantial amounts of money, which were supposed to encourage lending and, by extension, consumption. In a similar manner, the provision of cash payments to individuals also can be seen as an attempt to encourage consumption, which can positively influence the economy. MacNeil and Vibert admit that there are currently no studies that would specifically examine the impact of UBI on consumption. Therefore, as the scientists explain, any assumptions concerning the relationship between UBI and consumption patterns are made on the basis of similar cases involving targeted or universal programs. The conclusions of the studies covering other programs might not be always transferrable to the case of UBI because of the unique nature of this concept. In light of such controversy, the exact influence of UBI on consumption might be controversial. 

The fourth benefit that UBI might provide is improved social security. This concept can supposedly provide financial security during times of uncertainty. When employees lose their jobs, the provision of cash payments can help them meet basic needs and avoid the most negative implications of job displacement. Straubhaar is enthusiastic about the future of UBI. He describes this instrument as a “liberal”, “contemporary”, and “just” mechanism that “offers the best social-political prerequisite for “prosperity for all” in the 21st century”. The scholar argues that UBI is a result of decades of research in social security that offers a set of unprecedented benefits. Koistinen and Perkio point out that social security is the essence of any universal basic income proposal and even argue that there have been many UBI-like social security proposals, thus equating UBI to a set of other initiatives that were implemented by governments in different regions of the globe. Like in the case of poverty, the positive influence of UBI on social security boils down to a cost-benefit tradeoff. Large cash payments can help workers maintain a high quality of living after losing a job, but funding such a program could become an unbearable financial burden for any government, especially considering that even unemployment programs are often criticized for their inefficiency. 

Finally, the last factor that is sometimes presented as a positive aspect of UBI is the flowering of creativity and innovativeness. People who do not need to worry about satisfying their basic needs might have both the time and the willingness to generate new ideas. One might argue that not all people are in a position to produce innovations; however, such an argument can be countered by claiming that even a person without creative abilities can engage in meaningful social innovations, such as time banking projects. The rationale behind this assumption is rooted in Maslow’s theory of needs claiming that people who satisfy so-called “lower-order” needs are supposed to move towards “higher-order” needs. Yun et al. assert that a combination of UBI and some other factors, such as capital fluidity and a sharing economy, can stimulate open innovation dynamics and contribute to the transformation of a country into an entrepreneurial state. In the long-term perspective, UBI can allegedly address the risks of capitalism. The positive impact of UBI on creativity is currently hard to demonstrate because of the lack of similar initiatives and the fact that such issues as creativity are much harder to assess than poverty or health. 

In addition to the benefits of UBI, such a concept also is characterized by a set of drawbacks and risks. First, any social security initiative that includes UBI-like elements is hard to fund because of its large scope, especially if considered on a global scale. As stated above, a small-scale program providing a small amount of money to citizens is unlikely to ensure social security and reduce poverty rates; therefore, the amount of monthly payments should at least equal the minimum wage level. The study by Rincon et al. states that the overwhelming majority of individuals would not support the idea of UBI if it were funded by reducing the existing benefits. Most of them, at the same time, are enthusiastic about the idea of increasing taxes for large corporations and individuals whose income significantly exceeds the median level. Monnier and Vercellone put forward a proposal to use monetary supply to fund a part of UBI payments. Such a proposal seems strange given the high inflationary risks associated with the regular use of monetary supply as a form of providing direct cash payments to the population. Such a risk would be especially critical for Global South countries, which sometimes struggle with maintaining low inflation rates even at normal times. After a detailed discussion of the possible options, Monnier and Vercellone conclude that reforms in the tax systems are the most promising mechanism to fund a basic universal income. Ghatak and Jaravel also believe that taxes are the only viable option to fund UBI. The scientists point out that increasing the tax rate for rich individuals and large corporations, which is the most popular proposal among the proponents of the UBI concept, would be insufficient for covering a universal basic income. Thus, an increase in tax rates for middle-income and low-income individuals also would be mandatory to cover the cost of the universal income program. 

Second, one might argue that the construct of UBI is unfair. Whereas proponents of this concept argue that UBI is a fair instrument that can reduce poverty and promote equality, the sole idea of a universal basic income is that all citizens of a country, including both the rich and the poor, would be entitled to the same cash payments. In other words, shareholders of multinational corporations and those individuals who have high-paid jobs would receive the same cash payments as those people who live in poverty. Such an approach is heavily criticized by some specialists as unfair since it reportedly defeats its own purpose. From this perspective, targeted programs seem to be a better alternative since they provide payments only to those people who actually need financial assistance. 

Third, the argument that UBI would stimulate individuals to be creative and innovative is controversial. There is currently no evidence to suggest that UBI can encourage the satisfaction of higher-order needs in accordance with the principles of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory. As stated above, creativity is hard to conceptualize and assess. Apparently, there are numerous moderating and mediating variables that affect the effects of UBI on this phenomenon, thus making it hard to forecast the implications of a large-scale UBI program. 

One of the popular arguments against UBI is that a universal basic income would inevitably make a part of the population lazy, discouraging people from making an effort to work. By being discouraged from working, many people would not have the motivation to innovate. From this perspective, UBI could be compared to a Laissez-faire leadership style, which implies providing subordinates with full control over the completion of their tasks and allowing them to use any means they see fit to fulfill their job responsibilities. The available evidence provides a compelling reason to assert that some people, who are mostly competent specialists with a solid educational background, might benefit from a Laissez-faire leadership style of their manager since it would provide them with more flexibility, while others, in contrast, would perform poorly in an environment without external pressure. In a similar manner, UBI also can discourage many people from working since it would remove the factor of external pressure that forces many individuals to put extra efforts to succeed in their job. Other individuals, at the same time, might thrive in such a new environment and produce impressive innovations. 

The concept of UBI is often discussed in relation to AI. Potentially, the integration of artificial intelligence into various industries would dramatically increase productivity and performance, leading to an increase in both revenues and profits. As a result, both large businesses and governments would have additional money that could be used to fund UBI. Bruun and Duka recently made a detailed proposal for using UBI to mitigate the negative social effects of AI. The initialization stage of the proposal involves setting up funding for UBI think tanks and discussing the potential effects of UBI programs with relevant stakeholders, whereas the testing stage involves conducting a nationwide experiment, gathering evidence, and publishing an extensive research paper. Finally, the last stages are supposed to entail creating a government agency dedicated to UBI, changing school curricula accordingly, introducing the UBI law, and slashing government agencies that are currently responsible for various social welfare programs. It is crucial to emphasize that Bruun and Dukaadvocate for industry-specific cases so that those sectors that heavily rely on AI would fund UBI. 

Wright and Przegalinska go as far as saying that humanity will be doomed if a universal basic income is not introduced. They believe that AI-based robots and other tools will eventually replace the majority of jobs, while the remaining employees will receive low wages. In this situation, a universal basic income is presented by these scholars as one of the few ways to “save humanity”. Korinek and Stiglitz do not use such strong words, but they also agree that a universal basic income is one of the obvious mechanisms to mitigate the social risks of AI. Regardless of whether one agrees with the potential of UBI to prevent the threats of artificial intelligence, the significance of UBI within the context of AI is worth discussing. 

6.3. Regulation of AI

At the moment, the regulation of AI is a highly controversial issue. Stakeholders do not agree even on the basic approach to regulating artificial intelligence. Some of them support a centralized approach that addresses AI as a unique technological advancement. Such a position, in particular, is supported by OpenAI and Microsoft, which advocate for the establishment of a separate federal agency in the United States that would license all AI products. Other stakeholders believe that adopting such a radical stance would hamper innovation and reduce investment in AI, thus slowing down scientific and technological progress as well as economic growth. Google and IBM both insist on the need to use a risk-based framework that focuses on particular industries that are most likely to suffer from the adverse implications of AI and adopt separate measures to prevent all the threats of AI without disrupting the research and development activities involving this technology. Proponents of this approach usually dislike the idea of a separate agency that would be responsible for licensing AI. 

In most cases, the establishment of a separate agency and the use of a risk-based framework are presented as mutually exclusive strategies. But a detailed analysis of most proposals leads to the conclusion that companies that advocate for the use of a strict licensing approach by a separate agency also mostly support a risk-based framework. Therefore, the idea of using a risk-based approach is not controversial since it is supported by the majority of stakeholders. The establishment of a new agency responsible for licensing AI products, however, is an object of intense debate. 

The available evidence provides a compelling reason to believe that the question of whether a government must license and certify all AI products can be resolved after examining the risks of the technology. In other words, those stakeholders who believe that the benefits of AI significantly exceed its risks, which is one of the main pillars of Google’s AI ethics framework, discourage policymakers from creating a separate agency responsible for monitoring AI products. Apparently, such stakeholders perceive AI as a new technology that can be compared to many previous inventions, such as the Internet of Things or big data. Using the logic of such stakeholders, one can ask why policymakers do not license new IoT devices or big data solutions yet are supposed to license AI tools. From this perspective, the only valid argument in favor of establishing a separate agency responsible for AI is that artificial intelligence poses unprecedented risks to humanity that significantly exceed those posed by big data, IoT, and other disruptive technologies that were introduced recently. For those who do not agree with such a statement, the idea of establishing a separate agency responsible for AI might seem ungrounded. 

The idea of establishing a separate agency responsible for AI and licensing all AI products is not in line with the previous regulatory trends. However, dramatically changing the regulatory landscape is not an unprecedented endeavor. The Sherman Antitrust, Trade Adjustment Assistance, Sarbanes-Oxley, and Fair Labor Standards Acts all are examples of unique pieces of legislation that introduced new standards that were not previously used in U.S. legislation. The Fair Labor Standards Act set minimum wage levels, established the maximum workweek, and banned child labor in certain industries, which, in the opinion of some policymakers, journalists, economists, and businesspersons, could negatively influence the competitiveness of the U.S. economy. The Trade Adjustment Assistance Acts created monetary benefits and training programs for employees who have lost their jobs due to imports, outsourcing, and overseas manufacturing. Such an initiative was unconventional. The Sarbanes-Oxley Act disrupted the existing organizational frameworks responsible for monitoring the transparency, accuracy, reliability, and accountability of accounting processes by introducing a series of new tools. As stated above, many specialists still are of the opinion that this piece of legislation created unnecessary regulatory barriers for U.S. companies and reduced the attractiveness of the U.S. economy for foreign investors. Finally, the Sherman Antitrust Act banned trusts and monopolies, thus making an unconventional step to protect the interests of society. 

All of these laws are similar to each other in addressing an important challenge that could not be dealt with using the existing means. For instance, the Sherman Antitrust Act banned trusts because the growing threats of monopolies and trusts could not be prevented using the existing instruments to support healthy competition. If one agrees with the premise that AI is a critical challenge for society rather than one of many technologies that are introduced by tech companies, the idea of licensing AI tools and creating a separate agency to monitor the performance of AI tools might seem justified. 

Another important issue pertaining to the regulation of AI is connected with liability. As stated above, the contemporary regulatory environments are not ready for AI. In December 2019, an individual driving a new Tesla car with an AI navigation system killed two persons in an accident and faced twelve years in prison, even though the accident was caused by the AI rather than the driver. The contemporary criminal system mostly uses the construct of human liability to prosecute cases involving AI, something that might be erroneous given the unique circumstances of accidents caused by artificial intelligence. Deciding on who will be liable for AI-related damages is an important factor. At the moment, users of AI products that cause injuries to other people are likely to be sued for negligence, and courts might find them guilty for breaching the duty of care. However, in the case of sophisticated AI algorithms, it would be much more difficult to establish liability. The most well-known arguments related to this matter revolve around insurance, testing, and user negligence. While some specialists are of the opinion that insurance companies should shoulder the responsibility for AI-cased accidents, others insist that the most important issue in this field is to strictly monitor the process of testing all AI products to minimize the risk of such cases. 

6.4. Other Solutions

Some unconventional solutions besides the ones discussed above also can be put forward as possible instruments to mitigate the risks of AI. In particular, one of the ways to address this problem is to follow the example of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in creating new jobs. Such an initiative might seem radical; however, if it is implemented on a small scale, it would require such substantial amounts of money as a universal basic income program. The government could consider creating new jobs in a series of sectors along with intensive training programs to help displaced employees adapt to the situation and secure a stable income. Such a proposal is based on the premise that AI will not cause a substantial number of job losses, but rather will dramatically overhaul the labor market. In such a situation, job-creating initiatives in the spirit of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act could help employees adjust to new conditions of the labor market, acquire new skills, and contribute to the completion of important projects. 

Another important solution is investment in AI research. This white paper demonstrated that progress in the AI sector is mainly driven by industry, whereas both academia and policymakers lag behind industry leaders. In this situation, the full spectrum of benefits and risks of AI products is not entirely understood, which creates a dangerous situation in which companies introduce new AI tools to the market without realizing the possible implications of their products to the economy and society. To address this issue, stakeholders must increase investments in AI research to ensure awareness of AI risks and support decision-making among policymakers. Governments, international organizations, and large corporations should consider increasing investment in AI research to produce extensive evidence for the positive and negative implications of various AI algorithms and large language models. The factor of collaboration plays an especially important role here. Some specialists advocate for the establishment of intergovernmental organizations and partnerships involving various stakeholders to accelerate the pace of AI research and stimulate the exchange of knowledge. Investment in AI research is an important measure that would be beneficial for all stakeholders, including governments, tech companies, and society. 

Cooperation between tech companies involved in the development of AI products is currently one of the most important strategies to protect humanity against AI risks. One of the most important points of the AI ethics framework used by OpenAI is that the company promises that if some other company comes close to creating artificial general intelligence, OpenAI will stop competing with this project and instead will start assisting with its further development. The adoption of similar principles by other tech companies would be highly desirable to make sure that humanity can address the risks produced by uncontrolled progress in the field of artificial intelligence. Close cooperation between the leading tech companies would stimulate the exchange of knowledge and best practices, eventually contributing to the effectiveness of other measures controlling AI progress. Therefore, regardless of the specific regulatory frameworks and self-regulation methods that are used to address AI risks, the collaboration of industry stakeholders is mandatory to manage the development of AI products. 

Self-regulation is undoubtedly a relevant measure in relation to the problem under investigation. Companies can adopt internal organizational policies and practices to make sure that the AI products that they produce are safe, accurate, and reliable. As a parallel, many companies recently adopted comprehensive corporate social responsibility strategies in order to improve their reputation and gain a sustainable competitive advantage. Recycling programs, energy efficiency projects, and other green initiatives have reduced harmful emissions produced by large corporations. At the same time, one might argue that the magnitude of these reductions was insufficient and that radical regulatory measures would have made much more impressive progress in protecting the environment from harmful activities. The examples of the Sherman Antitrust Act, Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, and Sarbanes-Oxley Act illustrate that self-regulation might be incapable of addressing significant social problems because while some companies are willingly changing their practices to respond to the expectations of stakeholders, others continue focusing on reducing costs, which involves creating trusts, reducing the bargaining power of customers, and making employees work overtime. In this situation, the argument that self-regulation is insufficient for addressing the risks of AI seems convincing.

Finally, the last measure that should be discussed is the integration of AI topics in university - and even K12 - curricula. If AI is to become an inalienable part of human life, all individuals must be aware of at least the basic principles of AI use and the main benefits and risks associated with this technology. AI competence is likely to turn into a critical prerequisite for many employees entering the labor market. Therefore, teaching young people the basic aspects of AI is a natural change that should follow the further integration of AI into various industries. The proposed measure involves introducing a subject focusing on the basic principles of AI algorithms, the specifics of large language models, and the ethics of AI. Higher awareness of AI, in such a situation, will turn into a higher awareness of AI risks. As a result of such changes in the education system, users are likely to be better equipped to deal with AI risks, and more likely to ensure equitable access to the prosperity generated by AI development. 

6.5. Recommendations

The previous sections of this chapter offer a review of a set of options that are often discussed as possible instruments to manage AI risks. This section, at the same time, introduces the author’s recommendations based on a detailed analysis of these options. It should be noted, however, that this analysis is not concerned with industry-specific factors. A discussion of industry-specific recommendations can be found in the next chapter of the white paper. 

The evidence presented in the study provides a compelling reason to believe that a universal basic income should not be used to manage AI risks. In theory, the concept of UBI might look like a promising solution that is capable of reducing poverty, providing social security, boosting consumption, enhancing the population’s health, and promoting creativity. However, in practice, most of the positive scenarios involving the use of UBI to achieve such outcomes are utopian. To the best of the author’s knowledge, there is currently no study that would convincingly prove that UBI could promote creativity rather than reduce people’s incentive to work. The use of UBI can be a highly effective method to alleviate poverty and provide social security. However, it is currently unclear how a large-scale universal basic income program could be funded other than by increasing tax rates for the entire population. Equitable application of a UBI across the Global South seems impossible to fathom. Offering small cash payments, at the same time, would defeat the purpose of a program by failing to achieve any meaningful progress in improving health, reducing poverty rates, and increasing social security.

The disadvantages of UBI currently seem insurmountable. As stated above, the majority of proponents of UBI believe that “the rich” must fund this concept. However, simulations conducted by Ghatak and Jaravel  demonstrate that further increasing tax rates for high-income households and large corporations would be insufficient for covering the immense cost of a large-scale UBI program. Therefore, there is currently no solution to the problem of UBI funding. 

The argument that UBI could stimulate consumption is questionable. The instrument of quantitative easing, which implies injecting large amounts of money into the economy, implies providing financial institutions with the money that would be used to support businesses and the financial system. However, there is no reason to believe that individuals who receive cash payments from the state would use them in a way that supports the economy. People might utilize regular cash payments to travel abroad or invest in property in some other country. As a result, the UBI would take money from taxpayers without providing any visible benefit to the economy and the financial system. 

The arguments laid out above provide a compelling reason to state that UBI is not an optimal solution to manage the risks of AI. Creating a program that provides financial assistance to displaced employees and other individuals affected by the adverse implications of AI is a promising idea. However, there are currently no convincing arguments that would demonstrate why such a goal should be pursued using a universal basic income rather than a targeted program. Using past experience and the successful examples of various pieces of legislation, such as the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act, it seems justified to claim that governments should consider using a customized approach focusing on affected social groups rather than applying utopian universal programs that are unprecedentedly expensive yet do not offer proven benefits. 

A targeted program focusing on affected individuals, especially displaced employees, would be capable of addressing the social risks of AI without creating an unnecessary financial burden for governments. A gradual increase in corporate taxes, in such a situation, would be sufficient for covering the program’s funding. Given the large increase in productivity and performance delivered by AI, corporations are in a position to fund such a financial assistance program. Using the example of the trade adjustment assistance projects, policymakers should make sure that the programs offer not only regular cash payments during a prolonged period of time but also comprehensive training programs that would help individuals succeed in a work environment dominated by AI and ML. 

A large-scale targeted program focusing on displaced employees is not the only recommendation to mitigate the risks of AI. The available evidence indicates that job creation initiatives, investment in AI research, and changes in the education system also are important measures that must be applied to protect humanity against the threats of AI. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act demonstrated that job creation initiatives can exhibit impressive performance in reducing unemployment rates in times of uncertainty. Governments can use the successful examples of this piece of legislation and launch a series of job creation initiatives in those sectors that are most affected by AI. These projects would support targeted assistance programs for displayed employees, shielding affected social groups from the risks of AI. Investment in AI research also is a mandatory element of a strategy to ensure the safety of artificial intelligence. Wealthy governments must allocate a budget to fund AI research in the form of grants and programs focusing on specific risks related to this technology. Finally, changes in the education system are required to increase public awareness of AI, prepare future employees for working in an AI-dominated environment, meet the employers’ demand for employees who are competent in AI, and make sure that people are fully aware of the dangers of artificial intelligence and the mitigation methods that they can use to reduce the likelihood and potential impact of AI threats. 

Cooperation and self-regulation are relevant factors that can significantly reduce the significance of social and economic risks associated with AI. However, there is currently no instrument that policymakers could use to make companies intensify their efforts in developing AI ethics frameworks and intensifying cooperation with other stakeholders other than by setting strict requirements in regard to specific organizational policies and practices related to AI research and development. One might assume that if governments succeed in integrating AI into education curricula and raising public awareness of AI, tech companies involved in AI research would be interested in adopting responsible AI frameworks, engaging in AI research, and cooperating with other tech firms in mitigating AI risks. Such a scenario could be compared to the growing importance of corporate social responsibility initiatives that are implemented by companies from different regions of the globe in an attempt to improve their public image. If stakeholders start expecting tech companies to have detailed ethics frameworks that address all the risks of AI in a responsible manner that differs from the “competitive race” that is currently pursued by many corporations, such as Google, companies will be forced to respond to such an expectation. This way, both self-regulation and cooperation will be leveraged to mitigate the risks of AI.

From the perspective of regulatory measures that address AI, this paper recommends that policymakers adopt unconventional methods to address the risks of this technology because of the unprecedented nature of the challenges caused by this invention. The evidence examined in the study leads to the conclusion that AI is capable of disrupting a number of industries, dramatically increasing unemployment rates, making humanity overly reliant on technology, and creating a number of other economic and social risks. Many technologies, such as the Internet of Things and big data, also created certain risks, but the magnitude of these threats is incompatible with the dystopian scenarios that might unfold if humanity does not take immediate measures to control the uncontrolled growth of AI. Therefore, the critical risks related to AI call for the use of unconventional methods. In a similar manner, the rise of monopolies and trusts, the abuse of workers’ rights, and the failure of public companies to ensure the accuracy, reliability, and transparency of accounting processes encouraged policymakers to take radical measures embedded in the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, respectively. The arguments laid out above show that the rise of AI constitutes a disrupting event accompanied by a set of serious threats that call for the use of unconventional and radical measures.

The establishment of a separate agency under the Department of Commerce that licenses all large language models is a necessary measure. Whereas it will inevitably slow down progress in the field of AI, such a measure will reduce the threats of AI and allow academia and policymakers to keep pace with industry stakeholders engaged in the development of AI tools. A thorough certification process using a set of standard measures will promote the uniformity of AI standards, stimulate the development of standardized instruments to address the most important AI risks, and encourage companies to adopt more robust frameworks to test their AI products. The licensing process must involve detailed requirements regarding the features of AI tools, such as explainability, accountability to humans, transparency, and fairness. It also is supposed to make sure that the training of large language models does not violate copyright laws. The performance of large language models should be carefully monitored to make sure that all the aspects of AI hallucinations and potential errors should be monitored and explained in detail, thus providing users with an opportunity to use AI products knowing the full spectrum of their strengths and limitations. In addition to the establishment of a separate agency, policymakers also are recommended to adopt a risk-based framework to develop customized solutions for high-risk industries so that each risk would be protected from the risks of AI. 

Chapter 7. Recommended Regulatory Proposals 

7.1. Introduction of the Two-Layer Framework

The current white paper suggests the use of a two-layer framework to regulate the risks associated with artificial intelligence. The first layer of the framework includes a set of measures that control the development of the technology and the risks that are associated with it. These measures are universal and apply to all sectors of the economy. The second layer, simultaneously, includes a set of customized measures that are to be applied in particular industries to address the unique AI risks that they face, and is described in the next section. 

Thus, the first layer of the proposed framework will be based on the EU AI Act, which includes a set of provisions for addressing the risks of AI. First, it will regulate the use of data in pre-training AI models. In particular, AI developers should be prohibited to use copyrighted content without the explicit consent of its rights holder. Industries might consider different instruments to simplify the provision of such consent, such as industry-wide agreements. At the same time, the prohibition of the use of copyrighted content without the explicit consent of their authors or adequate compensation must be included in the AI Act because this issue is one of the few matters on which the majority of specialists, scientists, and practitioners agree. 

Second, the government must create an independent federal agency under the Department of Commerce that is responsible for licensing and auditing of AI companies. This agency would be headed by a five-member Commission. The Commissioners would be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. In the United States, for example, the government is recommended to create a separate federal agency that would issue licenses for all large language models meeting a set of criteria and provide regular audits of these models. The magnitude of the AI risks faced by the economy and society is significant, justifying the use of radical measures, such as the ones prescribed in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Fair Labor Standard Act. Therefore, the introduction of the AI Act establishes the basic rights and responsibilities related to the use of AI and creates a separate agency that issues licenses for large language models and monitors their use through regular audits. 

In addition to the establishment of the agency, the AI Act also is supposed to include provisions related to the allocation of money for AI adjustment programs, AI education campaigns, and AI projects as well as the requirements related to self-regulation in the area of AI and the provision of severance and transition periods for employees who are let go because of AI. The requirement related to self-regulation can be compared to the introduction of new requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. There is currently no premise to believe that companies can shoulder the prevention of AI risks by introducing effective self-regulation instruments. Therefore, it is necessary to set mandatory measures that will guide companies’ self-regulation. Those firms that use AI algorithms and meet size requirements will be obligated to appoint an AI officer who will be responsible for monitoring the use of AI tools, preventing AI risks, and ensuring the compliance of the company with AI guidelines and the AI Act. Those companies that do not use AI or do not meet the size requirements should not have such an officer, but they still need to have clear documentation of the ethics regulating the use of their large language models. 

Another provision of the AI Act pertains to AI adjustment assistance programs. As will be shown below, AI adjustment assistance programs will be modeled on the basis of trade adjustment assistance programs introduced by the Trade Adjustment Assistance Act. They will include the provision of regular financial assistance to affected employees as well as training sessions that could help these individuals acquire new skills and knowledge. Employees from any industry will be able to apply for participation in AI adjustment assistance programs, but the eligibility criteria will be established separately for each section. 

All the companies whose valuation is above $5 billion will be required to provide severance and transition periods to the employees who are considered to be at risk of being displaced by AI. A specific discussion of such periods and requirements will be provided below. At the same time, it is crucial to emphasize that all large corporations will be required to display transparency in regard to the integration of AI into their operations, regularly identify “at-risk” workers in terms of the likelihood of being replaced by AI, provide the mandatory transition periods for all employees who are laid off due to AI, and pay severance to all these individuals. The government also will issue mandatory training programs for all the individuals from the “at-risk” category to better prepare them for a possible job shift. 

The United States already invests significant amounts of money in infrastructure projects that can help reduce the adverse effects of job displacement for many communities. At the same time, investment in AI education companies is recommended as a promising solution to facilitate the process of re-skilling the labor force and help them complete a successful career shift. By creating public-private partnerships with companies offering AI education services, the government will empower employees to acquire new skills and knowledge. Many of the displaced workers also will be able to take advantage of the current initiatives aimed at investing in infrastructure projects across the country. Finally, it also is important to create a separate program to support the introduction of AI projects in areas populated by low-income individuals and underserved communities. This proposal is in line with the set of initiatives related to the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy that was discussed in the previous section. By stimulating the creation of new AI projects across the country, such as autonomous vehicles development plants, healthcare AI development projects, smart city initiatives, agricultural automation programs, and virtual reality startups, governments could stimulate the creation of new jobs, contribute to the acquisition of AI knowledge and skills by the workforce, and support the growth of the AI sector while addressing its social and economic risks. 

The second layer of the proposed framework applies to each sector, with industry-specific requirements to address industry-specific risks. 

7.2. Recommendations for the Manufacturing and Transportation Sectors

The manufacturing and transportation sectors are those industries that are likely to lose a significant number of jobs as a result of the rise of AI. Many employees of the manufacturing sector and logistics facilities are low-skilled and generally have a low level of income. Therefore, they must be protected to make sure that the development of AI technology does not dramatically decrease their social security. To protect workers from the negative effects of AI, stakeholders should consider the following measures:

  • To offer extensive AI adjustment assistance programs to all displaced employees of the manufacturing and transportation sectors that involve providing regular financial assistance for at least 3 years and retraining them to help these people pursue new job positions that are connected with AI;
  • To offer mandatory training programs to those people who are at risk of displacement by AI;
  • To invest in AI education campaigns to facilitate a career switch for many employees;
  • To obligate manufacturing and transportation companies to replace employees with AI in a regular manner, using long warning and transition periods;

A detailed description of the proposed measures can be found in the table below.

Table 3. Recommended Solutions for the Manufacturing and Transportation Industries

Measure

Details

AI adjustment assistance programs

  • All employees who have lost their manufacturing jobs to AI are entitled to monthly financial assistance for 3 years or until they find a new job with the required compensation;
  • All eligible employees can attend training courses that will help them acquire new skills in AI-related fields or other sectors;

Investment in AI education campaigns

  • Local governments will allocate funding to support AI education campaigns by creating public-private partnerships with AI companies specializing in the field of AI education;
  • AI education campaigns will provide employees of different industries with an opportunity to acquire new skills and knowledge;
  • AI education campaigns will have a practical focus since they will seek to enable a successful career shift

Warning and transition periods

  • All manufacturing, transportation, and logistics companies must be transparent regarding their plants to integrate AI into the organizational processes and the number of job losses associated with such a measure;
  • All manufacturing, transportation, and logistics must identify at-risk categories of employees that might be displaced by AI in the next year;
  • A firm cannot fire an employee displaced by AI unless he or she was previously put on this at-risk list;
  • A firm must offer a three-month transition period for all employees displaced by AI;
  • Being on the “at-risk” list is a mandatory condition for receiving financial assistance in line with the AI adjustment assistance programs

Mandatory training programs

  • All “at-risk employees” and those employees who started their three-month transition period must undergo a series of training courses to acquire new skills and prepare for a possible job shift

As the table below illustrates, the study proposes making the job replacement process as gradual as possible, using the “at-risk” criterion as a warning sign to help employees start their preparation for entering the labor market in a new job position. Mandatory training programs will start the preparation process while employees are still working on their previous jobs, while the AI adjustment assistance program will help these workers acquire new skills and eventually find a new job. Large-scale infrastructure projects that are currently funded by the government are expected to be an additional measure in helping affected communities survive large job losses in the manufacturing, transportation, and logistics industries. 

7.3. Recommendations for the Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry currently does not require such radical measures. As stated above, specialists are under the impression that AI will produce job gains rather than job losses in this sector. Therefore, the most important task of policymakers is to make sure that AI is being implemented in the industry in an adequate manner, using all the safety precautions and testing all products before their introduction. From this perspective, the proposed regulatory framework involving the mandatory testing of all AI products and compliance with a set of requirements discussed above seems to be the best solution for addressing the risks of AI in the healthcare sector. For this industry, the risks of AI are connected with the responsible use of the technology rather than the risk of job losses. 

One of the most important recommendations for the healthcare industry from the perspective of the problem under investigation is to safeguard patient information. Therefore, all AI models that are used in the sector must comply with strict requirements related to the anonymization and encryption of data as well as secure data storage. All healthcare organizations should be required to conduct annual audits of their AI algorithms to make sure that all AI models and algorithms used by these entities fully comply with relevant data protection regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in the USA. It also is important to make sure that these regular audits address the risk of algorithmic bias, such as in the case of the AI recruitment tools used in New York. Each healthcare facility must have a separate specialist responsible for the safety, transparency, reliability, accuracy, and accountability of AI algorithms. 

Given the significance of AI algorithms in the healthcare sector, it is necessary to set specific size requirements for healthcare facilities requiring all healthcare organizations that employ at least 30 individuals and use AI algorithms to have dedicated AI specialists and AI usage frameworks. In general, specific recommendations for the healthcare industry in relation to addressing the risks of AI mainly revolve around safeguarding patient data, conducting regular audits of AI algorithms, and strengthening self-regulation mechanisms by appointing AI officers and creating comprehensive AI usage frameworks.  

7.4. Recommendations for the Education Sector

The education sector experiences a number of threats related to AI. In addition to those measures that were already discussed above, policymakers and industry stakeholders should consider the following measures to minimize the negative impact of AI on the education sector:

  • To incorporate a new AI subject into school curricula;
  • To require educators to supervise all AI-based education systems;
  • To set strict data privacy regulations to safeguard student data and prevent the misuse of sensitive information by AI tools;
  • To introduce large-scale training programs for educators on the use of AI;
  • To facilitate collaborative learning by leveraging AI into creating collaborative learning environments;
  • To prioritize customization and personalization as the main avenues for AI integration in the education system;
  • To conduct regular audits of AI education tools to check them for bias and errors;
  • To encourage the development of open-source education tools to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and best practices;
  • To fund large-scale programs supporting the integration of AI in the education system;
  • To utilize AI adjustment assistance programs to support displaced employees of the education sector and help them find a job.

In general, the most important tasks faced by the education sector from the perspective of the problem under investigation are to equip teachers with the tools to use AI in the classroom, leverage the power of AI into customizing and enhancing learning experiences, ensuring the safety of AI, protecting the privacy of data, and supporting teachers and other employees who have lost their job to AI. There is no reason to believe that the number of educators who were placed by AI will be large. Nonetheless, stakeholders must be prepared for retraining these individuals and providing them with the means to maintain a sufficient quality of living until they find a new job. 

The role of AI in the education industry in the near future will mainly focus on creating customized learning experiences. Therefore, the most important recommendations for the sector are to ensure that customized education experiences comply with uniform standards. There is no need to conduct specific audits of each AI algorithm used in the education industry, but it seems necessary to carry out annual audits of the use of AI models and algorithms by each educational organization to make sure that these instruments are used in a way that is compatible with broad education goals and policies. The threats of AI to the labor market should be addressed by a set of regular measures in the case of the education sector, such as AI adjustment assistance programs and transition periods. At the same time, considering the unique nature of the education industry, the instrument of AI education campaigns can be especially effective in the sector. Large education institutions can become a basis for such education campaigns, whereas educators and administrators can become an important part of the target audience. 

7.5. Recommendations for the Industry of Financial Services

The sector of financial services is highly likely to be largely affected by AI. The main measures that must be used to reduce the risks of AI in the industry of financial services are as follows:

  • To create strict regulations for AI tools in the industry of financial services that would ensure the absence of algorithmic biases and regulatory compliance;
  • To leverage AI to detect fraud;
  • To ensure the uniformity of standards for AI algorithms that are used in everyday operations of financial institutions;
  • To make sure that all AI tools used in the industry of financial services are monitored and controlled by humans;
  • To set strict requirements regarding cybersecurity policies, such as the one requiring the presence of a separate employee responsible for the protection of AI models and algorithms from cybersecurity risks;
  • To foster collaboration between the public and private sectors to develop and implement responsible AI practices;
  • To introduce a requirement for all companies operating in the industry to provide transparent reports on AI usage;
  • To use the AI adjustment assistance program to assist those employees who have lost their job to AI. 

The majority of the recommendations resemble the ones that were formulated for other sectors. At the same time, there are several issues that should be highlighted. In particular, all companies operating in the industry of financial services should include separate sections on the use of AI algorithms in their annual reports. Furthermore, annual audits of AI algorithms must specifically focus on the prevention of the risk of algorithmic bias when making decisions regarding clients, something that is irrelevant for most other industries. Furthermore, it also is crucial to encourage strict cybersecurity policies because of the exposure of financial services organizations to cybersecurity risks. Considering the unique nature of the sector of financial services, companies should be prevented from using AI algorithms that were developed in-house without undergoing the process of certification. Therefore, unlike firms from most other industries, companies operating in the sector of financial services must either use approved AI algorithms or submit their own AI algorithms to the agency under the Department of Commerce for certification. 

7.6. Recommendations for the Film/Television Industry

The threat of AI seems to be distant for many sectors discussed in this study. However, the film/television industry has already faced a number of challenges related to the rise of AI. A number of AI tools are already widely used to cut costs, create appealing visual effects, and ensure the alignment of product features with viewers’ expectations. However, the strikes initiated by both actors and screenwriters show that stakeholders are becoming increasingly concerned about the risk of being replaced by AI tools, losing their digital “likeness”, and losing their right to credits. 

Most risks related to the film/television industry can be addressed in the AI Act, which must be adopted to address the main threats associated with the technology. In particular, as stated above, it is of paramount importance to regulate the use of copyrighted data for pre-training AI models, something that is a critical issue for screenwriters. 

The use of the digital “likeness” of actors is another vital issue that should be addressed in the legislation. The AI Act should clearly require that the use of the images and voices of individuals in pre-training AI models must occur exclusively upon receiving their informed consent. At the moment, actor unions claim that adopting such a clause would be insufficient because production companies would force all background actors to provide such consent, which then could be used to create “synthetic actors”.  However, all further issues in regard to the creation of “synthetic actors” and the use of actors’ data must be addressed by actor unions and production companies in the form of memorandums of agreement. The music industry has faced similar challenges, with concerns over artists signing over their Masters for life. The music industry has, and continues, to address such concerns in numerous ways: small labels offering alternatives, increased education around signing rights, etc. Similarly, the film and television industry will go through such a growth process, with unions ensuring that artists’ rights are protected. While policy makers and AI developers should support such union efforts, it is not the role of governments to further regulate to a degree that slows down the speed of content production or stifles economic growth. In other words, the current paper suggests the adoption of the informed consent clause in regard to the use of copyrighted data and the images and voices of actors as an important provision in the AI Act, and support of unions as they work within the industry to protect workers. Then, any other disagreements between stakeholders of the television/film industry in relation to the use of AI must be resolved through the instrument of self-regulation. 

The film/television industry is unique in terms of employment since many individuals do not have full-time jobs and are employed on a project basis. In this situation, protecting background actors using warning and transition periods and severance payments would not be plausible. At the same time, individuals who were employed at least in one film/television project in the last year should be eligible for AI adjustment and assistance programs, which will help them acquire new skills in AI-related fields and other sectors. Given the uncommon nature of the film/television industry, the measures taken by governments are limited. Therefore, actor and writer unions should play a major role in protecting the sector from AI risks via the instrument of self-regulation.

7.7. Recommendations for the Publishing Industry

The rise of AI in the publishing industry is likely to result in the loss of jobs among editors as well as some low-skilled employees employed in other segments of the sector. The magnitude of a possible job loss, however, is unlikely to be large. Those individuals who might be displaced because of AI can take advantage of AI adjustment assistance programs, which can help them acquire new skills and eventually find new jobs. The issue of the use of copyrighted content in pre-training AI models is supposed to be addressed in the AI Act. Most other concerns of the employees who might be affected by the integration of AI into the publishing industry, however, should be addressed through the mechanism of self-regulation. In particular, publishing companies are supposed to adopt a set of ethical guidelines and explicit standards regulating the use of artificial intelligence in different segments of the sector. 

As stated above, algorithmic bias currently seems to be the most important risk related to the integration of AI algorithms into the publishing industry. Many platforms try to leverage AI algorithms to customize news to the expectations of their target audience. Such a pattern can result in a situation when AI algorithms not only exhibit the bias resulting from their poor pre-training but also the bias that is directly incorporated from readers. Therefore, all AI algorithms that are used by companies operating in the sector must be submitted to the federal agency under the Department of Commerce. Publishing companies meeting a set of criteria in terms of size and market capitalization must be prohibited from using any AI algorithms except for those that are approved by the agency. 

7.8. Recommendations for the Creator Economy

The integration of AI into the creator economy does not require any specific measures besides the protection of copyrighted content in terms of its use in pre-training AI models. Unlike the manufacturing or transportation industries, the creator economy does not exist as a separate sector. It combines multiple jobs from different industries that involve the creation of diverse pieces of content. The concerns of all these employees mainly revolve around the use of their work by pre-trained models without the provision of their informed consent. Therefore, as stated above, it is crucial to address this issue by installing informed consent as a mandatory requirement for the use of copyrighted content by large language models. If content creators are affected by AI and have an employment status, they can apply for participation in AI adjustment assistance programs, which can support them during the transition period. The specific requirements for participating in AI adjustment assistance programs will be set separately for each sector. 

The creator economy is unlikely to experience adverse implications of AI in the near future - if anything, most creators will thrive. Therefore, one of the few regulatory measures that must be used in this field is to require the provision of informed consent regarding the use of copyrighted content when pre-training large language models. Companies that cooperate with content creators, such as publishing firms, are recommended to utilize AI detection tools, such as GPTZero. By using such advanced tools, stakeholders will prevent a decline in the quality of content and the use of large language models to create new content without human intervention. 

Chapter 8. Conclusion and Future Perspectives 

The study showed that AI is an important technological advancement that created significant benefits and challenges for humanity. The technology offers impressive opportunities for people and entire industries, but it also poses critical social and economic risks. In particular, the white paper showed that the adoption of AI can result in high unemployment rates, large inequalities, skills gaps, data biases, data leaks, disruptions in traditional sectors, and economic losses - and the ramifications will be worse if AI is left to be developed unchecked and unregulated. There is a consensus among policymakers, industry leaders, and scientists that AI must be regulated in a proactive manner to make sure that humanity is protected from its adverse implications. However, at the moment, progress in the field of AI is driven by industry, whereas both academia and policymakers are incapable of keeping up with the pace of new developments in AI research. The study shows that the uncontrolled growth of AI presents a set of substantial threats that must be addressed in order to avoid a dystopian scenario involving a future society in which a small number of individuals who control AI enjoy the benefits of this technology, leaving the rest of people living in poverty. 

The white paper shows that AI regulation is a topical issue that must be addressed as soon as possible. The available evidence provides a compelling reason to believe that governments should create separate agencies responsible for licensing all large language models and monitoring their use. These agencies should develop a set of specific standards for large language models that focus on testing, the use of data for training a model, compliance with copyright laws, AI hallucination, liability, and other relevant issues. Companies must not be allowed to introduce any AI products to the market except for those that are licensed by these agencies. Whereas such a process could slow down AI research and development, it would allow for dramatically reducing the risks associated with AI and helping academia intensify research into AI to make sure that further progress in this field is supported by extensive evidence. 

Other recommendations to mitigate the risks of AI involve launching AI adjustment assistance programs for displaced employees, integrating AI into school curricula, utilizing information campaigns to raise public awareness of AI, investing in AI research, encouraging collaboration between stakeholders, requiring mandatory transition periods and severance payments for “at-risk” employees in the case of the companies whose valuation exceeds $5 billion, investing in AI projects across the country, and creating job creation projects in those areas that have been especially affected by AI. In general, the study advocates for the use of a radical approach to controlling the rise of AI by establishing a specific agency that licenses all large language models. At the same time, policymakers also should adopt a risk-based framework to address the risks of AI in specific industries. Most of the proposals introduced in this white paper are aligned with the recommendations put forward by Microsoft in relation to AI regulation. 

Those industries that are more likely than others to witness significant job displacement effects as a result of AI should be prioritized by policymakers. The manufacturing and transportation sectors are expected to lose millions of jobs in the next several decades. To help affected individuals and communities, policymakers should introduce extensive AI adjustment assistance programs that would provide monthly financial assistance to displaced employees for at least three years and offer various training programs for these people. Moreover, companies from these sectors must replace employees with AI in a regular manner, first putting them on an “at-risk” list for a year and then providing them with a 3-month warning period if they decide to proceed with the decision. At-risk employees will use this time to attend mandatory training programs and acquire new skills. Moreover, public-private partnerships established by the government are expected to help numerous individuals learn about new AI professions and complete a successful career shift into AI fields. 

The study showed that the healthcare industry does not require such radical measures since it is unlikely to witness large-scale job losses because of AI. Thus, compliance with the requirements of a new agency should be sufficient to address the threats of AI in this sector. The education sector should respond to the rise of AI by leveraging technology to customize and enhance learning experiences, ensure the safety of AI, and protect the privacy of data. Those educators who lose their job to AI should be allowed to take advantage of AI adjustment assistance programs. The sector of financial services would benefit from strict regulations controlling not only the algorithms and training data of each large language model but also the ways in which it is used. Furthermore, it is also important to set additional cybersecurity requirements and conduct regular audits of AI algorithms to minimize AI risks in this sector. 

The rise of AI in the publishing industry and the creator economy should be addressed by introducing the necessary requirement related to informed consent regarding the use of copyrighted content and personal information, including “digital likeness”, in pre-training AI models. The rest of the issues have to be addressed through the instrument of self-regulation. Similar recommendations also can be suggested to stakeholders of the television/film industry. Actor and writer guilds are recommended to sign memorandums of understanding with production companies to regulate the use of AI, including the creation of “synthetic actors” and the eligibility of AI models for writing credit. At the same time, there is no premise to suggest any regulatory initiatives besides prohibiting the use of personal information and copyrighted content without the explicit consent of individuals and copyright holders, respectively. Further research is needed to obtain a more comprehensive understanding of AI regulation in different contexts. First, scientists should consider conducting more research and composing papers focusing on the integration of AI into specific sectors besides the ones discussed in this white paper. For instance, they might examine the use of AI in the tourism and restaurant industries. A critical analysis of the social and economic risks of AI in various industries would enrich an understanding of the problem under investigation. 

Second, scholars are encouraged to investigate the problem of AI regulation by distinguishing between the cases of wealthy countries and the Global South. This research was mostly conducted from the perspective of the United States, although certain examples from the Global South were considered to illustrate various points. Given that countries of various wealth levels have fundamentally different financial resources and AI research capabilities, a “one-fit-for-all” approach is hardly capable of addressing the risks of AI in all modern countries. Thus, a series of studies focusing on the cases of specific nations would help better illustrate the research problem in meaningful contexts. 

Finally, the last recommendation for further research is to scrutinize specific conditions for AI adjustment assistance programs for displaced employees. This study did not offer a detailed description of such conditions because of the broad scope of the white paper. Therefore, this issue should be addressed in further research.

The findings of the white paper are subject to four limitations. First, the scope of the investigation was broad. As a result, many conclusions and recommendations are general and cannot be applied in their current form owing to the lack of details. Nonetheless, they still could serve as a solid basis for specific regulatory proposals and industry initiatives. Second, the study focused only on eight industries, even though the effects of AI are expected to be felt by the entire economy. Third, the white paper relied exclusively on secondary data. Finally, the last limitation is that the author was forced to use many non-scholarly sources since the number of scholarly studies covering recent developments in AI research and development is still limited. 

Regulating Artificial Intelligence: Preventing Economic Disruption and Ensuring Social Stability

It’s easy to write off new entrepreneurs from unlikely places, and we as a society have trained ourselves to forget about those condemned to prison and correctional facilities. Yet the resilience shown by many prisoners, eager to reintegrate into society in productive ways, is the exact type of tenacity necessary to succeed in the unpredictable world of startups and freelancing. Non-profit Defy Ventures has been tapping into that previously untouched potential, setting the stage for inclusive entrepreneurialism. Finally, investors and business leaders are beginning to take notice.

THE DEFY MODEL: OPPORTUNITY AND IMPACT

Defy Ventures is a non-profit that challenges society’s perception of incarcerated individuals by viewing them as Entrepreneurs in Training (EITs)—full of untapped potential. This shift in perspective is more than semantics; it represents a profound change in how society perceives incarcerated individuals.

By providing hands-on training and traditional educational resources to inmates seeking career development, Defy helps overcome the lack of access to resources faced by inmates. The organization upgrades participants with leadership development, personal growth training, and startup incubation. Defy’s focus extends beyond startups to include gig workers, digital nomads, handymen, HVAC technicians, and freelancers, supporting small business owners with essential tools to kickstart their careers and make a meaningful impact in their communities.

The non-profit’s impact is far-reaching, providing a powerful solution to reduce recidivism rates. According to the report dated 2021, Defy Ventures has a three-year recidivism rate of less than 15% (compared to the national average of 39%), and 84% of Defy graduates who were seeking employment found job placement. Defy is changing the lives of EITs and reframing the narrative of what an entrepreneur can look like, where they can come from, and the environments in which they can thrive.

WITNESSING IMPACT: ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A VEHICLE FOR CHANGE

Defy’s narrative of transformation demonstrates that the spirit of resilience and the passion of prisoners—combined with education, new opportunities, and support—translate into successful entrepreneurship from a segment of society too often brushed aside.

As an entrepreneur and volunteer, I was honored to participate in a Defy Ventures pitch competition and attend Defy’s graduation ceremony in a California prison. I went in with many misconceptions about the program and the participants, but my experiences with Defy rewrote those expectations. I learned that it takes nine months of rigorous study, examinations, and focus on personal growth, which prevents the faint-hearted and less resilient individuals from making it onto the EIT graduation list. Defy challenges participants and finds those with the tenacity and adaptability that any business leader knows are so vital in today’s tumultuous job market.

I believe that it is crucial to avoid romanticizing this journey or overlooking the past mistakes of the EITs. Instead, Defy’s aim is to recognize the current potential in each of them and provide them with the tools and opportunities to nurture that better future. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs came from troubled backgrounds and have overcome personal struggles, reinforcing that adversity often breeds resilience and innovation. Defy’s graduates embody this energy and possibility.

THE CALL TO ACTION: OUR ROLE AS INVESTORS AND ENTREPRENEURS

Inclusive entrepreneurship is the idea that all people, irrespective of their demographic, socioeconomic, or personal characteristics, should have equal opportunities to become entrepreneurs, start their businesses, and contribute to the economic development of their communities. As investors and business leaders, we can further this cause by considering how our portfolios can diversify and thus encompass ventures, freelancers, and entrepreneurs that break traditional molds.

Investors and business owners can consider collaborating with organizations like Defy Ventures and others that provide training and support to marginalized groups such as the incarcerated, immigrants, veterans, and refugees. Often non-profits eager to team up with hiring partners, these organizations have a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by marginalized individuals and can help develop their entrepreneurial skills. Collaboration can be a quick shortcut to finding untapped pools of freelancers and gig workers.

By investing money and support in these programs, you contribute to their sustainability and enable them to continue their valuable work, essentially lengthening the alternative entrepreneur’s runway through education and mentorship. There can also be tax benefits for supporting these organizations financially. When hiring, consider utilizing such non-profits as a starting point for due diligence and skill verification. They can provide insights and recommendations about the skills and potential of their graduates, helping you make informed decisions and identify talented individuals who may bring diverse perspectives and experiences to your team.

Another crucial step is to encourage your own HR teams to broaden their pool of applicants for both traditional employment positions and freelance or gig work. Leaders can encourage teams to request certain new hires or contracting positions be filled with alternative freelancers who will bring valuable and unique insight from their unique experiences. Consider implementing strategies such as storytelling screening processes, skills-based assessments, and targeted outreach to underrepresented communities to ensure a more inclusive and equitable hiring process.

By actively working with organizations that train marginalized individuals, supporting them financially, and widening the scope of applicants for gigs, financial leaders and business owners can embrace inclusive entrepreneurship. By doing so, they not only contribute to social impact but also unlock untapped talent, drive innovation, and create a more diverse and resilient business ecosystem.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The work of Defy Ventures and similar organizations serves as an inspiration for both young entrepreneurs who are seeking to make a difference and investors keen on partnering with organizations that promote inclusive entrepreneurship. The journey Defy Venture’s graduates embarked upon is about more than starting a business. It is about reclaiming prisoners’ lives, defying the odds, and breaking cycles of negativity. For the EITs, inclusive entrepreneurship is not just a vocation but a lifeline.

Unlocking inclusive entrepreneurship: Uplifting non-traditional entrepreneurs

Effective communication is a critical skill in both professional and personal settings. While much focus is given to the art of speaking to convey ideas and vision, perhaps the most crucial aspect of communication is listening.

There are two main types of listening: active and passive listening. While they may look the same on the outside, they are two entirely different endeavors with entirely different outcomes.

In this article, we’ll discuss the similarities and differences between active vs passive listening and offer some advice on when to use them. Let’s dive in!

Active Listening vs Passive Listening: What's the Difference?

Have you ever been running errands with your significant other when he or she runs into an old friend? You stand, listening as the two of them attempt to catch each other up on the past 7 years of their lives. You’re listening, but while you’re listening you’re also thinking about how hungry you are and about how you hope there isn’t a line at the car wash, your next stop on your errand journey. This is passive listening. You’re hearing someone speak though you’re not fully engaged.

Now let’s change up the scenario and say that you are the one who runs into an old friend unexpectedly. How does your listening change while catching up with a good friend you haven’t seen for many years? Chances are you actively listen to your friend. You give them your full attention, ask questions, and genuinely want to know more.

This example shows the stark difference between active and passive listening. But let’s break them down even further.

What is Active Listening?

When it comes to active vs passive listening, understanding the distinction is crucial. Active listening is the act of giving someone your full attention. It involves avoiding distractions so you can engage with them on a deep level. Active listening also requires you to WANT to hear what the other person is saying. This attitude helps you to empathize with the speaker so you can understand their whole message rather than just recognize the words they’ve used.

Here’s what active listening isn’t: It isn’t getting lost in your thoughts, waiting for your turn to speak.

Benefits of Active Listening

Some people are naturally active listeners while others need to practice the skill. While it may not be easy to master, there are numerous benefits to active listening such as:

Better Communication

Active listening is perhaps the most important component of communication because it keeps you engaged with the speaker in a meaningful way. Active listening also makes the speaker feel heard and validated, which prompts them to share more of their thoughts, ideas, and opinions.


Better Relationships

Active listening helps you to understand the other person on a deeper level. You gain awareness of their point of view and can then respond with kindness and empathy. Active listening also facilitates trust, which is invaluable no matter if the relationship is with a spouse, child, friend, or coworker.

Increased Productivity

Active listening is invaluable in the workplace. It can eliminate (or at least greatly reduce) misunderstandings, clarify expectations, and improve problem-solving skills, thereby increasing your team’s productivity.

Resolve Conflicts

Active listening is a powerful skill that helps you to understand what someone else is saying. And not just on an intellectual level but an emotional one as well. This helps you to find common ground, reduce any tension or defensiveness that occurs with misunderstandings, and resolve conflicts more effectively.

Personal Growth

Practicing active listening helps you to develop your interpersonal skills. You find yourself becoming more empathetic toward and respectful of other people. This makes you more approachable and you then find that people want to open up to you and share their thoughts and ideas. And as you gather so much important information, you become more knowledgeable yourself.

Examples of Active Listening

How can you begin practicing active listening? The following are some examples to give a try:

Maintain Eye Contact

How many times have you tried to speak with your partner, child, or coworker and they weren’t even looking at you? And how did it make you feel? Most likely like what you had to say was not important.

Be sure to maintain eye contact with your conversation partner. This lets them know that you are fully paying attention. It also validates what they are saying and makes them feel heard.

Ask Questions

Asking questions is a great way to dig and gain a deeper understanding of what someone has said. Don’t interrupt the other person to ask a question. Simply wait for them to pause, then ask.

Use Verbal and Non-Verbal Cues

Verbal cues help the speaker to know you are engaged in the conversation. You might try and offer something like, “I see what you mean, “ or “Yes, I understand.” Non-verbal cues can include making eye contact, smiling, and nodding your head. You can also lean forward in your chair to show how engaged you are in the conversation.

Use Empathy

Active listening helps you to not only clearly receive another’s message but to also understand on an emotional level where they are coming from. By responding with empathy you show the speaker you value their feelings.

When to Use Active Listening

There are many instances where active listening will offer profoundly more benefits than passive listening. The following are some scenarios where active listening should be practiced:

  • One-on-one conversations
  • Job interviews
  • Debates
  • Fundraising meetings
  • Project management meetings
  • Training courses
  • Parent-teacher conferences

What is Passive Listening?

If we took a poll of the world’s population, and everyone answered honestly, we would no doubt have confirmation that most people are passive listeners. That is they hear what other people are saying but they don’t actively engage in the conversation.

Passive listeners are often lost in their internal dialogue. They generally don’t ask questions to understand on a deeper level or offer any kind of feedback, but merely wait for the speaker to end so they can begin.

When we compare active vs passive listening, it becomes clear that passive listening offers no benefits and is marked by various limitations, including

Misunderstandings

When someone is not actively listening to another, it’s very easy for them to misunderstand information. How many romantic arguments, failed high school exams, and lost revenue can be linked to someone not fully paying attention to what someone else has said?

Reduced Productivity

While many of us are guilty of not fully listening to others, we don’t particularly like it when others don’t listen to what we have to say. When leaders don’t listen to their teams and dismiss their opinions and differing viewpoints, it makes employees check out, phone it in and look for validation - and employment - elsewhere.

Missed Opportunities

Networking is incredibly important for success. Through connecting with others we raise our professional profile, grow our brand, and gain access to novel ideas and strategies. But think of how many opportunities you miss by not fully listening to what others are saying!

Examples of Passive Listening

How many of the following are you guilty of?

1) Daydreaming

Do you daydream or let your mind wander while someone else is speaking?

2) Silence

Do you ask questions or offer any feedback? Do you paraphrase what the person has said to show comprehension, or do you just sit there, silent, waiting for them to finish so you can say something?

3) Distractions

So many people seem unable to put their phones down for even 10 minutes. How often do you check your phone while someone else is speaking?

4) Interrupting

Are you guilty of interrupting or changing the subject before the speaker has even had a chance to finish?

5) No Eye Contact

Are you able to make and hold eye contact with the speaker to show you are paying attention, or do you let your eyes wander around the room? Do you have closed body language? For example, do you sit there with your arms crossed? This signals to the speaker that you are not interested in what they have to say.

When to Use Passive Listening

Believe it or not, there are some scenarios where it is okay to use passive listening. In these scenarios, it wouldn’t be necessary for you to give your full attention to the speaker.  However, it's important to understand the difference between active listening vs passive listening and when each approach is appropriate.

An example would be you are part of a group but the speaker is talking to one specific individual. Let’s say you are part of a tour group and someone from the group has asked a question that pertains only to their return flight home. You wouldn’t need to give your full attention to the answer they receive.

You may also be out to dinner with a group of friends and multiple people are discussing a topic you are not familiar with (or that interested in). It’s okay for you to take a few moments to focus on your food and have your private thoughts.

Remember, active listening vs passive listening is not a black-and-white dichotomy. Essentially any conversation you are part of where it wouldn’t be rude of you or where you don’t need to consume the information offered is one where passive listening would be acceptable.

Conclusion

You hopefully now understand the differences between active listening vs passive listening. Good communication builds trust and connections, and it can also increase productivity and empower people. Active listening is what enables good communication. It is the bedrock of effective communication. Passive listening, on the other hand, serves no real purpose. It is acceptable in certain circumstances but doesn’t offer any real benefits and should mostly be avoided.

The bottom line is, the choice between active vs passive listening ultimately lies in your hands. If you are interested in improving your relationships and setting yourself up for success both at work and in your relationships, practice active listening as much as you can!

Active Listening vs Passive Listening: What's the Difference?

When I was in school, online learning wasn't nearly as accessible or developed as it is now.

There was a time when taking online courses was viewed as a weak alternative to face-to-face learning.

With the advent of new technology in distance learning, this has changed irrevocably. 

In fall of 2020, around 75% of all undergraduate students were taking at least one online education course.

However, even those who aren’t working toward a degree are increasingly preferring online learning due to its numerous benefits.

Here are some tips for learning online to deliver more value to your digital education.

Tips For Online Classes In 2023

If you’re taking an online class, you might be facing some unique challenges and might need tips for online classes. However, you need to remember that your efforts will pay off and deliver your desired destination.

Audo organizes online courses for people who want a positive change in their life and to acquire valuable knowledge for their future.

Here are 7 tips for learning online to help you get the most out of learning experience:

1. Treat it like a real class

An online class can be just as real as an in-person class if you have the discipline to treat it as such.

This means being present and engaged in the class, with your camera on, not on your phone, and not skipping class just because you “don’t feel like going.”

The flexibility that online classes offer is a blessing and a curse. You can learn from anywhere, at any time, but you must discipline yourself to do so. 

Treat an online course with the same respect you would an in-person course, and you will reap the benefits of this incredible tool.

2. Take responsibility

One of the best tips for online classes is just take the responsibility for your journey.

When you’re a student in a traditional school setting, your parents and teachers set deadlines for you and require you to meet them.

However, if you’re seeking out coursework on your own, it’s up to you to hold yourself responsible for your work in an online course.

You also need to figure out if you are a degree or a certificate preferring person.

If you want to succeed in your course and get the most out of it, then you need to be responsible for your education.

Set deadlines for yourself to complete all assignments before they’re due. It’s vital to learn how to manage your time, stay organized and be disciplined.

The more effort you put into self-discipline, the more you’ll thrive with your online classes.

3. Set a routine

One of my best tips for learning online is the importance of building a routine.

Not everyone works best under the same circumstances, so you'll have to do a bit of work to find out what works for you.

Do you work best in the morning? Afternoon? Evening?

Do you prefer to study in small increments every day, or to schedule large chunks of time together once or twice a week?

The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to create your own personalized study routine.

Make sure you create realistic goals for yourself when you create your study routine.

  It’s no use telling yourself you’ll study 2 hours a day if you’ve never managed more than an hour. 

Start small and work your way up to build your confidence step by step.

4. Check your progress systematically

Tips for online classes include productively is to check your progress systematically.

While it’s important to have a routine, it’s equally important to make sure that the routine you’ve created is actually serving you. 

Don’t just obsess over doing your routine perfectly–take a moment to ask yourself what works and what doesn’t. 

Have you been sticking to your routine?  Where did you deviate?  Did you make progress even if you didn’t achieve your goal?

As you work through these questions, try to be objective. 

If you find that you’ve overestimated your potential, don’t beat yourself up about it.

  Try recalibrating to see if there are changes you can make to help yourself get there. Or, perhaps the best thing to do is take a few steps back and be patient with yourself until you’ve grown a little more.

5. Be kind to yourself and celebrate your achievements

One potential downside of online learning is that the lines between work and play can become blurred.

It's important to take breaks when needed, so you can show up for your class without burning out. 

Be kind to yourself when you don’t achieve your goals, and celebrate the times that you do.

This can be as simple as spending a night out with friends, which can itself act as a way to get you recharged and refocused on your goals.

6. Avoid procrastination

Procrastination is the deadliest of all bad habits. It paralyzes us when we tell ourselves, "I'll do it tomorrow." Procrastination not only threatens your productivity and ability to achieve your goals but it also makes you stressed out and anxious. 

Putting things off only lengthens the amount of time that you have to worry and stress out.

Make sure you tackle the tasks you hate the most first when you make your to-do lists.

This will give you the push you need to keep going rather than stand still.

If you’re tempted to procrastinate, create a reminder on your phone.

You can also use online Pomodoro Timers to balance out work and breaks.

You’ll force yourself to take breaks, and you will train yourself to switch between the two seamlessly.

7. Give it your all

Here we go with number one tip for learning online. You only have one life to live–surely you don’t want any of it to go to waste.

When you sign up for an online course, you’re taking a step towards an important goal. 

Maybe you’re learning a new language for a trip you have planned, or picking up a skill to help you get a promotion at work.

As you pursue your goals, remember to take a moment to remind yourself of why you made this commitment in the first place.

If you can visualize what it is you want, it will be that much easier to give it your all.

Remember that lifelong learning  is essential for good life quality. 

These tips for online classes will help you get the most out of your online education, without the benefit of in-person learning.

Follow these tried-and-tested tips, and you’ll create a routine that brings out the best in you.

7 Tips For Learning Online Effectively and Productively

How to become an entrepreneur? Entrepreneurial thinking is the ability to spot a way to do something better than it's been done before, and then to make it happen.

Entrepreneurship has taken many forms, from the artisan shops of the Middle Ages to the multinational corporations of today. However, every entrepreneur has his or her own unique story. 

While some entrepreneurs have been full-time business people, others have worked other jobs and used their skills as entrepreneurs at night or on the weekends.

Some entrepreneurs started companies that were intended to create only one new product or service; others were the founding patrons of entire industries.

Becoming an entrepreneur is all about building something out of nothing but an idea, and that’s a concept as old as time itself.

Who Is An Entrepreneur?

Most people don't understand what it means to be an entrepreneur. Many are even scared of the word, attributing to it negative connotations such as 'risk-taking' and 'failure.' 

Here we’ll take a  look at the very nature of entrepreneurship, from both a strictly factual perspective, and from a more personal perspective.

Deciding to be an entrepreneur does not make you one. Nor does being born into a family that encourages entrepreneurship or joining a startup immediately after graduating from college.

An entrepreneur is someone who organizes and operates a business, taking on significant financial risks to turn their dream into a reality.

Entrepreneurship can be a deeply fulfilling, liberating and empowering way to live.

Starting a company and growing it from a seed of an idea to a thriving company, however, can be very difficult.

You need a lot of business savvy and skill in order to navigate the steps to becoming an entrepreneur. 

While some people are born with the traits necessary to be entrepreneurs, others have to learn them through practice. 

The good news is that, if you have enough drive and determination, you can learn how to be an entrepreneur.

Should You Become An Entrepreneur?

Why become an entrepreneur? The benefits are many, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. 

Here are a few of the main reasons you might find the answer on why become an entrepreneur and what changes it can deliver. Learn the steps of becoming an entrepreneur.

  1. You want to be independent

The main reason why most people choose to become entrepreneurs is because they want independence.

When you create your own company, you work for yourself. 

You don’t have to report to anyone, get anyone else’s permission to make decisions, or be beholden to a schedule that you don’t set.

  1. You want to have greater freedom and flexibility

Entrepreneurship grants you a certain level of freedom and flexibility that most people don’t have.

You can build a schedule around your own needs, control your own salary, and grow your business as fast or as slow as you want.

  1. You see a niche in the market you want to fill

Entrepreneurs often start their own businesses because they see an unmet need in the market.

If you stumble across a business opportunity that no one else has identified, you can find success by offering people something they cannot currently get elsewhere.

  1. You want to share your creative passion

A strong desire to help other people provides many entrepreneurs with the motivation they need to succeed. 

Passionate people who want to share their creative ideas with the world can make a difference in that way by becoming an entrepreneur.

  1. You want extra income

Money should not be the primary motivating factor in your life, but it can be the driving force behind successful entrepreneurship. 

With financial risk comes the potential for great financial gain, and founding a company can lead to high levels of income.

Skills You Need To Cultivate To Become An Entrepreneur

You may have the most business savvy, but that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels. Here are some skills to practice every day if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.

  1. Communication skills

Communication is key to working effectively with other people.  In order to be an entrepreneur, you need to know how to practice active listening. 

Improve your communication skills by reading up on civil discourse and active listening, asking others for honest feedback, and proofreading all written communication.

  1. Leadership skills

Leaders know how to motivate, inspire, and guide the people they lead. Practice your leadership skills by taking on more responsibility, striving for discipline, and taking initiative. 

A hunger to learn and challenge yourself will help build you into the leader you need to be.

  1. Strong focus

Entrepreneurs can’t afford to take their eye off the ball.  Hone in your ability to focus by setting goals for yourself every day. 

Consistently check in with your progress and make a daily effort towards your goal. You’ll soon develop a stronger sense of focus that will serve you well on your entrepreneurial journey.

  1. A drive to learn

The best entrepreneurs are curious people. The more interested you are in learning, the more you’ll grow.  Use every challenge as an opportunity to learn. 

The only person you’re competing with is the person you were yesterday, so try every day to learn more than you knew before.

  1. Flexibility

Routines help center us and keep us fixed on our goals.  But life throws us constant curveballs, which is why flexibility is a must-have for any entrepreneur. 

If you practice flexibility, you’ll be able to push through challenges without becoming derailed. Challenge yourself to adapt to new circumstances and practice humility by becoming willing to change when needed.

How To Become A Successful Entrepreneur

So, how do you become an entrepreneur? There are many tips that can help you get started on the path to creating your own business.  

Here are a ten initiatives for an entrepreneurial plan:

  1. Identify profitable startup ideas.

The first step in how to become an entrepreneur is to come up with an idea for your startup. 

A business is only as good as its ideas, which means that this is the single most important decision you’ll make in your journey.

Brainstorm on products or services your business can provide its customers; then do research to see which ones have the greatest potential for profitability.

  1. Identify and focus on a growing category (or categories).

It’s okay if your business isn’t entirely unique.  Maybe you’re inspired by the variety of subscription box services popping up around the world and want to do something in that vein.

  As long as you’re offering something that no one else is (or doing it in a better way) and you market yourself properly, you can take advantage of a surge in popularity around a certain area—and eventually grow beyond it.

  1. Fill an underserved demand.

Maybe you’ve been working in a coffee shop for years, and you’ve realized that there is only one bakery in your city that delivers gluten-free pastries.

Because the demand for this niche product isn’t being met, you could capitalize on it by starting your own bakery.

  1. Make something better (or cheaper) than what’s out there.

Always look for ways to improve the things people are already doing.

If you can find a way to create a better way to do something that’s already being done, that’s a valuable business idea worth pursuing.

  1. Validate your startup idea with buyer persona research.

Before you narrow your product focus, do your research on potential customers. The more you know about who your ideal customers would be, the better you’ll be able to serve them. 

By researching data on who your ideal customers would be, you’ll be able to focus your time on qualified prospects and develop a product that meets their specific needs.

  1. Start with a minimum viable product (MVP).

A minimum viable product (MVP) helps you to improve your product early on by receiving and integrating user feedback.

This gives you a plethora of information about your customers with very little effort.

It also allows you to release your product as quickly as possible, test it before committing to a larger budget, and improve it based on customer feedback.

  1. Create a business plan.

Your business plan is the road map to your company's future. 

Early investors want to see a formal business plan, so try to be as detailed as you can with it early on.  You can always refine it and add to it over time.

  1. Continue to iterate based on feedback.

If you have a minimum viable product, seek feedback from your customers to ensure that you’re creating something that solves their problems.

If you don’t have a minimum viable product, incorporate feedback into your work to make sure you’re best serving your customer’s needs.

  1. Consider a co-founder.

Having a co-founder or two can help you run your business and take some of the pressure off. 

It is easier to delegate work with someone else by your side who has different skills than you, and the stress of running a business will be lessened when there are more than one people sharing it.

  1. Manage your business and keep learning.

Once you’re on the ground, you’ll want to keep learning new things about your business.

The more hands-on you are, the more you’ll understand how your business works and how you can improve.

Starting a business is not an easy task. It takes courage and risk. Some businesses succeed, and some fail.

You may think the challenges of starting a business are enormous. You’re right.

That’s why most people don't start a business, or taper off after the initial excitement and motivation fades.

If you want to become an entrepreneur, you need to start applying what you've learned in this guide, by adhering to the trends, and by being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.

You can be among the small minority of self-employed individuals who are successful in building companies they are passionate about.

How To Become An Entrepreneur: 10 Steps to Apply in 2023

Collaboration is the art of people working together to achieve a common goal.

It isn’t just about teamwork, but also about maximizing each member's unique expertise. And when you exercise collaboration skills in the workplace, you boost team productivity.

Over the last few years, I've been focused on building three purpose-driven startups, and I've seen the power and importance of collaboration among teams time and time again.

It offers different perspectives, advice and energy to keep a company growing. Collaborating can mean the difference between a good idea and great execution.

It gives your team access to a wealth of ideas, resources and connections that can help you get started or grow your business in new ways.

According to a 2023 workplace survey, 75% of employees believe team cooperation is crucial to the company’s success.

Interestingly, the same study found that 40% of the employees think their workplace lacks collaboration.

As a leader, you must fix this disconnect.

Collaboration at work is the key to unleashing the full potential of your employees.

You need to build a cohesive team that pools their resources and builds on each others’ expertise.

Here is a comprehensive guide to collaboration skills and how to foster them in your organization.

What are Collaboration Skills?

Collaboration skills are the soft skills that enable people to work together as a team.

They help you build strong relationships, work on complex situations, and make decisions that drive collective growth.

The stronger the team’s collaborative skills, the better it performs.

Here are some essential collaborative skills:

  • Transparent communication

When a company is fully transparent in its communication, employees are able to collaborate and work together more effectively.

Focus levels increase, leading to greater productivity and fewer information swaps within the team.

  • Flexible mind

Flexible thinking allows you to consider different ways of approaching the same situation.

When your team is open to hearing diverse ideas, they’ll develop innovative solutions to effectively move towards the company’s goal.

  • Empathy

When employees are able to relate to how their colleagues feel, it helps them improve the team's overall efficiency.

Due to empathic communication team members feel for each other helps create an environment of collaboration and respect.

How to Build Collaborative Skills?

Leaders should foster to improve collaboration skills in their teams to create a growth-oriented work environment.

A team that collaborates well is more likely to deliver innovative results and create new opportunities for growth.

Here are the four best ways to develop collaborative skills at the workplace:

  • Encourage clear communication

When you use ambiguous language at the workplace, it can be confusing and detrimental to productivity.

Each person on your team will have unique views and biases; they might misinterpret your words if you don’t communicate clearly.

That’s why you must give clear instructions without resorting to jargon.

  • Push your team beyond their comfort zone

Challenge your team with difficult projects.

This will encourage them to grow and help you and your organization become better versions of yourselves.

It will also strengthen the team’s collaboration as they navigate the choppy waters together.

  • Create a mutual learning environment.

Encourage your employees to share their knowledge with others.

This way, they can move past the obstacles faster and achieve quicker results.

Just be sure to make sure that you set guidelines as to what they can share in order to avoid any security risks.

  • Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse provides a safe space for your team to freely share their views without fearing judgment.

People are more likely to say what they think, when they are not afraid of getting in trouble or being belittled.

Civil discourse creates a sense of openness and encourages people to speak up.

Examples of Collaboration Skills to Develop

In a world where the best innovation is happening in collaboration, collaboration is the new imperative.

It may be the only way to accelerate innovation, improve agility, increase adaptability and cut costs all at once.

But building a collaborative culture is not always an easy transformation for the traditionally independent entrepreneur. 

I’ve had to learn to trust the abilities of others to execute on my vision, and I’ve found that the true power of collaboration skills lies in how well you communicate.

How to improve collaboration skills in the workplace? Open communication is the key to fostering true workplace collaboration. 

Here are the four criteria with examples of collaboration skills you must meet to achieve this:

  • Encourage your employees to listen actively.

Focus on what the other person is saying rather than waiting for your turn to speak.

Strive to understand the underlying intent in people’s speech. Ask questions if something isn’t clear.

  • Hone your written communication skills.

Your writing should be clear and concise and convey your intended message.

It should be comprehensive, tie up loose ends, and leave the reader with clear takeaways.

  • Improve your verbal communication.

Use descriptive language that every team member can grasp.

Frame your sentences in a way that doesn’t make you sound confrontational.

  • Polish your nonverbal communication skills.

What you say is as important as how you say it. Your body language, gestures, tone, and facial expressions speak louder than words.

Maintain eye contact while speaking, keep your tone polite, and nod on points you agree with.

If we want to succeed in business, and in life, we must all collaborate. It’s a big part of how we work today. But it’s important to evaluate how you and your people collaborate on a regular basis.

It’s not enough to simply hire talented individuals. As a leader, you must build a collaborative team that’s greater than the sum of its parts.

Each member must align their efforts to achieve the collective goal. Honing your effective communication skills is the key to fostering collaboration. You need to put conscious effort into adapting it to your demeanor.

How to Foster Collaboration Skills in the Workplace?

A Tool To Foster Understanding

It often feels like our social media or political leaders encourage us to engage with what we already believe and reject any viewpoint that conflicts with our opinions. I like to refer to this as your own personal echo chamber - a space where your beliefs are reinforced by everything you're exposed to. This is a comfortable space to be in, but not a productive one. 



Fortunately, there's a way to break free from your echo chamber: Engaging in civil discourse.



It can be challenging to find valuable resources to improve your own discourse skills, which is why I’ve created this in-depth guide to help you get started.

Let's Bring Back Civil Discourse

Hi, I'm Milan. I'm the founder of three purpose-driven companies, including NOTA, the world’s first anonymous digital publication that shares verified narratives in hopes of sparking civil discourse and encouraging productive conversations about topics that often get overlooked and under-shared.



Restoring civil discourse is something I care deeply about. It's my "why" behind starting NOTA and for writing my first book "Straight Talk: The Art of Civil Discourse" (available Spring 2023.) By engaging in civil discourse, you create a sense of unity, empathy, and understanding in an otherwise divided world.

What Is
Civil Discourse?

Civil discourse is the productive dialogue that allows people to listen to differing opinions, state their own in a respectful way, and reach a mutual understanding. True civil discourse occurs when people listen to understand, and not simply pretend to be polite to avoid arguments.



Whether you run a school, a business, or lead a democratic society, your words and actions have to be civil if you expect to build trust and build the foundations necessary to make a real impact. Easier said than done, I know. So how can you make the shift? By mastering the skills of productive discussion. This is possible if you keep some key points in mind, which I’m going to walk you through.

60% of Americans feel stressed because of current social divisiveness

Source

Fortunately, civil discourse is not all that complicated. Anyone can engage in it, regardless of education or experience. These key elements because they’ve helped me grow three successful start-ups and build stellar teams while minimizing conflict.
‍


Here are the best approaches you can use to conduct a civil dialogue:

  • Provide valuable opinions

    Civil discourse relies heavily on presenting valuable viewpoints and having genuine, factual, and bias-free dialogue. I find it helps to take a solution-oriented approach and to go into every conversation as a problem-solver. Always keep the discussion open and welcoming, and reflect on the situation, making sure you have something valuable to add, before you express your position.
  • Be respectfully critical, but also accept criticism

    Fostering civil discourse doesn’t always mean agreeing or feeling comfortable. It does, however, require you to be open and honest, inquisitive, and share your opposing perspectives. This will propel you out of your comfort zone, and you should expect to receive pushback from time to time. Being critical of others’ ideologies is natural because everyone approaches a situation from their unique standpoints, but respecting others’ self-esteem while focusing on the problem is crucial. A large part of this also lies in accepting criticism wherever necessary.
  • Have an unbiased approach

    A civil discussion must be free of presumptions and judgments. This means providing equal opportunity for everyone to speak and conduct non-judgemental conversations.

Striving to create an unbiased environment helps in conducting a civil dialogue. When you try to understand the opponent’s views, it develops empathy and helps everybody reach a productive conclusion.
  • Have a flexible mindset

    Civil discourse isn’t about debating or changing others’ mindsets. It’s about learning and respecting others’ perspectives. Starting a conversation with a flexible mind helps you stay focused on the bigger picture.

I always strive to be curious about other people’s standpoints. This helps me broaden my horizon to solve an issue faster, and avoids conflicts or personal attacks. Finding the motivation to do so becomes effortless when you stay focused on learning.
  • Seek a common groun

    The ultimate goal of civil discourse is to resolve problems and reach an understanding all parties are comfortable with. The solution must advance in the general interest of every party involved. How can you get there? The answer lies in seeking common ground and mutual principles behind differing convictions.

Why is Civil Discourse Important?

Humans are social beings. It’s imperative for us to maintain healthy relationships for our survival, and we likely would not exist as we do today without the tools of civil discourse. Courteous communication has contributed to the development of society, culture, and the world as we know it.



Civil discourse preserves relationships even in the face of contrasting opinions. It draws a path to mutual benefit both on a personal and societal level. For me, it opens gateways to the resolution of important issues and helps the people around me feel safe, valued, and mutually respected.



Healthy conversations are important for creating opportunities, preventing conflicts, and for the overall welfare of everyone around you. Civil discourse empowers you to discuss sensitive issues without hurting others or getting hurt. Learning this universal skill helps resolve family matters, business issues, or political polarization. Meaningful and mindful discussion are pivotal to making progress, fostering peace, and maintaining an open marketplace of ideas.

How to Engage in Civil Discourse Step-by-Step

I follow a set of rules that not only help keep my interactions civil and open-minded but also help everyone I interact with stay comfortable enough to share and discuss their opinions. To help you do the same, I’ve prepared this guide so you can reap the maximum benefits of engaging in civil discourse. We’ll walk through practical tips to help you gain a better perspective and bring clarity and an open mind to conversations.

  • Set clear boundaries at the start

    Setting safe boundaries with the people involved plays a vital role in any civil discussion. It promotes a healthy atmosphere where everyone feels free to express themselves without disrupting the decorum.

If there are no firm boundaries, the chances of personal attacks and abusive or disrespectful acts persist. 

    Implementing the following steps before the discussion starts will help in setting safe boundaries:



    1.
 Remember that civil discourse is about reaching common ground about the issue at hand, not attacking or insulting others. Stick to the issue and don’t lose sight of the problem that needs to be addressed.

    2.
 Make sure everyone knows their opinions are entitled to respect and dignity.

    3.
 Regardless of opposing views, remain open and focused on reaching a mutual agreement.
  • Listen actively

    Passive listening isn’t conducive to creating a healthy dialogue. Engaging in civil discourse isn’t about changing the other participants’ views. Rather, it’s about expressing yourself openly and listening to conflicting positions civilly. 

Active listening builds an appreciative environment where the other person feels heard and respected. It develops a sense of mutual appreciation between everyone involved.



    Here are a few things that have helped me immensely in improving my active listening skills:



    1.
 Minimize distractions to help you remain focused on the conversation

    2.
 Nod to points where you agree with the other person’s take.

    3.
 Repeat what you understood to make sure you grasped their viewpoint correctly.

    4.
 Ask for clarification whenever something isn’t clear.
  • Keep an open mind to varying opinions

    It's important to remind yourself that every person has their own cognitive biases. They'll initially see any situation from their perspective.

Having different opinions on a subject doesn’t mean they disregard your stance, it just means they perceive the situation differently. This reminder creates scope for me to explore new aspects and broaden my approach.

    Here’s how you can do it too:



    1. Have an open mind and stay curious about others' opinions.

    2.
 Know that differing views aren’t an attack on your belief system.

    3.
 Be inquisitive about where the other person’s standpoint is coming from, and accommodate that while putting forth your views.

  • Support your opinion with facts and figures

    Stick to the facts. The basic rule of civil discourse is to remain respectful and avoid personal attacks. Sticking to the facts can help keep a conversation on track and avoid leaning on your opinions.

It helps to take the time to make yourself aware of your personal biases, so it’s easier to spot them.



    Here are a couple of things to remember when it comes to sticking to the facts:



    1. Present your arguments backed with evidence and universal facts, rather than just your opinion. By providing evidence, you will be able to make your point understandable and persuasive even when it disagrees with the other person's perspective.

    2.
 Stick to the statistics. Don’t get swayed by emotions.
  • Be confident in your demeanor

    I find it helpful to use assertive language with a steady, moderate tone while expressing or defending a point. This helps other people feel comfortable enough to share their opinions without aggression. 

Assertive language is one of the ground rules for engaging in civil discourse.

    Here's how to do it:



    1. Remain mindful and calm to create favorable conditions for civil discussion.

    2.
 Only choose statements and gestures that add value to the conversation and take it forward.

    3.
 Evaluate your internal reflection when others speak up, and don’t react on the first instinct.

    4.
 Be confident in putting forward your views without being disrespectful.
    Slide 1 of 10.

Why is Civil Discourse Important?

Humans are social beings. It’s imperative for us to maintain healthy relationships for our survival, and we likely would not exist as we do today without the tools of civil discourse. Courteous communication has contributed to the development of society, culture, and the world as we know it.

Civil discourse preserves relationships even in the face of contrasting opinions. It draws a path to mutual benefit both on a personal and societal level. For me, it opens gateways to the resolution of important issues and helps the people around me feel safe, valued, and mutually respected.

Healthy conversations are important for creating opportunities, preventing conflicts, and for the overall welfare of everyone around you. Civil discourse empowers you to discuss sensitive issues without hurting others or getting hurt. Learning this universal skill helps resolve family matters, business issues, or political polarization. Meaningful and mindful discussion are pivotal to making progress, fostering peace, and maintaining an open marketplace of ideas.

Civil Discourse: What Not To Do

Unfortunately, civil dialogue remains widely misunderstood. I see the majority of people are busy talking, but only a handful are attentively listening. In a world that desperately needs civil discourse, most people don't have a clear understanding of its meaning, let alone what might be inhibiting them from partaking in it. In this section, we'll cover some misconceptions that might be keeping you from engaging in civil interactions.

  • Being overly polite
  • Many people assume civil communication is synonymous with being excessively polite, but this isn’t true. Civil discourse isn't a matter of being a people pleaser, it's about choosing effective discussion over heated disagreement. It’s not about always holding back to avoid differing opinions. It’s about being open to differing conflicts to understand a subject objectively.
  • Name-calling and labeling

    Civil discussion always has room for others’ opinions. Showing respect is non-negotiable. There's no space for derogatory acts like labeling and name-calling. A civil dialogue never results in making someone feel inferior, oppressed, or disrespected.
  • Making personal attacks

    Keeping the personal attacks at bay is necessary for a rational discussion. Bringing emotions into an argument will cause friction and make it more difficult to come to an agreement. Communication techniques that lead to hurtful scenarios are not acceptable. They hinder you from fostering an environment for civil discourse.
  • Adopting aggressive body language

    Putting forth your unfiltered opinion is a fundamental unit of civil discourse. But it doesn’t give you the liberty to be physically or verbally aggressive. Civil discussion is all about proving your perception without resorting to aggression.
  • Resorting to sarcastic remarks

    Sarcasm lies out of bounds for those who want to engage civilly. Passing insulting comments, eye-rolling, sighing, etc., aren’t helpful in engaging in civil discourse. Engaging disrespectfully can hinder conversations with sustenance and make it impossible to carry out discourse driven discussions.

What Skills You Need to Engage in Civil Discourse

It is important to master some of these basic skills in order to avoid incivility in your conversations. Below is a list of these skills and how you can refine them to encourage more civil discourse in conversations.

  • Emotional control

    Managing emotions can make or break the flow of an intellectual discussion. You must be able to analyze and manage your emotions and be flexible to show acceptance. Journaling is an effective habit to track your emotions and reflect on a subject. Be mindful in your responses instead of giving into your first instinct and reacting with emotions.
  • Critical thinking

    By using facts to guide your conversations, they will be more meaningful and oriented towards finding solutions. Developing critical thinking skills empowers you to process what is being said, so you don’t rely on assuming the best solution without knowing the facts.

    It also allows you to listen patiently, process the situation, and stay focused. Thinking critically to resolve an issue while considering every viewpoint facilitates civil discourse.
  • Solution-oriented thinking

    The goal of civil discourse isn’t to have a winner and a loser, it’s to reach a mutually agreed-upon solution. The best way to do this is to focus the conversation on actionable solutions to the topic at hand, and identifying ways to prevent the issues from occurring in the future. This involves being able to look past the problem (and all of your beliefs and emotions surrounding it) and focus on what can be done to reach a solution.

Civil Discourse FAQs

01 Can you give an example of civil discourse?

Imagine yourself being unable to meet a deadline because of a team member’s delay at work. It’s a situation where heated personal exchange won’t resolve the case. Instead, you can talk neutrally about their challenges to better understand their views and focus on how the problem can be addressed and respond accordingly to initiate damage control.

02 How do you differentiate between politeness and civil discourse?

Politeness is required to conduct a civil discussion, but both the terms are not interchangeable. Civil discourse requires respecting, understanding, and empathizing, which are all polite social behaviors, but there's more to it than that. Respectful disagreement is also a vital part of civil discourse, as it helps the opponents reach a productive conclusion to a difficult discussion.

03 Does civil discourse resolve conflict?

Civil discourse separates people from the problem, which ultimately helps develop understanding. Here, people discuss productively, knowing their responsibility to find the most feasible solution. Productive conversation and solution-oriented thinking can resolve a conflict effectively.

04 How do you differentiate between dialogue and confrontation?

Confrontation is an argument where involved parties compete to win, often creating an uncomfortable, disagreeable, and disputing environment and leading to personal attacks, aggression, and conflicts often prevail in a confrontation.

On the contrary, dialogue is about looking for shared agreements, createing a comfortable and welcoming environment for open discussions. It’s intended to build relationships, deepen understanding, and actively listen before responding.

95% of Americans think civility is a problem

74% say civility has declined in the past few years

Source

Civil Discourse in the Age of Social Media

We live in an age of social media. It's great for connecting people across the globe, but it also means exposure to an enormous amount of information. This leaves room for confusion, polarization, and intolerance.

Users unknowingly live in an echo chamber. Social media connects you with like-minded people and consistently exposes you to content that we like and agree with, which alienates you from people who don’t share your views and creates conflict. It restricts you from exploring different ideas and perspectives online. Ultimately, it creates a tunnel vision leading to isolated polarized opinions. Limited diversity with what you are shown online makes practicing constructive dialogue more difficult.

Implementing civil discourse in online spaces is much needed today. People don’t hesitate to blame, insult, and neglect others’ opinions online, but it’s important to avoid such negativity for your mental health and maintain a healthy and productive environment in a place where we all spend a lot of our time.

Here’s how to engage in civil discourse on social media.

  1. Do your research and make yourself aware of the facts before responding emotionally.
  2. Don't feel obligated to engage in conversations with someone whose intention is to be rude or disrespectful. If you choose to respond, take a civil approach by putting the tips above into practice.
  3. View every disagreement as an opportunity to learn about how people from different backgrounds, identities, and social statuses think.
  4. While engaging with "someone's content that you don't agree with, understand that they’re also human. Share your opinion and invite open discussion instead of attacking the other person for thinking differently.

The goal should be to use social media for mutual growth and understanding. Take these steps to use it for healthy and productive discussions for the betterment of society. With conscious effort, we can make it possible to achieve this goal if we opt for civil discourse in the age of social media.

Final Words

Every interaction you take part in can benefit from civil discussion. To make this possible, we all need to hone the skill of engaging in civil discourse. Without it, finding common ground and solutions for a conflicting issue is an unbeatable challenge.

To summarize, here’s an actionable step-by-step guide on how you can practice this valuable skill and make civil discourse a part of all your online and offline conversations:

  1. Set clear boundaries at the start
  2. Listen actively
  3. Keep an open mind to varying opinions
  4. Support your opinion with facts and figures
  5. Be assertive in your demeanor


Honing these skills in my own life has translated to much more productive, open, and creative work environments across all of my teams.

Engaging in civil discourse can transform the way you work irrespective of your position. I can tell you that, without consciously being civil in all my interpersonal interactions, I wouldn’t have the same kind of healthy work environment in my teams that improve my businesses every day.

Why? Because when you’re working to make a big impact in the world, you need your team aligned with you and willing to go to all extents to make your vision a reality. Getting to that level requires you to show up and be willing to have open, honest and civil conversations every day.

75 % of people would be willing to set a good example by practicing civility

Source

Civil Discourse

Mindfulness in communication is a quality that manifests itself in the way we interact with others.

When we are mindful, we become more empathetic, compassionate and honest.

By being mindful, or maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, and surrounding environments, we bring awareness to the way we communicate with others.

A mindful approach is a key element to effective communication.

Being mindful of the present moment allows us to be more aware of how we interact with others.

We can recognize when communication has shut down and consider our words instead of responding out of emotion.

It's easier to notice if we're overreacting so we can take a time-out.

Jamyang Khyentse once said, “We think that we have successful communication with others. In fact, we only have successful miscommunication without being aware of it.” 

Mindful communication is a state of being. If you want to become better at it, here are some ways to increase your mindfulness.

What is Mindfulness in Communication?

Now that we're clear on the context of mindfulness in communication, let's discuss what it means to be a mindful communicator.

Mindfulness in communication is a distinct approach to communication that emphasizes being in the present moment.

It is the practice of being fully aware of ourselves and our surroundings, and in turn, how we communicate with other people.

As someone who aspires to communicate mindfully, I try to listen twice as much as I talk.

I strive to be a mindful listener when I'm engaged in a conversation as well.

learn about mindful communication

Can Mindfulness in Communication Help You?

Communication skills have an essential role in our life, and mindfulness in communication can make it even more powerful.

Instead of talking at someone, when you have the ability to be mindful, you talk with them.

Both sides of a conversation get more out of the exchange when they’re equally engaged in the communication.

Even if you’re the only one practicing mindful communication, you’ll still experience better results.

8 Ways To Improve Mindful Communication

As beneficial as mindfulness in communication sounds, you have to practice it if you want to get better. 

To improve your mindfulness in communication, follow these 8 tips:

Shelve your judgment

When you're too busy judging another person's words or actions, your own filter keeps you from hearing what they have to say.

When you make a judgment about someone’s character based on something you know about them, it can prevent you from really listening to what they are saying to you and even cause you to make hurtful comments that damage the relationship.

It is a total result of missing mindfulness in communication.

Understand your motivation

Before you speak, consider the purpose of your words. Are you trying to protect someone from harm? 

Are you trying to chastise them? Or are you trying to manipulate them?

One way to be mindful of what you say is to be aware of your motivation.

If your purpose is to be spiteful or criticize, perhaps you should pause or refrain from saying anything at all.

Be kind

There’s never a reason to be cruel. Even when you’re criticizing someone’s bad behavior, you gain nothing by doing so in a hurtful or insulting manner.

It’s best to express disappointment in a kind, direct way.

Rather than being accusatory or using incendiary words, phrase things with “I” statements and focus on the solution rather than the problem.

Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse is a great way to practice mindful communication. It offers you an opportunity to discuss difficult subjects honestly and openly.

It also gives you boundaries between when to listen and when to talk so that you can fully understand another person's point of view. 

Try making civil discourse a regular practice so that you become better at mindful communication.

Say only what’s necessary

Some of us overestimate the importance of our opinions, and we should refrain from making unnecessary comments in sensitive discussions.

Sure, you may have an opinion about what your boss is doing, but is it necessary for you to share that opinion with others? 

A good rule of thumb is to only give advice when solicited or when talking with someone who works for you. 

If they’re a friend or a superior, then you should only speak up when it directly involves you.

Refrain from unhelpful comments

This goes along with making unnecessary comments.  When someone asks you for feedback, it’s important to use discretion. 

Sure, they’re asking for your opinion, but that doesn’t mean that every single thought you have is going to be helpful.

Only volunteer information if it benefits the other person.  By filtering out unhelpful feedback and constructive criticism you can focus on offering comments that will actually help someone improve.

Don’t make assumptions

We all make assumptions about what others are thinking, but we can't actually read minds. Our history with others often influences those assumptions.

You can’t know what another person is thinking, so don’t operate based on anything other than the information given to you.

If you suspect someone is hiding something, ask questions. Assumptions lead to miscommunication and conflict, so sustain conflict avoidance at all costs.

Practice active listening

Active listening prevents you from making assumptions. The better you get at it, the less misinterpretations you'll make.

Make eye contact when people are talking to you. Give them verbal and nonverbal acknowledgements to encourage them to continue their story.

While someone is speaking, wait until they have finished to formulate your own response. Ask questions to clarify if needed. 

Mindfulness in communication exercises will help you become a better listener and communicator.

As you become more conscious of the way you communicate with others, you may realize that you used to communicate much more poorly than you had thought.

After learning how to listen and speak with intention, you will become a more successful and empathetic communicator.

Ultimately, empathy and rationality are at the heart of all communication. Whenever we speak with others, we must ask ourselves: what is kind, helpful, and necessary?

These questions are key to becoming mindful communicators.

8 Ways To Improve Productive and Mindful Communication

Building your self confidence is a process that takes time, dedication, and practice. With self confidence, you can achieve anything you set on your mind.

Research indicates that people with higher self-esteem earn an average of $7000 more per year. 

Despite the fact that 85% of the world's population has self-esteem issues, there is a way to be more confident.

Self confidence is contagious. It can make the difference between getting that promotion at work or being stuck in the same job for years.

A positive self-image can improve relationships, help you avoid mental and physical health issues associated with low self-esteem, and make you a happier person.

The steps I've outlined below will help you build self-confidence and live with more confidence.

What Is Self Confidence?

Self-confidence is not something we’re all born with.  Some people have more of it than others, but it can be learned by anyone.

Self-confidence means to stand up for what you believe in and control your own life. It’s about being able to deal with the world around you by controlling your emotions and thoughts. 

You can’t control what happens to you, but you can choose how you respond to it. The benefits of self confidence come from feeling a sense of control over our lives.

Know Why Self-Confidence Is Important

To learn how to build self confidence, you must first learn why self confidence is important.  Having confidence in yourself is the best way to find success in all areas of life. 

One of the benefits of self confidence is trusting your own abilities, and gaining trust in your colleagues and bosses. You will earn a reputation for reliability and responsibility.

The reason why self confidence is important not just because of how it affects others, but also because of the effect it has on your own behavior.

When you have self confidence, you’re more likely to pursue goals and accomplish them.

Believing in your ability to overcome obstacles makes you more willing to try and fail. It improves your skills, resiliency, and what you are capable of.

The benefits of self confidence are endless.

How To Build Self Confidence

Self-confidence is not only about what you feel about yourself on the inside, but also how you project that feeling to others.

Projecting a positive image to others can help you improve your self-confidence, but faking it will not get you very far.

These steps will help you build self confidence so that the image you present to the world matches the confidence within:

  1. Improve your body language

Body language can tell you if someone is confident.

The good news is that, even if you don’t feel confident in the moment, mimicking confident body language can help you become confident.

Standing or sitting up straight instead of slouching says a lot about your self confidence. Open your body and make eye contact with whomever you’re interacting with.

  1. Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse requires a great deal of confidence and intelligence. Practice active listening when someone else is talking, be open-minded, and give honest feedback in return.

If you’re willing to have civil conversations about difficult topics, you will not only build confidence in your abilities, but also realize that you are a capable, intelligent person.

  1. Quit the comparison game

Comparing yourself to others is a waste of time. Instead, focus on improving yourself day by day.

Don't compare yourself to other people, who may have private struggles you know nothing about. Instead, focus on your own accomplishments and the positive aspects of your life.

  1. Become a better communicator

Confident people know how to have effective communication, the more you work on your communication skills, the easier it will be for you to succeed.

Learning the principles of communication is crucial for making a good first impression.

It allows you to engage other people, and it lets you project confidence even when you’re plagued with self-doubt.

  1. Focus on personal growth

Focusing on internal growth instead of external will guard you against feelings of inadequacy or impostor syndrome. 

Practice meditation, mindful listening and emotional growth. These areas will make you a more resilient, resourceful and emotionally mature person.

Confidence will help you tackle obstacles, bounce back from defeats, and feel good about yourself no matter what life throws your way.

  1. Affirm yourself

Positive affirmations are a powerful tool for building and retaining self confidence. By stating aloud your positive qualities, you will remember your strength and know your worth.

You can change your life by changing your thinking. 

Every morning, repeat positive mantras in the mirror, such as “I can handle anything life throws at me” or “I am deserving of all my successes.”

Write down a list of your strengths, carry it with you and refer to it whenever self-doubt strikes.

  1. Seek out feedback

People who are self confident also have a healthy sense of humility. They know their strengths and weaknesses, and they aren’t afraid to admit to either.

  Instead of resting on their laurels, they are always working hard to improve themselves. Find mentors who have what you want and learn from them. 

Get feedback from your mentor about your performance to identify areas in which you can grow. 

You'll not only stay on track with your personal growth, but you'll also get positive external feedback on your strengths.

  1. Take care of your body

Physical wellness is essential to self-confidence. It’s hard to feel grateful for our outside blessings when we’re dealing with fatigue, stress, and body image issues.

To build and maintain self confidence, make sure you’re practicing self-care in fitness, nutrition and mental wellness.

Establish a workout routine that fits your schedule, even if it’s just 10 minutes at a time. Take the time to read food labels and choose healthy foods you enjoy eating. 

Have a self-care routine in place to deal with stress and avoid burnout.

  1. Test your limits

Learning something new is one of the best ways to build self confidence.

If you spend all of your time doing what you already know how to do, you won’t have an accurate gauge of your abilities to handle the unknown. 

Push yourself to the limits of your abilities by trying new things and experiencing new skills that you’ve never tried before.

You’ll build self-confidence when you realize just how well you do when up against a challenge that is outside of your comfort zone.

How To Know If You Are Overconfident

When building self confidence, it’s easy to go too far and fall into the trap of overconfidence.

As long as you’re mindful of the signs of overconfidence, you can build self-confidence without alienating others.  

Here are the signs to watch out for:

  • You talk much more than you listen.
  • You’d rather teach others than learn from them.
  • You’re obsessed with how others perceive you.
  • You deny your weak spots and dismiss your failures.
  • You hide your true self around other people.
  • You get frustrated when you don’t do as well as you think you should.
  • You stop trying to grow.

Knowing how to be confident is an extremely valuable skill, one that can greatly affect the way that you interact with people and the way your coworkers, friends, and family view you.

The tips above are meant to get you started on your journey towards a more confident state of mind.

But remember: it takes time, so don't expect overnight results. The more effort you put in every day, the better you'll feel about yourself and the more confident you'll become.

How To Foster Self-Confidence to Have Higher Achievements

Can you define the boundaries of your life? I don't mean your physical boundaries like where you work, the places you hang out with friends and what's in your cupboard.

We all know that, but I'm talking about emotional and mental boundaries. A lot of people can struggle with this and find it hard to set boundaries, sticking to them or even knowing when they need to be set.

Setting boundaries is one of the most important skills to have in life. We live in a culture that values kindness and generosity over confrontation.

But saying no is an important way to protect your time, energy, and well-being. It’s important to remember that you are an individual with boundaries and limits, even when you care about someone a great deal.

Here are some tips on how to set your own boundaries and make them stick.

What Does Setting Healthy Boundaries Mean?

Healthy boundaries are sometimes difficult to define. When someone is doing something that directly affects you negatively, it's your responsibility to speak up and set a boundary.

Even though you may feel guilty, you do have the right to say 'no' without having to explain yourself.

For example, as long as I can communicate my preference for not receiving work calls after hours in a respectful way (and not ignore it when it’s violated), then I am setting reasonable boundaries.

The Benefits Of Setting Healthy Boundaries

So, are boundaries really important? Are they a luxury or a necessity?  I believe that you must have them in order to have a balanced life.

Healthy boundaries help us avoid burnout, maintain our physical and mental health, and show up for the things that matter to us.

Boundaries can be a gift, marking the limits we accept and those we don’t. They give us freedom, autonomy and control over our decisions.

If you want to understand the importance of healthy boundaries, here are some of the benefits of setting personal boundaries.

  1. Avoid burnout

When we don’t know how to say no, we can easily take on too much work or responsibility. 

By setting healthy boundaries, we can avoid overworking ourselves and make sure that the things that matter most get the attention they deserve.

  1. Reduce conflict

When we don't set boundaries, we tend to become resentful and lash out whenever people go too far.

When we communicate effectively, we can avoid the conflict that arises when people unknowingly cross that line in the sand.

  1. Improve self-respect

When you fail to set healthy boundaries with others, you become a doormat for them to walk all over, disrespecting your time and worth.

Setting boundaries allows you to live an autonomous life by respecting yourself and saying no when needed.

All you need to do is to stand up for what you believe in and live your best life. 

  1. Set clear expectations

People can't read minds. You have to tell others what your boundaries are so they know how to work best with you.

That way, everyone's on the same page and there are no misunderstandings. So, understanding people and your needs are the principles for happiness. 

  1. Improve communication

Boundaries are an important part of communicating with others. Improving communication skills, we learn to say no, and they give us practice standing up for ourselves when our boundaries aren’t respected.

Hints| How To Set Boundaries?

If you want to learn how to set boundaries, you need to know that it is easier said than done.

To become better at setting boundaries, take these steps:

  1. Identify your needs

First, ask yourself what it is that you need. To be spoken to with respect? More downtime? Greater respect for your time? 

It can be helpful to identify certain behaviors that bother you and ask yourself which need of yours isn’t getting met. 

If someone is consistently late, you might need to know how to set boundaries in relationships that your time is valuable and lateness infringes upon your ability to do other important tasks.

  1. Acknowledge your worth

You deserve to have your needs met and to feel respected, just as anyone else does. If you want to set healthy boundaries, you must remember that you are deserving of them.

Self-awareness helps to improve the quality of your life. 

  1. Examine existing boundaries

If you’re new at learning how to set boundaries, a good place to start is by asking yourself if you’ve ever set any before. 

If your colleagues know not to disturb you after a certain hour, for example, you can use this as a starting point for creating other boundaries in your life—perhaps with your spouse or children.

  1. Give yourself the gift of saying 'no'

You may feel guilty at first when you start saying no to people but don’t worry about it. People may be frustrated by your sudden unwillingness to put up with their behavior, but they will get over it. 

Saying no will become second nature soon enough.

  1. Communicate respectfully

It's one thing to tell someone what you need in a polite and respectful way. It's another to yell at them for violating your boundaries.

Always show respect to others and communicate new boundaries in a clear way, as well as learn to bring up violations without anger.

  1. Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse is an effective way of having difficult conversations. It will help you to respect other people’s right to speak and communicate respectfully while also exercising your own right to be honest.

Make Sure You Stick To Your Healthy Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries is the first step to getting what you want from life. 

Once you’ve put in place the boundaries that work for you, stick to them.  Here are a few ways to help you stick to them:

  1. Always keep your boundaries in mind

Be clear about your boundaries so that you can act firmly when others start to infringe.

  1. Have a plan at the ready

Don’t wait for others to violate your boundaries. Instead, decide how you’ll communicate with them when you wish to remind them of the boundary you’ve set.

  1. Learn from your mistakes

When you set a boundary, try not to be so rigid about it.  If a situation arises where, for example, you need to change your mind about what’s okay and what isn’t, don’t be afraid to communicate openly with those around you about why your boundaries have changed.

  1. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness helps you become more aware of your emotions. This can help you handle your relationships more effectively and set boundaries when you need to.

  1. Seek out mentors

If you want to meet your own needs, try to find people who are good at getting their needs met and do what they do.

Ask them questions and seek out their advice on setting your own boundaries.

You may also help yourself with asking self-reflection questions to understand your real needs. 

Setting boundaries is not easy, especially when you're starting out. Unfortunately, setting good boundaries isn't a magical process where setting just one boundary causes all your problems to go away.

Instead, it's a process that requires some willpower and effort. But if you want to set better boundaries in your life, keep reading.

After all, as long as you keep at it and do the work, your efforts will pay off in the end.

Learn To Set Your Healthy Boundaries To Live Happy

Self awareness is a difficult state to achieve, but it is the holy grail of emotional intelligence.

Self aware people are highly aware of their emotions, and of the effect they are having on others.

They take full ownership of their lives, which makes them strong and happy individuals.

Although many people think they are self-aware, the reality is that lacking self-awareness is what keeps people from realizing how unaware they really are.

According to research by psychologist Tasha Eurich, the percentage of people who are truly self-aware lies between 12 and 15 percent.

But how can we improve if we don't know where we stand on the scale of self-awareness?

The answer is simple–practice. Like any other skill, we can gain self awareness through consistent effort and discipline. 

I’ll go over the different types of self awareness and what you can do to refine your self-awareness and self-reflection skills.

If you think you are lacking self awareness, you need to start practicing it to boost your life quality and live a happy life.

What Is Self Awareness?

Self awareness is the ability to objectively evaluate yourself—how you truly are, and how others perceive you.

It means understanding your emotional responses and what triggers them.

You also know what your values are and whether or not you’re living in alignment with them. 

It is difficult to master self awareness, especially because it means keeping our emotions from driving our behavior.

Also, it takes humility and flexibility to change our actions when we need to.

Think back to the last time you received criticism, whether at work or in your personal life. 

Did you stop and listen objectively to what you were hearing? 

Or did you go on the defensive, believing the other person was blowing things out of proportion? 

Being self-aware helps you admit your weaknesses and respond accordingly to negative feedback and constructive criticism.

In fact, feedback is one of the keys to gaining more power over yourself, if you are lacking self awareness.

The Two Main Types Of Self Awareness

There are two main types of self awareness: internal and external.  Internal self awareness is all about understanding how you operate–what your values are, what motivates you, your strengths and weaknesses. 

For example, you might know that you struggle with productivity, but also know that setting self-imposed deadlines can help you overcome it. 

This kind of internal self awareness can propel you out of inaction and help you achieve your goals.

External self awareness refers to how other people perceive you. This is related to internal self awareness, but having one doesn’t always mean having the other. 

You may know yourself quite well, but be completely clueless as to how others perceive you. 

For example, while you might work hard and take your job seriously, communication barriers with your colleagues can lead them to believe you’re a slacker. 

It’s important to make sure that your actions match the person you know yourself to be.

find self awareness

Benefits Of Self-Awareness

Self awareness is essential to personal growth. The more you know about yourself, the easier it will be to improve your weak areas and capitalize on your strengths.

Here are a few benefits to self awareness:

  • You can more easily see things from other people’s perspectives.
  • You can practice self-control and reigning in your emotions.
  • You can become more efficient at your job.
  • You can boost your self-confidence through continuous self-improvement.
  • You can make better decisions with more reliable information.
  • You can improve your work environment and emotional well-being.
  • You can strengthen your relationships and gain other people’s trust.

How To Become More Self-Aware

Anyone can develop self awareness, even if they don't feel like they have a good handle on it now.

It just takes the desire to improve and a willingness to temporarily deal with any discomfort that comes up along the way.

It may go against your nature to ask for feedback and question your own assumptions about yourself. 

But if you’re willing to do these things, however scary, then you’ll be surprised how fast you’ll grow. 

These examples can help you develop and even master this skill, if you consider yourself lacking self awareness: 

  1. Practice mindfulness

You’d be surprised what you can learn when you’re paying attention.  All day, we’re surrounded by information coming from every angle–text messages, meetings, even the sights that pass by on our morning commute. 

We’ve trained ourselves to tune out anything we deem unnecessary, but often we go too far and find ourselves on autopilot. 

Practice mindfulness by taking a moment to look at your surroundings–what do you see?  Hear? Smell? Taste?

  The more you’re able to stop and be present in your own body, the more you’ll be able to observe your emotions and how you react to things.

  1. Journal your awareness

Writing is an excellent way of grounding ourselves in the present moment. Whenever you stop and practice mindfulness, take the time to write down everything you’re experiencing. 

What are you feeling? Have you experienced anything new? Is there something you’ve learned about yourself that you didn’t know before? 

It might be easy to remember what you had for breakfast yesterday, but much harder to remember how you felt when you first woke up. 

These journal entries can help you look back and track your emotional state over a period of time.

  1. Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse is a powerful tool to help us get a handle on our emotions. When you practice civil discourse, you become a mindful listener

You learn how to consider and then respond rather than immediately react. 

You also train yourself to understand the opposing side and gain new perspectives when you’re not entrenched in your own judgment. 

Civil discourse and self-awareness are two of the biggest assets in social leadership and in life.

  1. Ask for feedback

Most of us bristle when we receive feedback. Try practicing contrary action by soliciting feedback whenever you can.

The more you ask for feedback from superiors and colleagues, the more you’ll learn about yourself and how others perceive you.

You can also train yourself to become more comfortable with the process so that it becomes less of a burden when you receive unsolicited or constructive feedback.

  1. Try new experiences

Humans are creatures of habit. We don’t like discomfort, and new experiences are often uncomfortable.  If you want to improve your self-awareness, however, try exposing yourself to new experiences on a regular basis.

This will teach you more about what you like and what you don’t like. It will also help you learn how you react in different situations–do you stay calm?  Lose your cool?  Are you curious or closed off?  Rigid or flexible?

get self awareness

How To Test Your Self Awareness

There are many ways you can test your self awareness. One way is to write a list of your strengths and weaknesses. 

Once you're done, show it to a trusted friend and ask their opinion—do they believe the list is accurate?

  Is anything missing?  This will show you whether or not your perception of yourself aligns with how other people see you.

Another way to test your self-awareness is to take a personality test like an Enneagram test. Do the results match up with what you thought they would be?  How do they differ? 

Ideally, over time, you’ll test yourself in deeper ways that bring you closer to understanding who you truly are.

Self-awareness is necessary if you want to be a great leader

If you can pick your best traits and build on them to strengthen your weaknesses, you have a much better chance of success.

Self-Awareness: The Path To Self-Discovery and Success

If you’ve ever been in the middle of a meeting and suddenly found your attention wandering, you’re not alone.

  Studies have shown that although we spend 55% of our day listening, we only remember 17-25% of what we hear. 

People who practice mindful listening, however, receive numerous benefits.  Mindful listening increases your attention span and improves your memory. 

Beyond that, studies have shown that practicing mindfulness correlates with higher satisfaction in relationships.

Learning how to listen mindfully is something you need to practice regularly.  I’ll walk you through the basics as well as a few mindful listening activities you can practice to improve your skills.

What Is Mindful Listening?

Mindful listening combines two different practices: mindfulness and listening. Mindfulness is about being aware of your surroundings.

Active listening, however, is about paying attention to someone else's speech and demonstrate mindful listening.

When you combine the two, you’re able to receive information and remain open-minded. You don’t let distraction or judgment affect your ability to understand people.

Think of the last time you listened to a friend complain to you about a problem. Did you listen actively, nodding along and asking follow-up questions? 

Or did you interrupt with your own advice, tune out after a while, or let your attention wander?  When you listen mindfully, you’re present in the conversation in a way that allows the other person to feel heard and understood.

5 Benefits For Mindful Listening

It’s true that mindful listening can do wonders for your personal relationships. 

But it can also help your professional relationships, making you a better and more efficient worker and have productive team collaboration.

Mindful listening has a multitude of benefits for your life and career as an aspect of social skills, including the points below:

  1. You can retain more information

We can’t remember everything we hear, but it’s important that we remember more than we forget. 

Mindful listening helps you retain more information from a conversation that can be useful to you later. 

Whether you’re learning a complicated new subject, being briefed on a work project, or meeting a new client, it’s important to retain the necessary information to do your job efficiently and find common ground.

  1. You have more time to consider your words

Pausing before you speak gives you time to choose your words carefully.  Many of us speak hastily or out of emotion, which can lead to miscommunication and hurt feelings.

  Practicing mindful listening allows you to take a moment after the other person has finished speaking to consider how you will respond to respect other opinions.

You may find that certain things can be said more eloquently or even not said at all.

  1. You can pay attention for longer

Our attention spans are terribly short, but luckily there is a way to lengthen them. Mindful listening increases the amount of time that we can pay attention by focusing our energies on the present. 

When you set an intention to listen mindfully, you find that distractions are much fewer and further between.

  1. You’ll become an active listener

Active listening is such a powerful tool in the world of business. Whenever I meet with clients, I make an effort to sustain eye contact and keep my body language open. 

I also show that I’m paying attention by nodding along and giving small verbal encouragements to continue. By practicing active listening, I know that the other person feels heard.

  1. You’ll boost your self-esteem

The best way to boost your self-esteem is to practice estimable acts.  What’s more estimable than being a good listener in a world of bad listeners? 

People respect and appreciate those who offer them their undivided attention. You’ll make strong business relationships with people who see you as a mindful listener, which will allow you to see your own strengths.

How To Practice Mindful Listening

Becoming a mindful listener takes time and practice. You have to set a clear intention to be a better listener, which isn’t an easy task to do.

It’s normal to find yourself getting lost in your own thoughts every once in a while–this can happen to the best of listeners. 

But what separates those who listen mindfully from those who don’t is the ability to take a moment, acknowledge that your attention wandered, and then redirect back to genuine listening.

Practical Tips To Enhance Mindful Listening

To make it easier on you, I’ve listed a few practical mindful listening activities and exercises you can do to become a better listener.  Here are a few tips:

  1. Focus on staying present

This mindful listening exercise will require a bit of discipline on your part. As human beings, it’s natural for our attention to drift to something that happened this morning or what we’re doing later in the day. 

But in order to listen mindfully, you have to be grounded in the present avoiding all types of listening barriers.  Find ways to ground yourself by focusing on the other speaker’s eyes, their words, and the tone of their voice.

  1. Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse goes hand in hand with mindful listening. 

To practice civil discourse, you have to listen with an open mind, refrain from interrupting, and allow the other person to finish speaking before thinking of your own response.

  It will take a bit of work to get into this mindset, but it will help you have honest conversations about difficult topics without losing your cool.

  1. Ask questions

Asking questions not only shows you’re paying attention, but it can help you stay on track in the conversation.

Ask follow-up questions and repeat what you’ve heard back to the person for clarifications.  

  1. Pay attention to body language and tone

Body language and tone are both important forms of nonverbal communication that can add to what the person’s words say. 

Watch the speaker’s body language and listen for their tone to see how that affects what they’re saying.  You may find that a follow-up question is required to clarify or probe for more information.

  1. Practice mindfulness meditation

The best mindful listening exercise is meditation. Not only will it train you to be present, but it will also work as a way to combat stress and burnout. 

Try meditating for a few minutes a day in the beginning and see how it affects your ability to listen.

These mindful listening activities can help you unlock the key to being a better listener. 

Not only will you retain more information, but you’ll  and have effective communication with everyone around you.

Learn How To Practice Mindful Listening

Communication is something we all know how to do, but few of us can do it effectively. 

We talk more than we listen, we tune out what bores us, and we allow personal judgments to cloud our understanding. 

If we want to succeed in the workplace, however, then effective communication skills are essential.  

Whether you're presenting at a meeting, sending an email to a client or negotiating with a supplier, the bottom line is that the principles of communication can result in increased productivity and success.

Regardless of the type of business you're in, effective communication skills can help you develop stronger relationships, build stronger talent and increase your bottom line.

Read on for some helpful tips on how to improve communication skills and what can get in the way of you being a better communicator.

What Is Effective Communication?

Effective communication is all about exchanging information in a way where the message is clearly received and understood. 

When you communicate effectively, you exchange knowledge, opinions, and ideas with another person in a way that leaves both people feeling understood and heard.

I’ll give you an example. Say you’re in a meeting with your boss and he’s talking about a new project he’d like your team to work on.

His presentation is overly long, directionless, and frequently diverges into unrelated topics.  Sound familiar? 

While we’ve probably all worked with someone like this, we may not realize that the problem here is ineffective communication. 

When you’re an effective communicator, you know how to transmit information quickly, clearly, and concisely.  Ineffective communication can turn off listeners, confuse people, and lead to costly mistakes.

Common Barriers To Effective Communication

We are all capable of learning effective communication skills. However, we’re all susceptible to certain barriers that keep us from being good communicators. 

Here are a few of the most common communication barriers that prevent people from finding common grounds:

Stress and out-of-control emotions

When we’re upset, we don’t always think, act, or speak rationally. If you’re under a lot of stress or feeling angry, you’re less likely to listen with an open mind and respect other opinions

You’re also less likely to be direct yet courteous. Passive aggressive comments and outbursts are not only ineffective, but also damaging to our professional relationships.

So, it is vital to know how to stay calm during an argument and foster positivity. 

Lack of focus

True, not everyone is the most enthralling at telling a story. If you find yourself growing bored or the person you’re listening to starts rambling, then you’re much less likely to communicate effectively. 

But just because someone else’s communication style is lacking doesn’t mean that yours has to be. You can overcome this barrier with a little bit of discipline and some good follow-up questions.

Cultural differences

Cultures differ, and with them our communication styles. Some cultures have a much more direct communication style than others, while some have a certain tradition of courtesy that we may not be used to. 

If we’re communicating with someone from a different culture, we may find it difficult to understand their communication style or have our own be understood.

Negative body language

Our body language sometimes says more than our words do. Nothing shuts down a conversation faster than crossed arms and a scowl. 

It’s important to be mindful that our body language is open and nonjudgmental to encourage others to be honest. 

Otherwise, we might find that our body language keeps us from hearing important information that we need to hear.

Tips To Initiate Effective Communication

Communicating effectively is a skill that you can learn.  There are a few practices you can work on that will help you improve your effective communication skills over time. 

Here are six tips to foster effective communication:

  1. Give your undivided attention

How can you communicate effectively when your mind is elsewhere? There is no understating the importance of giving someone your undivided attention. 

This means putting down the phone, maintaining eye contact, and practicing active listening. When someone knows they have your full attention, they’re much more likely to speak freely.

  You’ll also be able to pick up on things like body language and other nonverbal communication that can add to what they’re saying.

  1. Get a team communication app

The easier it is to communicate, the less information falls through the cracks. Communication apps are great ways for team members to exchange information back and forth without having to go through multiple channels. 

Instead of having to sift through dozens of emails, put everyone on your team in the same chat group using the communication app of your choice. This will act as a central hub for all questions, ideas, and announcements.

  1. Show appreciation

People enjoy being told what they’re doing well. When you show appreciation for effective communication, you encourage others to improve their communication as well. 

This acts as positive reinforcement for their behavior and enforces an atmosphere of inclusivity.

  1. Ask follow-up questions

If you don’t know something, ask! This is the best way to clarify that what you’re hearing is what the other person is intending to say. 

Ask questions, repeat what you’ve heard back to the other person, and don’t be afraid to send follow-up questions by email if you think of anything later.

  1. Encourage two-way feedback

It’s not always easy for people to speak up with their superiors. But effective communication goes both ways, which is why two-way feedback is so important.

  When you encourage team members to offer you feedback, you make it easier to give them feedback without making them feel like they’re being singled out or negatively reacting to constructive criticism.

  1. Practice civil discourse

Civil discourse is at the heart of effective communication. Part of communicating effectively is ensuring that you’re allowing an open, honest, and respectful exchange of ideas. 

That means having an open mind, listening fully before formulating a response, and refraining from interrupting.

Just as you didn’t learn to speak overnight, you won’t become a perfect communicator overnight, either.

  Follow these tips to keep sharpening your effective communication skills and watch as you become a better leader.

6 Tips To Improve Your Effective Communication Skills

It’s easy to write off new entrepreneurs from unlikely places, and we as a society have trained ourselves to forget about those condemned to prison and correctional facilities. Yet the resilience shown by many prisoners, eager to reintegrate into society in productive ways, is the exact type of tenacity necessary to succeed in the unpredictable world of startups and freelancing. Non-profit Defy Ventures has been tapping into that previously untouched potential, setting the stage for inclusive entrepreneurialism. Finally, investors and business leaders are beginning to take notice.

THE DEFY MODEL: OPPORTUNITY AND IMPACT

Defy Ventures is a non-profit that challenges society’s perception of incarcerated individuals by viewing them as Entrepreneurs in Training (EITs)—full of untapped potential. This shift in perspective is more than semantics; it represents a profound change in how society perceives incarcerated individuals.

By providing hands-on training and traditional educational resources to inmates seeking career development, Defy helps overcome the lack of access to resources faced by inmates. The organization upgrades participants with leadership development, personal growth training, and startup incubation. Defy’s focus extends beyond startups to include gig workers, digital nomads, handymen, HVAC technicians, and freelancers, supporting small business owners with essential tools to kickstart their careers and make a meaningful impact in their communities.

The non-profit’s impact is far-reaching, providing a powerful solution to reduce recidivism rates. According to the report dated 2021, Defy Ventures has a three-year recidivism rate of less than 15% (compared to the national average of 39%), and 84% of Defy graduates who were seeking employment found job placement. Defy is changing the lives of EITs and reframing the narrative of what an entrepreneur can look like, where they can come from, and the environments in which they can thrive.

WITNESSING IMPACT: ENTREPRENEURSHIP AS A VEHICLE FOR CHANGE

Defy’s narrative of transformation demonstrates that the spirit of resilience and the passion of prisoners—combined with education, new opportunities, and support—translate into successful entrepreneurship from a segment of society too often brushed aside.

As an entrepreneur and volunteer, I was honored to participate in a Defy Ventures pitch competition and attend Defy’s graduation ceremony in a California prison. I went in with many misconceptions about the program and the participants, but my experiences with Defy rewrote those expectations. I learned that it takes nine months of rigorous study, examinations, and focus on personal growth, which prevents the faint-hearted and less resilient individuals from making it onto the EIT graduation list. Defy challenges participants and finds those with the tenacity and adaptability that any business leader knows are so vital in today’s tumultuous job market.

I believe that it is crucial to avoid romanticizing this journey or overlooking the past mistakes of the EITs. Instead, Defy’s aim is to recognize the current potential in each of them and provide them with the tools and opportunities to nurture that better future. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs came from troubled backgrounds and have overcome personal struggles, reinforcing that adversity often breeds resilience and innovation. Defy’s graduates embody this energy and possibility.

THE CALL TO ACTION: OUR ROLE AS INVESTORS AND ENTREPRENEURS

Inclusive entrepreneurship is the idea that all people, irrespective of their demographic, socioeconomic, or personal characteristics, should have equal opportunities to become entrepreneurs, start their businesses, and contribute to the economic development of their communities. As investors and business leaders, we can further this cause by considering how our portfolios can diversify and thus encompass ventures, freelancers, and entrepreneurs that break traditional molds.

Investors and business owners can consider collaborating with organizations like Defy Ventures and others that provide training and support to marginalized groups such as the incarcerated, immigrants, veterans, and refugees. Often non-profits eager to team up with hiring partners, these organizations have a deep understanding of the unique challenges faced by marginalized individuals and can help develop their entrepreneurial skills. Collaboration can be a quick shortcut to finding untapped pools of freelancers and gig workers.

By investing money and support in these programs, you contribute to their sustainability and enable them to continue their valuable work, essentially lengthening the alternative entrepreneur’s runway through education and mentorship. There can also be tax benefits for supporting these organizations financially. When hiring, consider utilizing such non-profits as a starting point for due diligence and skill verification. They can provide insights and recommendations about the skills and potential of their graduates, helping you make informed decisions and identify talented individuals who may bring diverse perspectives and experiences to your team.

Another crucial step is to encourage your own HR teams to broaden their pool of applicants for both traditional employment positions and freelance or gig work. Leaders can encourage teams to request certain new hires or contracting positions be filled with alternative freelancers who will bring valuable and unique insight from their unique experiences. Consider implementing strategies such as storytelling screening processes, skills-based assessments, and targeted outreach to underrepresented communities to ensure a more inclusive and equitable hiring process.

By actively working with organizations that train marginalized individuals, supporting them financially, and widening the scope of applicants for gigs, financial leaders and business owners can embrace inclusive entrepreneurship. By doing so, they not only contribute to social impact but also unlock untapped talent, drive innovation, and create a more diverse and resilient business ecosystem.

FINAL THOUGHTS

The work of Defy Ventures and similar organizations serves as an inspiration for both young entrepreneurs who are seeking to make a difference and investors keen on partnering with organizations that promote inclusive entrepreneurship. The journey Defy Venture’s graduates embarked upon is about more than starting a business. It is about reclaiming prisoners’ lives, defying the odds, and breaking cycles of negativity. For the EITs, inclusive entrepreneurship is not just a vocation but a lifeline.

Unlocking inclusive entrepreneurship: Uplifting non-traditional entrepreneurs

When I was in school, online learning wasn't nearly as accessible or developed as it is now.

There was a time when taking online courses was viewed as a weak alternative to face-to-face learning.

With the advent of new technology in distance learning, this has changed irrevocably. 

In fall of 2020, around 75% of all undergraduate students were taking at least one online education course.

However, even those who aren’t working toward a degree are increasingly preferring online learning due to its numerous benefits.

Here are some tips for learning online to deliver more value to your digital education.

Tips For Online Classes In 2023

If you’re taking an online class, you might be facing some unique challenges and might need tips for online classes. However, you need to remember that your efforts will pay off and deliver your desired destination.

Audo organizes online courses for people who want a positive change in their life and to acquire valuable knowledge for their future.

Here are 7 tips for learning online to help you get the most out of learning experience:

1. Treat it like a real class

An online class can be just as real as an in-person class if you have the discipline to treat it as such.

This means being present and engaged in the class, with your camera on, not on your phone, and not skipping class just because you “don’t feel like going.”

The flexibility that online classes offer is a blessing and a curse. You can learn from anywhere, at any time, but you must discipline yourself to do so. 

Treat an online course with the same respect you would an in-person course, and you will reap the benefits of this incredible tool.

2. Take responsibility

One of the best tips for online classes is just take the responsibility for your journey.

When you’re a student in a traditional school setting, your parents and teachers set deadlines for you and require you to meet them.

However, if you’re seeking out coursework on your own, it’s up to you to hold yourself responsible for your work in an online course.

You also need to figure out if you are a degree or a certificate preferring person.

If you want to succeed in your course and get the most out of it, then you need to be responsible for your education.

Set deadlines for yourself to complete all assignments before they’re due. It’s vital to learn how to manage your time, stay organized and be disciplined.

The more effort you put into self-discipline, the more you’ll thrive with your online classes.

3. Set a routine

One of my best tips for learning online is the importance of building a routine.

Not everyone works best under the same circumstances, so you'll have to do a bit of work to find out what works for you.

Do you work best in the morning? Afternoon? Evening?

Do you prefer to study in small increments every day, or to schedule large chunks of time together once or twice a week?

The better you know yourself, the easier it will be to create your own personalized study routine.

Make sure you create realistic goals for yourself when you create your study routine.

  It’s no use telling yourself you’ll study 2 hours a day if you’ve never managed more than an hour. 

Start small and work your way up to build your confidence step by step.

4. Check your progress systematically

Tips for online classes include productively is to check your progress systematically.

While it’s important to have a routine, it’s equally important to make sure that the routine you’ve created is actually serving you. 

Don’t just obsess over doing your routine perfectly–take a moment to ask yourself what works and what doesn’t. 

Have you been sticking to your routine?  Where did you deviate?  Did you make progress even if you didn’t achieve your goal?

As you work through these questions, try to be objective. 

If you find that you’ve overestimated your potential, don’t beat yourself up about it.

  Try recalibrating to see if there are changes you can make to help yourself get there. Or, perhaps the best thing to do is take a few steps back and be patient with yourself until you’ve grown a little more.

5. Be kind to yourself and celebrate your achievements

One potential downside of online learning is that the lines between work and play can become blurred.

It's important to take breaks when needed, so you can show up for your class without burning out. 

Be kind to yourself when you don’t achieve your goals, and celebrate the times that you do.

This can be as simple as spending a night out with friends, which can itself act as a way to get you recharged and refocused on your goals.

6. Avoid procrastination

Procrastination is the deadliest of all bad habits. It paralyzes us when we tell ourselves, "I'll do it tomorrow." Procrastination not only threatens your productivity and ability to achieve your goals but it also makes you stressed out and anxious. 

Putting things off only lengthens the amount of time that you have to worry and stress out.

Make sure you tackle the tasks you hate the most first when you make your to-do lists.

This will give you the push you need to keep going rather than stand still.

If you’re tempted to procrastinate, create a reminder on your phone.

You can also use online Pomodoro Timers to balance out work and breaks.

You’ll force yourself to take breaks, and you will train yourself to switch between the two seamlessly.

7. Give it your all

Here we go with number one tip for learning online. You only have one life to live–surely you don’t want any of it to go to waste.

When you sign up for an online course, you’re taking a step towards an important goal. 

Maybe you’re learning a new language for a trip you have planned, or picking up a skill to help you get a promotion at work.

As you pursue your goals, remember to take a moment to remind yourself of why you made this commitment in the first place.

If you can visualize what it is you want, it will be that much easier to give it your all.

Remember that lifelong learning  is essential for good life quality. 

These tips for online classes will help you get the most out of your online education, without the benefit of in-person learning.

Follow these tried-and-tested tips, and you’ll create a routine that brings out the best in you.

7 Tips For Learning Online Effectively and Productively

How to become an entrepreneur? Entrepreneurial thinking is the ability to spot a way to do something better than it's been done before, and then to make it happen.

Entrepreneurship has taken many forms, from the artisan shops of the Middle Ages to the multinational corporations of today. However, every entrepreneur has his or her own unique story. 

While some entrepreneurs have been full-time business people, others have worked other jobs and used their skills as entrepreneurs at night or on the weekends.

Some entrepreneurs started companies that were intended to create only one new product or service; others were the founding patrons of entire industries.

Becoming an entrepreneur is all about building something out of nothing but an idea, and that’s a concept as old as time itself.

Who Is An Entrepreneur?

Most people don't understand what it means to be an entrepreneur. Many are even scared of the word, attributing to it negative connotations such as 'risk-taking' and 'failure.' 

Here we’ll take a  look at the very nature of entrepreneurship, from both a strictly factual perspective, and from a more personal perspective.

Deciding to be an entrepreneur does not make you one. Nor does being born into a family that encourages entrepreneurship or joining a startup immediately after graduating from college.

An entrepreneur is someone who organizes and operates a business, taking on significant financial risks to turn their dream into a reality.

Entrepreneurship can be a deeply fulfilling, liberating and empowering way to live.

Starting a company and growing it from a seed of an idea to a thriving company, however, can be very difficult.

You need a lot of business savvy and skill in order to navigate the steps to becoming an entrepreneur. 

While some people are born with the traits necessary to be entrepreneurs, others have to learn them through practice. 

The good news is that, if you have enough drive and determination, you can learn how to be an entrepreneur.

Should You Become An Entrepreneur?

Why become an entrepreneur? The benefits are many, but that doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone. 

Here are a few of the main reasons you might find the answer on why become an entrepreneur and what changes it can deliver. Learn the steps of becoming an entrepreneur.

  1. You want to be independent

The main reason why most people choose to become entrepreneurs is because they want independence.

When you create your own company, you work for yourself. 

You don’t have to report to anyone, get anyone else’s permission to make decisions, or be beholden to a schedule that you don’t set.

  1. You want to have greater freedom and flexibility

Entrepreneurship grants you a certain level of freedom and flexibility that most people don’t have.

You can build a schedule around your own needs, control your own salary, and grow your business as fast or as slow as you want.

  1. You see a niche in the market you want to fill

Entrepreneurs often start their own businesses because they see an unmet need in the market.

If you stumble across a business opportunity that no one else has identified, you can find success by offering people something they cannot currently get elsewhere.

  1. You want to share your creative passion

A strong desire to help other people provides many entrepreneurs with the motivation they need to succeed. 

Passionate people who want to share their creative ideas with the world can make a difference in that way by becoming an entrepreneur.

  1. You want extra income

Money should not be the primary motivating factor in your life, but it can be the driving force behind successful entrepreneurship. 

With financial risk comes the potential for great financial gain, and founding a company can lead to high levels of income.

Skills You Need To Cultivate To Become An Entrepreneur

You may have the most business savvy, but that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels. Here are some skills to practice every day if you want to become a successful entrepreneur.

  1. Communication skills

Communication is key to working effectively with other people.  In order to be an entrepreneur, you need to know how to practice active listening. 

Improve your communication skills by reading up on civil discourse and active listening, asking others for honest feedback, and proofreading all written communication.

  1. Leadership skills

Leaders know how to motivate, inspire, and guide the people they lead. Practice your leadership skills by taking on more responsibility, striving for discipline, and taking initiative. 

A hunger to learn and challenge yourself will help build you into the leader you need to be.

  1. Strong focus

Entrepreneurs can’t afford to take their eye off the ball.  Hone in your ability to focus by setting goals for yourself every day. 

Consistently check in with your progress and make a daily effort towards your goal. You’ll soon develop a stronger sense of focus that will serve you well on your entrepreneurial journey.

  1. A drive to learn

The best entrepreneurs are curious people. The more interested you are in learning, the more you’ll grow.  Use every challenge as an opportunity to learn. 

The only person you’re competing with is the person you were yesterday, so try every day to learn more than you knew before.

  1. Flexibility

Routines help center us and keep us fixed on our goals.  But life throws us constant curveballs, which is why flexibility is a must-have for any entrepreneur. 

If you practice flexibility, you’ll be able to push through challenges without becoming derailed. Challenge yourself to adapt to new circumstances and practice humility by becoming willing to change when needed.

How To Become A Successful Entrepreneur

So, how do you become an entrepreneur? There are many tips that can help you get started on the path to creating your own business.  

Here are a ten initiatives for an entrepreneurial plan:

  1. Identify profitable startup ideas.

The first step in how to become an entrepreneur is to come up with an idea for your startup. 

A business is only as good as its ideas, which means that this is the single most important decision you’ll make in your journey.

Brainstorm on products or services your business can provide its customers; then do research to see which ones have the greatest potential for profitability.

  1. Identify and focus on a growing category (or categories).

It’s okay if your business isn’t entirely unique.  Maybe you’re inspired by the variety of subscription box services popping up around the world and want to do something in that vein.

  As long as you’re offering something that no one else is (or doing it in a better way) and you market yourself properly, you can take advantage of a surge in popularity around a certain area—and eventually grow beyond it.

  1. Fill an underserved demand.

Maybe you’ve been working in a coffee shop for years, and you’ve realized that there is only one bakery in your city that delivers gluten-free pastries.

Because the demand for this niche product isn’t being met, you could capitalize on it by starting your own bakery.

  1. Make something better (or cheaper) than what’s out there.

Always look for ways to improve the things people are already doing.

If you can find a way to create a better way to do something that’s already being done, that’s a valuable business idea worth pursuing.

  1. Validate your startup idea with buyer persona research.

Before you narrow your product focus, do your research on potential customers. The more you know about who your ideal customers would be, the better you’ll be able to serve them. 

By researching data on who your ideal customers would be, you’ll be able to focus your time on qualified prospects and develop a product that meets their specific needs.

  1. Start with a minimum viable product (MVP).

A minimum viable product (MVP) helps you to improve your product early on by receiving and integrating user feedback.

This gives you a plethora of information about your customers with very little effort.

It also allows you to release your product as quickly as possible, test it before committing to a larger budget, and improve it based on customer feedback.

  1. Create a business plan.

Your business plan is the road map to your company's future. 

Early investors want to see a formal business plan, so try to be as detailed as you can with it early on.  You can always refine it and add to it over time.

  1. Continue to iterate based on feedback.

If you have a minimum viable product, seek feedback from your customers to ensure that you’re creating something that solves their problems.

If you don’t have a minimum viable product, incorporate feedback into your work to make sure you’re best serving your customer’s needs.

  1. Consider a co-founder.

Having a co-founder or two can help you run your business and take some of the pressure off. 

It is easier to delegate work with someone else by your side who has different skills than you, and the stress of running a business will be lessened when there are more than one people sharing it.

  1. Manage your business and keep learning.

Once you’re on the ground, you’ll want to keep learning new things about your business.

The more hands-on you are, the more you’ll understand how your business works and how you can improve.

Starting a business is not an easy task. It takes courage and risk. Some businesses succeed, and some fail.

You may think the challenges of starting a business are enormous. You’re right.

That’s why most people don't start a business, or taper off after the initial excitement and motivation fades.

If you want to become an entrepreneur, you need to start applying what you've learned in this guide, by adhering to the trends, and by being honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses.

You can be among the small minority of self-employed individuals who are successful in building companies they are passionate about.

How To Become An Entrepreneur: 10 Steps to Apply in 2023

Our lives are ever-changing. New technology is constantly being updated, skills that were valuable for us only a few years ago might no longer be relevant, and the speed at which this change occurs is increasing with each passing year.

Continuous learning is the best way to stay ahead of the curve. By continuously learning, you can develop your skills and grow in your career.

According to research, 54% of employees believe that continued training and new skills are essential to keep up with workplace changes. 

Too often, companies fail to implement the training necessary to help their employees succeed.

Constant learners, however, take it upon themselves to learn new skills and stay relevant by doing so.

In this blog post I will cover everything you need to know about the importance of continual learning, how it can benefit your life, and what steps you can take to practice it with purpose.

What Is Continuous Learning?

Continuous learning is the continuous desire to keep learning, developing new skills and techniques, and refining your existing ones.

It is a pathway to not only developing the skills necessary to excel in your career, but also to grow and be a better person.

Unlike traditional schooling or on-the-job training, continually learning is something you take on yourself to grow and learn new skills.

You should never feel like you’re constantly learning without interruption. 

Continually learning is about being willing to take opportunities to improve your skills and abilities over the course of your life. It is a lifelong learning journey. 

continually learning

The Benefits Of Continuous Learning

There are no limits to the ways in which one can benefit from continually learning. 

I owe much of my success to this practice, as I believe that my desire to grow and learn as much as possible played a major role in getting me where I am today.

Here are some of the ways in which you can benefit from being a continual learner:

1. Improve your skills

The first and most important benefit of continuous learning is that it can help you learn new skills.  80% of people agree that learning new skills would make them more engaged, but only 56% of people actually go out and learn new skills. 

When you make a habit of learning new things, you open up a world of opportunities. Even something as simple as taking an online course in programming can take your career to the next level. Get aware of how to learn new skills

2. Be confident at what you do

When you don't have the skills to do your job well, your mental health suffers just as much as your work does. 

40% of workers with poor training decide to leave their companies within the first year. 

This shows the importance of continual learning in building our confidence at work. 

When you know you have the skills to do what’s demanded of you, you find out just how much a sense of confidence can help you achieve.

3. Keep up with current innovations

You may be perfectly qualified for a job when first hired, but if you’re not a continual learner, you’ll soon fall behind. 

Technology changes rapidly, which affects almost every industry in the world.

As the world changes, so do the needs of business.

Accountants are switching from paper filing to digital, programmers have to learn new coding systems, and the real estate market is constantly shifting.

Continuous learning allows you to stay on top of new developments, learning new skills when necessary and adapting seamlessly.

4. Get ahead in your career

People who take the initiative and go above and beyond in their work are rewarded. 

If you take the reins of your own training, your superiors will notice your effort and reward you for it. 

Taking an extra online class or two might make you eligible for a promotion or provide you with an extra bargaining chip for a raise.

If you stay stagnant and don’t try to learn, however, don’t be surprised when you’re still working the same job after 15 years. 

To get something different, you have to do something different. Continuous learning is the key to getting you where you want to go in your career.

5. Become a more well-rounded person

Continually learning is not limited to your career. Continuous learners embrace growth in every area of their life, making them more well-rounded people. 

Pursuing personal development goals will make you a more likable person and improve your social and professional relationships.

By practicing mindfulness, you can become more emotionally adept. 

Learning to play a new instrument can also help you become more cultured and enrich your life through new hobbies.

continuous learning

How To Practice Continuous Learning With Purpose

If you want to become a continuous learner, you’ll have to make a concerted effort to practice it with purpose. Here are a few ways you can create a culture of continuous learning:

1. Maintain a growth mindset

The goal of continually learning is to create a habit of growth, so that you can keep growing throughout your life.

The more you embrace growth as a way of life, the easier it will be to welcome opportunities instead of turning them down.

If you cultivate a mindset of constant growth, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that present themselves.

For example, you may notice a poster advertising a dance class or start researching online courses to find one that seems interesting.

When you choose to remain open to growth, continuous learning becomes a way of life.

2. Set goals for yourself

It’s difficult to be a continual learner if your desires are vague.  Sure, you may have a desire to learn Italian, but what exactly does that look like? 

Do you want to be fluent by a certain date? Take a certain number of classes in a year? Prepare for a upcoming trip to Italy?

If you set concrete goals for yourself, these goals can provide the necessary motivation to keep showing up for the learning process.

3. Get feedback from experienced personnel

Growth is impossible without feedback.  Without feedback from people who know what they’re talking about, you risk standing still. 

Seek out feedback wherever you can in order to identify opportunities for growth.

Ask your boss at work to identify areas in which you could improve and then check in with him or her regularly to see how you're growing.

Find people who have the skills you want and ask them what they did to obtain them.

Feedback will give you an objective gauge of where you are in the learning process, so that you can accurately measure your progress.

4. Join groups to find other learners

Learning is a lot more fun when you are doing it with other people.

A great way to motivate yourself to learn new things is to join groups of people who share your common interests.

By taking online courses you can find new opportunities, advice and camaraderie in a new environment.

Online platforms can be particularly helpful by putting you in touch with other people taking the same online courses as you.

5. Check your progress

To keep up your motivation to keep learning, take a look at how far you've come. 

Check in with yourself regularly to see the ways in which you've grown. What new skills have you gained?

  What courses have you completed? What changes have you seen in your life since you started?

Writing these things down can help you see just how beneficial continuous learning has been in your life.

6. Put your skills to use

Never let a new skill go to waste. Put it to use in whatever way you can, even if it’s just a little bit, to keep yourself sharp.

If you’ve learned to play the piano, incorporate it into your life by booking a concert series with friends. 

If you’re learning a new language, plan a trip to another country to practice speaking with the locals. 

This will cultivate inspiration and drive in you to continue developing your skills and finding new skills to pursue.

Why Adopt Continuous Learning In Your Life?

If you want to continuously learn, online platforms can help you do so. If you're interested in adopting continuous learning, then career building destinations like Audo can connect you with helpful courses that teach you valuable new skills.

One of my goals with Audo is to provide a space for people to discover new skills, gain knowledge and experience life-changing moments. 

With Audo, you’ll get specific course recommendations based on your own unique interests and skills.

You’ll start seeing the benefits of continuous learning right away as you join the marketplace, where you can put those skills to use.

If you consider yourself not missing an opportunity of learning, get tips for online learning to make the process more valuable. 

Continual learning requires a growth mindset, an unwavering thirst for knowledge and a dedication to change. 

If you embrace continual learning, you push yourself to a higher level of potential than you ever realized possible.

I encourage you to follow these tips and become a lifelong learner.  It may take some work, but the results will be well worth it.

Why The Habit Of Continuous Learning Is Important

How to learn new skills has always been one of the most popular questions during all the courses of time.

However, it gained more popularity due to the entry of novelties and new industry demands.

Learning new skills is an enriching, rewarding experience that shouldn't be confined to universities or corporate training sessions.

Being a skilled person means having a large toolkit of various skills. That allows you to solve a wider variety of problems in your life than someone with just one or two very specific skills.

But accumulating new skills is difficult. You can't just read a book, implement and repeat. That won't make you good at anything, or let you hold your own in the long term.

According to research, 80% of people agreed new skills to learn would make them more engaged. Despite this figure, only 56% of people actually go out and make the effort to learn new skills.

You can improve the quality of your life and career by learning new skills.  Read on to find out how to get started and keep building upon the new skills to learn.

The Importance Of Learning New Skills

Whether you’re looking for a job or trying to advance in your career, the skills that you have are what set you apart from your fellow employees. 

Not changing with the times is fatal for any sort of work. Of course, we're all given skills training at universities. But it's not enough to have taken a course in spreadsheet programming.

It is a lifelong learning experience. How to learn new skills? Surely, you have seen that new programs are coming along every day, so you have to know how to use each one.

If you focus on new skills to learn that are the most useful for your growth, you can impress potential employers and build a strong resumé.

Let’s say you want to be a graphic designer; by taking an online learning course to learn how to use Photoshop, you open yourself up to higher-quality graphic design jobs.

New skills and knowledge open doors to many different career possibilities. 

For instance, if you take a programming class and discover that you have a knack for IT work, you can use this information to your advantage when looking for jobs.

new skills to learn

How To Learn New Skills Quickly

Trying to learn everything at once can be overwhelming. In order to start the journey of new skills to learn quickly and completely, build a strategy to do so. Follow these tips on how to learn  new skills quickly and effectively:

1. Set goals for yourself

To move forward, you need to know where you’re going.  Ask yourself what your goals are.  A promotion at work?  A change of career?  Increased social connections? 

Once you have a sense of what it is you’re trying to achieve, you’ll be able to identify the new skills that will get you there. 

For example, if your goal is to get promoted to a management position, then you may want to take online courses that help you gain the soft skills needed to excel in that position, such as time management and conflict resolution.

2. Identify the skills you already have

While we may want to be good at everything, it usually doesn’t work that way.  It’s better to build upon our strengths instead of focusing solely on our weaknesses. 

A great way to identify useful skills to learn is to ask yourself which skills you already have. 

Are you good at working with people?  Skilled with technology?  Talented with language?  

For instance, if you have excellent people skills and want a position that requires managing other people, what other skills do you need? 

Maybe you have the people skills down but lack some of the technical knowledge required for the position. Online courses or training can help you become a perfect candidate for your desired position.

3. Break down new skills

It can also help to break down big skills into little skills. If you want to be more disciplined, break down your goal into smaller skills. 

Time management, motivation, and accountability are all useful skills that will help you achieve your larger goal.

Once you have identified the smaller skills that make up the larger skill of discipline, you can focus on learning each of them one at a time.

4. Make a list of obstacles and benefits

Before thinking on how to learn new skills, you need to know that learning is challenging. There will always be an obstacle standing in your way. 

It may be money, or time, or simply a lack of willingness. Whatever the obstacle is, you need to identify it.  You must overcome it if you ever want to learn the skill in question.

For each new skill you want to learn, write a list of the obstacles in your way. Maybe you want to learn to speak Spanish, but you have no extra money for classes and little free time to learn. 

To help yourself overcome these barriers, write out another list of all the benefits you’ll receive from the new skill.

Maybe learning Spanish will help you take on even more clients at work or take that trip to Spain you always dreamed of. Look at this list for inspiration whenever an obstacle is convincing you to give up.

5. Set up a rewards system

A great way to stay motivated while learning new skills is to set up a rewards system for yourself.

When you've successfully gained a new skill, how will you celebrate? It can be as big as taking a trip abroad or as small as going out to a favorite restaurant. 

Rewarding yourself for your efforts can help you create a positive association between learning and rewards.

how to learn new skills

How to Learn New Skills Quickly| 5 Tips

Once you've gotten started learning new skills, it takes time, patience, and determination to keep going. Here are some suggestions for mastering new abilities:

1. Be realistic

You won’t become a master overnight.  Be realistic with what you hope to accomplish and give yourself a break if you’re moving slower than expected. 

As long as you stay consistent, none of your efforts will have been wasted.

2. Check your progress

Getting better at a new skill is hard, but it can be even harder when you don't have the right motivation. Take a moment to check your progress at regular checkpoints.

  What have you been doing lately to learn new skills?  What have you accomplished?  How far have you come? 

This will help you remember the effort you’ve put into learning something new and encourage you not to give up.

3. Keep practicing the skills you learn

The path of new skills to learn is an ongoing process, with some skills you learn once and that’s it, but others require practice to grow.

Keep practicing the skills you’ve learned and find new ways to incorporate them into your life. This will keep you sharp, and you’ll go from novice to master with time.

4. Find fellow learners

When you define new skills to learn with other people, you get a lot of benefits you wouldn’t get when learning alone. If you take an online course, reach out to the other people in your class to connect.

You can tap into a wealth of advice and opportunities by connecting with other learners in the same boat as you. They can provide invaluable feedback that will help you improve even more!

5. Seek out resources

While most skills are learned through trial and error, it can be helpful to take classes or join a group dedicated to teaching that skill.

If you like the idea of continuous learning, here are tips for online learning to help you boost your potential. 

Look for resources that teach some of the skills you’re interested in acquiring. For instance, if you want to become a web developer, research coding bootcamps and other online courses in that field.

You can even attend conferences dedicated to programming to network with other people in the industry.

Why Adopt Learning New Skills In Your Life?

If you’re trying to learn new skills, an online learning platform makes learning easy and convenient. I created Audo to help Gen Z and Millennials gain career-relevant skills to set them up for success.

Unlike other online learning platforms, Audo takes into account your skills, experience, and passion to help you find which courses best suit your needs. 

Now that you know the most effective strategies to learn new skills, there’s no reason not to get started.

Following these tips will help you get started on this learning journey, and don’t forget to stop every once in a while to appreciate all of the useful new skills you’ve acquired to make your life better.

How To Learn New Skills to Meet Career Success

As industries continue to evolve and the nature of work becomes more dynamic, lifelong learning is becoming increasingly essential to stay competitive.

More and more, people are realizing that education is a lifelong process, not something limited to the years of formal schooling.

Lifelong learners continue to study, learn new skills, and try new things. They’re curious, open-minded people who continually adapt to change.

Lifelong learning became a requirement for me early on. As an Environmental Studies major who decided to build companies in the publishing and music industries while in college, it quickly became clear to me I needed to pursue learning opportunities beyond the classroom in order to make an impact.

I'm a big believer in seeking out new skills and using the digital resources we have at our disposal today.

Top Examples of Lifelong Learning

So, what does lifelong learning look like?  The truth is that there are many ways to engage in it. The beauty of learning continually throughout your life is that you get to choose what, when, and how you learn. 

Here are some examples of lifelong learning to get an idea of how you might learn:

Taking a course

Don’t let your education come to an end once you’ve finished high school or college. Lifelong learning means taking advantage of opportunities to learn about a topic that interests you, whether it’s through an in-person or online course.

It could be a course to learn a new skill for work, to learn a new language, or to improve your creative writing skills. Online courses are an excellent way to keep learning on your terms.

Gaining a new skill

Everyone learns in different ways, but it's common for people to learn a new skill by taking classes or trying it out themselves. 

Some skills, like salsa dancing and playing the piano, have official classes you can take, but plenty of other skills, like baking crème brûlée, can be self-taught through trial and error.

Researching a fascinating topic

If you have an interest in something, you can take it upon yourself to learn more about it. 

You might be a fan of the Golden Age of Cinema and decide to read up on old filmmakers. 

Or maybe you’ve just found a podcast that covers financial tips for dummies. You can learn outside a classroom if you’re willing to go looking for it.

Familiarizing yourself with new technology

Plenty of jobs require you to use complex technology or software applications. Playing around with new tech can help you get a handle on it so you can take advantage of all it has to offer.

When you invest in new technology and learn how to use it, that's an example of lifelong learning.

Pursuing personal development

One of the best examples of lifelong learning is having a hunger to know ourselves better. 

When you pursue things like meditation, self-discovery, and even therapy, you’re engaging in the process of learning more about yourself and how you work. 

This is a worthy area of study that can never be fully explored.

lifelong learner

6 Benefits Of Lifelong Learning

Lifelong learners experience countless benefits that those with closed minds do not. These include:

  1. Better work performance

The more open you are to learning, the better your career will be. Lifelong learners continually gain new skills, improve their performance and learn from everyone around them. 

Strive to treat every experience as a learning opportunity and a chance to grow.

  1. A healthier mind and body 

Learning something new can have a profound effect on your health. Not only does it help your mind stay sharp, but it can improve your mental wellbeing and self-confidence.

It also keeps you mentally (and sometimes physically) active, which improves both your energy levels and your overall wellness.

  1. Improved self-confidence

The more you learn, the more skills you acquire. 

As a result, lifelong learners are constantly improving, overcoming obstacles and fearlessly taking on new challenges.

They’re building themselves into the people they want to be, which allows them to tackle whatever life throws at them with self-confidence

  1. Valuable new skills

Lifelong learning gives you new skills that can change your life for the better.

You’ll become familiar with a wide range of topics, more adept at using technology, and more cultured. You’ll gain hard and soft skills that help you navigate work and social life. 

Whether these skills are for personal pleasure or professional gain, they will enrich your life and expand your social circle.

  1. Greater self-awareness

Many people wander through life without truly understanding who they are and what they want. It’s difficult to find out what motivates us, inspires us, and strengthens us.

Lifelong learners discover the things they like and the things they don’t.

They also gain a greater understanding of what interests them, what nourishes them, and what they need to do to succeed with self-awareness.

  1. Stay up to date

Being out of touch with the rest of the world is one of the worst parts of having a closed mind. 

You’ll struggle to keep up with new technology, feel excluded from many conversations, and find yourself overtaken at work by people with up-to-date knowledge. 

Being a lifelong learner allows you to stay current, educating yourself with the latest innovations to make sure you keep up at work and in life.

Tips To Start And Be Engaged With Lifelong Learning

If you’re interested in becoming a lifelong learner, just know that it's worth it and learn the true benefits of lifelong learning. There are a few tips you can follow to get started. 

These tips and examples of lifelong learning can be practiced daily to help you make continuous learning a habit, helping you get through the temptation to quit when you face obstacles. 

Try new things

The best way to see what interests you is to try new things.  Indecision can paralyze us, so it’s best to move forward even if you aren’t sure of the outcome. 

If you want to learn to speak a new language, find a class that seems interesting and take it.  Even if you decide in the end that learning a new language isn’t for you, you’ll learn more about yourself than if you had simply done nothing.

Be curious

Having an open mind is key to being a lifelong learner. When new opportunities present themselves to you, don’t ignore them. 

Ask questions, be curious, and feel free to explore. When you choose to be curious in the unknown, you open yourself up to new opportunities to learn and expand your horizons.

Set goals

To make sure that you’re continuing to learn new things, set regular goals for yourself. 

Maybe you want to spend a certain number of hours a day learning a new skill, or take a certain number of classes by the end of the year. 

If you have measurable and achievable goals, it’s easier to show up for your dedication to learn.

Find fellow learners

It’s a lot more fun to learn something when you’re doing it alongside other people. If you take an online course, get in touch with other members who have the same passion as you. 

This can help you find new courses or groups from which you can learn even more. 

Your fellow learners can also share their knowledge and advice on their own learning journey, which can inspire you to keep growing.

lifelong learning

Getting Started With Lifelong Learning

I believe that people should be able to pursue courses that match their personality and interests rather than be forced into a narrow set of educational options.

That’s why I created Audo, an online learning and career-building destination that connects people with the resources to discover their passions and the courses they need to get ahead. 

Audo guides you in the learning and self exploration process, using A.I.-driven recommendations to help you find which online courses are the best match for you and your goals. 

Audo rewards lifelong learners by giving individual and effective examples of lifelong learning to acquire new skills and start earning money.

Learning throughout your life can help you improve your wellbeing and mental health, build new relationships, and more.

By committing to lifelong learning, you open yourself up to new opportunities and the chance to create a better future for yourself.

Lifelong Learning: 6 Benefits of Lifelong Learning

Gen Z'ers are leading the trend in freelance work.  Freelancing used to be viewed as a risky endeavor, a break from the security of a 9 to 5 job that wasn't always guaranteed to pan out. But as employees are increasingly less willing to stick to a traditional work routine, freelancing is skyrocketing in popularity and feasibility.  The number of freelancers in the US boomed from 57.3 million in 2017 to 70.4 million by 2022. That number is expected to keep growing, with estimates of 90.1 million freelancers in the US by 2028.

So what does this mean for anyone looking to set off on their own? Freelancing and the gig economy is a viable option worth considering. There are numerous avenues for people to find freelance work, as I’ll explain in this article. Read on to find out more about the ins and outs of a freelance career.

What Is Freelancing?

So what is freelancing? Freelancing is the act of performing specific work for clients while not being employed full-time by any one organization. One of the most attractive benefits of freelancing is that you are essentially your own boss, working for yourself instead of an employer. Freelancers can work for multiple clients at a time, whereas employees are typically committed to one company.

Freelance projects come in many shapes and sizes. While freelance jobs are generally short-term in nature, satisfied clients often request follow-on work from the same professionals again and again. Freelance professionals are available across a wide range of skills, including copywriting, programming, engineering, and marketing.

Who Can Be A Freelancer?

Freelancing comes with the freedom to work in the capacity of your choice, but how do you determine what niche to focus on and prepare yourself for success as a freelancer?

Freelancers have a wide variety of job opportunities available to them, including writing, graphic design and dog walking. Freelance job portals can help you find work in your preferred field.

One of the most important attributes of a freelancer is discipline. As your own boss, you’ll have to hold yourself accountable for your actions. You won’t be able to rely on a fixed income as a freelancer, so you’ll need to work hard at finding new opportunities if one falls through. This can be difficult at times, but there are plenty of people out there who have managed it. You may have to keep hustling for a while, but if you have the drive and persistence to keep going, you'll earn enough to see yourself through the various ups and downs.

Gen Z And Freelancing As A Career

Freelancing gives up the comforts of a full-time job, such as healthcare and retirement benefits. While you do have to pay your own health insurance, and you don’t get paid time off, you also gain freedom to set your own boundaries around work. You can work for whomever you want, whether it's multiple clients or just one. Your salary is up to you and your skills—in some cases, your salary can be comparable with or better than what a regular job earns.

The median annual personal income of freelancers has increased significantly over the last few years. Between 2014 and 2018, the percentage of freelancers earning over $75,000 a year leapt from 17% to 31%.  The more time you spend freelancing, the more clients you will attract and the higher your earning potential will be. Gen Z and Millennials have found that freelancing is a lucrative and rewarding career option.

How To Become A Freelancer

Becoming a freelancer isn’t as hard as it looks, and it’s easier than you think. Simply go to any website that offers freelancing jobs and assignments, and apply for them. Working on a freelance basis can be slow-going at first, but you can build up a client base and earn higher rates as you go.

Freelancing sites can help you find work or clients to work with. Here are some websites where you can find freelance jobs:

  1. Fiverr

Fiverr is a valuable resource for freelancers of any kind.  You can create a gig for pretty much anything, from creating graphic designs to writing online articles and content. You set your own rates, and clients find you through Fiverr’s search feature.

  1. 99Designs

99Designs is a graphic design company where you can create logos, websites, book covers, and more.  Depending on your niche, you can offer any graphic design service under the sun to interested clients through a secure and trustworthy platform.

  1. Upwork

Upwork is similar to Fiverr, although it’s the freelancer who seeks out the client rather than the other way around.  This makes it easier to get started, however, as you can submit detailed applications to gigs that fit your qualifications.

  1. Audo.com

Audo.com is a career-building ecosystem that uses AI to recommend which skills you need to succeed in your career.  I founded this company to provide Gen Z with the tools they need to learn skills and earn money at the same time.  All you have to do is fill out your interests, abilities, and experience, then watch as Audo provides you with a personalized skill path towards making money.  Once you’ve completed coursework, you can use your new skills in our marketplace to earn money as you continue to learn more skills.

  1. Freelancer.com

Freelancer.com is another site that works similarly to Upwork. Freelancers can create a profile and bid for projects with their own pitches that explain why they’re the best person for the job.  Freelancers will work out an agreed payment amount with the buyer, which will then be delivered to them through the site.

Like any career, freelancing has its benefits and drawbacks. Before you go down that path, make sure you’re willing to assume the risks that come with freelancing. While it offers you professional independence, it can also come with insecurity and the danger of failure. But the more you’re willing to take risks in order to follow your professional ambitions, the more opportunities you’ll have to establish your brand and reputation as you achieve your goals.

Gen Z And Freelancing: The Newest Workforce Trend

Certificate vs degree has become a question of many arguments. Going to college and getting a traditional education used to be the surest way to open up career opportunities for your future, but that’s no longer the case.

While traditional education is still considered the norm, it is no longer the only option for achieving career success, and more effective and attainable options are available today.

The number of people enrolling in certificate programs to gain a greater understanding of their industry, obtain vital skills, and become more valuable employees is increasing year over year.

According to a recent report, about 51.3% of American adults have a college degree, certificate or industry certification.

Degrees or certifications can expand your career options, but the path you choose should be the one that is right for you.

This blog will cover everything you need to know about certificate vs degree, so that you can make a more informed decision about which one is right for your career.

So, get entirely aware of all advantages and disadvantages to end up making smart decisions for the benefit of your career. Are you a certificate or a degree person?

What Is A Certificate?

A certificate is a document that verifies you have completed a specific program of study within an industry.

Certificate programs usually offered by colleges, universities, or private companies.

While a degree offers a wide range of knowledge and expertise, a certificate program usually provides training for technical or skill-based jobs. Examples include:

  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • IT fundamentals
  • Data science
  • Nursing
  • Web development
  • Dental or medical-assisting
  • Firefighting
  • Real estate
  • Massage therapy
  • Construction
  • Plumbing
certificate vs degree

What Is A Degree?

A degree is an academic title that you receive after graduating from a university.

A degree vs certificate entails much more than the basic knowledge you need to work in a certain field, and can in fact prepare you for several different roles depending on your focus.

Degrees can be divided into four categories:

Associate degree

An associate degree is higher than a high school diploma but not as intensive as a bachelor’s degree.  It takes around two years for a student to complete.

Associate degrees can include:

  • Associate of Arts (AA)
  • Associate of Science (AS)
  • Associate of Applied Arts (AAA)
  • Associate of Applied Science (AAS)

Bachelor’s degree

To get a job in many fields, some employers will ask for a bachelor's degree. A bachelor's degree takes about four years to complete and includes general education classes in addition to courses pertaining to your specific major.

Bachelor’s degrees can include:

  • Bachelor of Arts (BA)
  • Bachelor of Science (BS)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA)

Master’s degree

A master’s degree is a post-baccalaureate program consisting of more rigorous classes within a specialized field of study. Programs usually take between two-three years to complete.

In addition to degrees within specific niches, the three basic master’s degrees include:

  • Master of Arts (MA)
  • Master of Science (MS)
  • Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Doctoral degree

A doctoral degree is the highest degree you can obtain, and it certifies your expertise in a particular field.

The types of doctoral degrees include:

  • Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Practitioner doctoral degrees, such as Doctor of Education (EdD) or Doctor of Health Administration (DHA)

The Primary Differences: Certificate VS Degree

So, do you need to go for degrees or certifications? What's the difference: certificate vs degree?

 Some people believe a degree is more valuable than a certificate, and some think the opposite. 

The difference between a certificate and a degree usually involves the time and cost to earn them. 

Here are the main factors you need to know about certificate vs degree to choose your option:

Time commitment

Certificates are usually less time-consuming to obtain than degrees. A degree can take between two to four years to complete, while a certificate can be obtained in just a few months.

This is because certificates require fewer courses and can be taken according to your schedule.

Requirements

Another difference between a certificate and a degree is the requirements for enrollment.

Because most degree programs require a high school diploma or GED, they are often more viable options for people without either of these qualifications.

Depth and scope

Certificates teach you about a single topic. Degrees, on the other hand, allow you to explore a wide range of topics in depth.

This can be useful to people looking for comprehensive knowledge, while a certificate can be useful for those looking for specific knowledge.

Cost

The cost of a degree vs. certificate is based on the number of courses you take. 

Because degrees require many more courses to complete, the cost of a degree is much higher. 

However, both certificates and degrees offer financial aid options that can help.

Job opportunities

If you want to get a specific job, then a certificate might be enough to help you land that particular position.

But if you want your education to make you eligible for a wide range of jobs, then one degree can get your foot in the door in many places.

How To Choose: Certificate VS Degree

In order to choose whether certificate vs degree, consider factors like your job ambitions, time constraints, and financial resources. 

Here are a few questions you’ll want to ask yourself before deciding:

  • How quickly do you need to earn your credentials?
  • How will you balance work and school?
  • What field do you want to work in?
  • How far do you want to advance in your career?

You may find that, while a degree would be ideal, it’s unrealistic for you to afford the time and money necessary to obtain one. 

However, you may find that obtaining a degree is a long-term goal worthy of pursuing through online and night classes.

Many personal factors need to be considered to think over degree vs certificate and come up with the right decisions.

Self Learning And Certification

There are plenty of ways you can get certificates through online or offline self-learning. These can help you upgrade your skills and even explore new careers.

One of the most difficult steps in starting along a path of education is choosing what to pursue. My company, Audo, aims to address that very problem.

Audo is a career readiness and management platform using AI to tailor data-driven career paths by integrating paid gig work into the learning experience.

Our AI-powered assessment maps your passions and interests to the careers that are right for you.

You can level-up your skills, earn certifications and turbocharge your career by taking courses and earning credentials from our education partners. 

Do your research before embarking on programs offering degrees or certificates.  Have a clear picture in your head about where you’d like to be in five years.

Do you want to be working your way up in the industry of your choice?  Freelancing while pursuing a master’s degree?  Starting your own business?

The path toward your goals will come into clearer focus if you can get a clear picture in your mind of where you want to be.

And if you want some assistance in creating that picture, take the Audo Guide assessment.

Certificate VS Degree: Which Is Right For You To Choose?

We’ve been hearing about 5G for a while now, even though the vast majority of consumers still can’t access it. Currently, 5G-ready devices are priced pretty high, and ISPs are each scrambling to market themselves as “the” leader in 5G coverage — just like they did with 3G and 4G. While 3G brought us basic mobile web browsing and 4G brought us high-speed mobile internet and streaming, 5G technology promises to kick things up a notch.

Thus far, consumers and media outlets have mostly focused on the promised speeds that will come with 5G — and for good reason. Theoretically, 5G could be up to 10x faster than 4G, though some reports indicate that people might get speeds nearly 100x faster than what they have now. To put this in real-world terms, this means you could be able to download a 2-hour, 4K Ultra HD movie in a matter of seconds.

However, the true potential of 5G isn’t the potential speed — it’s the accessibility. If you’ve ever traveled beyond the realm of your home Wi-Fi network (as I’m sure you have), you’ll know that wireless mobile signals vary drastically. This is especially problematic in rural towns, states, and even regions, where ISPs have invested very little in the way of infrastructure.

While people in rural areas should have the same speeds as everyone else, it’s hard to blame ISPs for their priorities; they simply can’t get the same return on investment setting up mobile internet towers in Cheyenne, Wyoming (population ~65,000) as they can in New York City (population ~8.42 million). Fortunately, 5G will make leaps and bounds in terms of high-speed mobile internet access for everyone — not just big-city dwellers.

Why is 5G so much better?

A big problem with 4G is network congestion. Sure, you can watch a movie on the train ride to work, but when thousands of other people are trying to do the same thing, you’ll often find yourself with a blank loading screen — even when you’ve got full bars. This is due to the fact that 4G has, by and large, reached its data-processing limits. As 4G became the norm for billions of people around the planet, it also showcased the technology’s inability to quickly transfer increasingly large amounts of data across blocks of spectrum. With 5G, this is no longer an issue.

5G will open the door for ISPs to control more spectrum, thereby allowing more people to use the same network simultaneously without reduced speeds. On top of that, 5G tech is inherently built to deliver faster speeds, lower latency, and greater bandwidth by default. In other words, 5G will make everything you do online faster and easier.

But again, I’m doing the same thing that everyone else does — talking about speed when I should be talking about ease of access. Detractors have already tempered expectations about 5G’s capabilities in rural areas, which are mostly served by low-frequency towers. Since 5G is designed to function at mid-to-high frequencies, it will have less of an impact at the outset. However, the greater efficiency of 5G technology means that it could still provide less congestion and nominal speed improvements in rural areas.

Moreover, this is just what we can expect over the next 2 or 3 years. Beyond that, 5G infrastructure will likely make accessibility to higher-quality mobile (and home) internet even better. Plus, there’s another important factor that people need to keep in mind. In rural areas, most people are accustomed to unstable internet and mobile networks that deliver paltry speeds at best. Even a small uptick in average speeds and network access could make a huge difference to billions of people in underserved areas all over the world.

What does 5G mean for entrepreneurs?

There’s a reason why many young entrepreneurs leave behind their small hometowns and move to the big city to start their business endeavors. While it may be the “chic” thing to do, it’s also a sound business decision. Nowadays, most businesses are completely dependent on the internet. As a result, entrepreneurs need access to high-speed internet whether they’re working from home or just checking emails on the go. This means that mid-size and large cities are home to the vast majority of new businesses.

While this may just sound like the cost of doing business in the modern world, it also means that there’s a huge barrier to entry for entrepreneurs in rural areas who don’t have the funds to relocate to more expensive cities. Not only does this force many people to abandon their dreams, but it also robs the world of great potential. The next Bill Gates could be living in a small village in Africa, but without access to high-speed internet, he or she may never be able to show the world their true potential.

This is exactly why I’m excited about 5G. Sure, it stands to give the average consumer access to better quality mobile and home internet service, but it really means so much more than that. Once 5G infrastructure grows and 5G-ready devices become the norm (as opposed to the latest high-priced phones), billions of people across the planet will have the power of high-speed internet wherever they are, opening the door for almost limitless innovation. It may take a few years before we see the full effects of 5G, particularly in rural areas, but for many new and existing entrepreneurs, it will be well worth the wait.

Why 5G Could Be a Game Changer For Entrepreneurs — and the World

It’s crazy to think that we, as humans, have been expressing our creative side for thousands of years. The oldest cave paintings (that we know of) date all the way back to the Prehistoric Age. Now, human-produced AI and algorithms are capable of creating their own art. Thus, the creators of art have now become the creators of the creators of art. However, there are still many things that AI simply cannot do. Even with how quickly automation and other AI tech are advancing, I sincerely believe that they will never fully replace human beings in the realm of art.That said, I’m a huge proponent of further research & development in AI. I even use AI to better some of my businesses. At The Doe, we conduct cutting-edge evaluations through AI; by utilizing natural language processing (NPL) and other technologies in our user quizzes, we help our readers better understand differing values and perspectives. However, just because AI is useful doesn’t mean it offers a solution to every problem. After all, if I want to hear a great song, I don’t ask Siri to sing something for me.

Art Is a Distinctly Sentient Process

I don’t want to offend any bots that might be reading this, but art has always been something created by (and for) sentient beings. Humans (and maybe even a few other species) have the unique capacity to feel emotions and produce things with intent. That is to say, we can make things not just out of necessity, but also out of desire. More often than not, it is the desire to make something of beauty.Whether it’s a poem, a song, a painting, a digital NFT, or something else entirely, humans have the unique ability to create things with intention. We want to enjoy them. If we produce art for the sake of others (as is often the case), then we want them to be enjoyed, or at the very least, appreciated.As a writer and music producer, I have a special place in my heart for my fellow scribes and musicians. Writers use their linguistic abilities to create beautiful prose, informative articles, entertaining scripts, and profound stories. On the other hand, musicians use a combination of senses to create intricate melodies and harmonies, beats that seem to reach directly into your soul and make your body move, as well as completely new sounds that have never been heard before. While technology may help many artists practice their craft, it’s hard to imagine an algorithm producing Sylvan LaCue’s “Clam Chowda” or penning David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas.

Artificial Intelligence Merely Replicates Human Intelligence

As it stands now, Artificial Intelligence really has no ground to stand on when it comes to creative intent. We currently have no formal way to measure sentience, but since humans created AI tech and we know (with near certainty) that it does not have a consciousness, we can conclude that an AI robot is not sentient — at least, not under current definitions of the term.Thus, AI is only able to replicate human intelligence and behavior. A robot can appear to feel sad, but that does not mean that it actually feels sad. Similarly, a robot can be programmed to create a beautiful work of art, but in this instance, who is the real artist? The human who wrote the algorithm or the robot that carried out the directive according to a specific formula? I would say the human, as the robot is merely a tool in the artistic process, rather than the creative mind behind it.

Even If AI Can Rival Certain Sentient Qualities, It Cannot Replace Human Creativity

In any case, there’s no doubt that AI is constantly evolving and improving, so how can I be so sure that AI will never fully replace human-made art? Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that AI evolves to the point that it is virtually indistinguishable from human beings. By all accounts, we have created a sentient robot with the capacity to feel, think, react, and create things from scratch with vision and intention. In short, I’m imagining a future in which AI can create art on its own, without any help or guidance from human beings.Even in this hypothetical future, human-made art would still remain distinct from AI-produced art. This is because every human consciousness is its own entity; we may have collective qualities and properties as sentient beings, but we are all individuals living our own little lives. Thus, human art will always be a reflection of human creativity that is unique to each person, and to our species as a whole. AI tech may evolve to produce its own art forms, but they will exist separately from what we create.So, even as fearmongers worry about robots writing news articles or algorithms creating hit songs, human art will always have its own space. We may not always be able to tell the difference between human and AI creations, but this fact is largely irrelevant. As long as humans never lose our capacity to exercise creativity and produce things of beauty, no robot will be able to take that away from us.

Why AI Will Never Fully Replace Human-Made Art

The Transition to Remote Work

In many ways, the transition to remote work in the wake of Covid-19 has helped redefine existing conceptions of “company culture.” Even the term itself seems rather outdated; it conjures up images of bustling offices of decades past, with daily meetings, memos and synergetic pep talks. Though some organizations still function in this way, much modern-day business is done with teams spread out all over the world. Many entrepreneurs — myself included — now have to juggle multiple time zones and communication platforms, as well as differences in both language and culture.I’d like to make it clear that I am in no way complaining. In fact, I find the environment of remote workplaces exhilarating. That said, there’s no denying that we have entered an era in which traditional ways of developing and nurturing company culture no longer exist. Consequently, we have to find ways to build and promote cooperation, camaraderie, innovation and productivity — perhaps without ever meeting most of our coworkers face to face.

Company Culture Built On Communication

With the knowledge that work culture has evolved in a remote environment, many startups must spend a great deal of time considering and implementing various ways to strengthen the community from within. It may sound tedious to those entrepreneurs who are, frankly, just concerned with making payroll. You may wonder, who has the time to focus on company culture when there’s a never-ending to-do list? But when the “boss” is physically separate from everyone else, building strong professional relationships is essential.It’s not about monitoring people’s every move or badgering them for constant updates. Instead, it’s about developing a relationship built on mutual communication, trust and understanding. I seek to understand all of the people I work with — and do my best to make myself understood by them. Even when there is a clear hierarchical structure within the business, I want to let everyone know that they are heard and respected.While this may not be completely revolutionary, it is somewhat unique, even in the ever-growing world of remote work. Now that employees are no longer working under the noses of management, there’s a tendency in many companies to over-enforce policies that ensure productivity. In my opinion, this almost never has the desired effect. Instead, it results in more adversarial relationships, where business owners distrust their remote staff and remote employees resent their overbearing bosses.At my companies, most team communication takes place over Slack, email, Zoom or one of the productivity tools we use like Asana and Jira. Small nuances become important when much of our communication is no longer tied to facial expressions or body language. The need to over-communicate so that everyone can understand my tone and intention quickly becomes rather important. For this reason, I think one-on-one meetings allow us to understand each other on a deeper level. I never want to dictate; I prefer to collaborate.This is where I believe the future of remote company culture is heading. Rather than a series of top-down directives, objectives and policies meant to guide employee behavior, remote workplaces should be built on mutual trust and respect. This all begins with having the right people, in the right roles, who are crystal clear on their responsibilities and expected output.

Turning Remote Company Culture Into Business Growth

While I personally like to communicate in writing, I’m not blind to the fact that many people are visual or auditory learners. So, in getting to know the people I work with, I also come to learn the most effective ways of communicating my ideas to them. While I may not prefer to brainstorm or think out loud on a call — as opposed to brainstorming in private and coming back with written thoughts — I recognize the importance of doing so in some cases. Sometimes people need to feel heard and seen, even if you’re reading everything they’re sending you. This helps facilitate an environment in which open dialogue is not only encouraged — it’s just the way we do business.Take one of my startups as an example. The first product we launched was our publication: It’s entirely stories from people’s lives. We simply tell stories that are not being told in other places. While we do verify authors and their stories, we publish them anonymously to ensure their ideas are considered fairly by the public. However, this also gives a voice to those who don’t yearn for the attention their story could bring them. I would be a hypocrite if I didn’t organize my businesses using the same foundational concepts. Everyone involved — from part-time freelancers to junior employees — has a voice. While we may not always agree on the same strategy or idea, it’s up to me to listen to them all.Even if they aren’t physically by my side, I know that I can depend on a network of people all over the world to help turn our mission and aspirations for the world into a reality. We all work closely together, exchanging ideas and information — often on a daily basis. In doing so, we ensure that no one’s ideas are disregarded, and everyone understands that they are contributing to something bigger than themselves — even when we’re thousands of miles apart.

The Bottom Line

While many of us may be using many of the same tools — Slack, Zoom and so on — the difference lies in how you use them to build relationships. I believe in maintaining a safe and professional working environment for everyone, myself included, but I’m not afraid to get personal. In fact, my businesses depend on it. By building trusting relationships with all of your remote teams and network of associates, you can ensure that you’re cultivating a company culture that is built for everyone.Originally published on Forbes.

How To Maintain Company Culture Remotely

An Ever-Evolving Industry

The music industry is changing rapidly, with new avenues arising for both creators and consumers every day. This begs the question: What will the music industry look like in the future?As the cofounder of an indie record label, I’ve watched many of the most recent changes happen in real time. Despite only working in the business for a few years, we’ve had to constantly adapt to new trends — both in music creation and consumption. While musicians can largely continue creating music as they have for years, the way in which they market their music and reach their audience is always changing.It’s easy to see how the music industry is evolving at an ever-increasing speed. Though SoundCloud has been around for more than a decade and is still one of the biggest players when it comes to discovering new, emerging artists, TikTok has emerged as a popular application for both creators and consumers. First introduced in 2016, the video-centric social media application has taken the music world by storm. Many new artists have gained huge followings on the application and, despite the Trump administration previouslyattempting to ban TikTokciting national security concerns, it has remained one of the most popular avenues for free music distribution, particularly among Gen Z consumers.In a sense, this is the future of the music industry. Whether you look at it from year to year or month to month, the ability to adapt back-end strategies is a must. However, one aspect of music marketing that has become increasingly relevant in the late 2010s and early 2020s is what I like to refer to as the “scandal factor.” You can create great music and garner a following as musicians have done for decades, but if you want to make it big in such a fickle and ephemeral landscape, you have to turn the dial up to 11.What does this actually mean in practice? It not only means doing something that no one else has done — it means doing something that shocks, polarizes and ultimately shifts the download and streaming data in your favor.Lil Nas X provides a perfect example of a musician where controversy has garnered attention and helped build his musical brand. He first turned heads by teaming up with Billy Ray Cyrus to create the highly popular and oddly catchy “Old Town Road,” a mixture of traditional country and modern rap that exploded on Twitter. The following year, Lil Nas Xpublicly came outin 2019, which in and of itself, shouldn’t have been controversial. However, it made him a mainstream gay male rapper — a rapper with a country hit who has attained international success. Lil Nas X capitalized further on this “controversy” with hismusic video for the hit single, “Montero,” which evoked images of the Garden of Eden before showing a fictionalized version of Lil Nas X twerking on Satan’s lap. While many saw it as an ode to the freedom of sexuality, manyconservatives decried it as blasphemous. However, regardless of how you felt about it, the controversy only put more money in the rapper’s pocket.This desire for increasingly shocking material doesn’t just exist in the music industry, either. The old modes of building brands — from political campaigns to retail shops — are falling by the wayside, with new players driven by clicks, streams, downloads, retweets and so on. Social media, particularly TikTok, Twitter and Youtube, might be the primary facilitator (for now), but the desire for controversy and virality are what underpin modern success. To be noticed, you have to do something worthy of people’s attention — which often means doing something completely unexpected. I learned this first hand by building the first completely anonymous publication. By allowing people to write for us anonymously, we get juicer, much more “controversial” perspectives. We’ve seen how the “scandal factor” of the narratives we publish on The Doe can lead to virality on social media like Instagram.Some artists may not like this data-obsessed way of creating, but there’s nothing inherently new about it. Musicians — and their labels — have been motivated by profits, usually above all else. Now, profits are largely calculated using algorithms and data provided by online platforms. Therefore, the environment for music creation and consumption may have changed, but the underlying drive to create new, interesting and profitable media remains the same.

The Bottom Line

My advice to young artists? Don’t feel that you have to cheapen or somehow betray your passion for music just for shock value. That said, if you want to reach a larger audience, you have to find ways to use your unique talents to create something worth talking about. There are millions of artists out there, so the key is figuring out how to make your music loud enough to be heard above all the other noise.This is why I like to tell artists to treat their music like a product and less like an art form if they want to succeed. That means every time they put music out, they should be treating their fans or listeners, no matter how small that group is, like a focus group they can garner feedback from. The fans may not always know what they want until they hear it. But they do decide what happens to your career, so being arrogant about knowing what’s “the best art” is probably not going to work out for you. Purpose-driven artists can build their careers by understanding how they can market or portray their unique art — even if it means pushing the current boundaries of artist comfort.Originally published on Rolling Stone.

My Thoughts for Young Artists on Marketing Their Music in an Ever-Evolving Industry

The Impact of Music — on Musicians

Arts and music are the most expressive industries. The spotlight they cast on artistic output is the death of many talented and upcoming artists. Contractual idiosyncrasies in the music industry offer several benefits, but also several distinct disadvantages. The mounting pressure to write, produce, and perform great music takes a toll on the artists, if not properly monitored. Although the current music industry offers many artists an opportunity to succeed, many times the artist will work themselves into a very unhealthy state. The creative process, and the pressure to remain relevant, exposes them to strong responses of depression, morbid public meltdowns, mental issues, and ultimately, may lead to their death.

The Impact of Streaming

On a similar note, the tantalizing premise of streaming services has led to success stories for a number of artists. As a consequence, music streaming services have resulted in a generation of single songs that have more impact than albums. At the same time, streaming has inexorably altered the music industry, which habitually notes the ‘death’ of artists, and many become tagged with the label of being one-hit wonders. However, as Paula Mejia wrote:

While streaming continues to evolve at a breakneck pace, the system through which artists are paid for the music being listened to hasn’t evolved in tandem — meaning that, as dissenters note, many artists are still paid little, after services and labels take their respective cuts.

Because of this new impact of streaming on artists, it is imperative to address the hot topic on the minds of many people — the literal and metaphorical death of artists due to mental health struggles, and the impact of streaming gatekeepers.

The wider cultural shift across the music industry, beginning with the advent of streaming, has introduced new types of gatekeepers. The industry is no longer siloed into discrete functions, such as promotion, publishing, talent management, and royalty collection, as it was in past decades. Streaming has changed music consumption and distribution, which has significantly altered popularity characteristics. The data used to evaluate the popularity of music and the artists, is obtained from streaming services in various classifications or charts. For instance, the Billboard’s Hot 100 includes weekly figures of the most popular songs across multiple regions and genres. It also ranks songs by radio airplay impressions, sales data, and streaming activity.

A Short Chart Life

The digital vetting process filters through songs, separating dubs and creating songs/singles that chart for only one week, known as “one-week wonders.” Digital songs are considerably more likely to plunge from modern digital vetting processes and disappear from the charts into oblivion. As Jerry Lao and Kevin Hoan Nguyen wrote in their article:

The end result is that digital songs are significantly more likely to fall off the chart in the first week compared to CD songs, but the effect moderates over time as the digital songs are scrutinized and only the good songs remain.

Moreover, the processes favor established artists who often regularly dominate the weekly charts. The digital platforms increase the avenues and frequency of music evaluation, as well as the speed with which singles from less established but talented artists peak and disappear — a one-time spotlight phenomenon.

The Decline of The Rising Career

The bedrock structure used by modern streaming services is disproportionately biased against emerging and midsize artists. The unfavorable model guts the musical career of many upcoming artists. Popular streaming services, including Apple Music and Spotify, use a “pro rata” model to determine how revenues are distributed. According to Mejia, the meaning of pro rata is that:

Rights-holders are paid according to market share; how their streams stack up against the most popular songs in a given time period. The people who hold the rights to the most listened-to tracks, then, stand to make the most.

This model is vastly critiqued as unreasonably privileged because it prioritizes and benefits the services themselves, followed by top artists and labels.

As a result, emerging and midsize artists have little chance to earn a decent living. In addition to money considerations, there is a shift toward purpose and mood-driven playlists, instead of full album plays. This pattern is mainly adopted as an advertising tool that functions on the basis that more value is derived from people listening more. Therefore, singles are pushed and popularized to the extent they matter more than artists or full-length albums.

Striving To Succeed

Music has a powerful positive impact on listeners’ mental health, yet many artists are subject to a negative impact, as they struggle with dire mental health issues. Sudden fame, and a lifestyle revolving around music creation and live performances, can intensify mental health challenges, including substance abuse and other psychological issues. In a tangential way, the quest to enter and rise to the peak of the music industry can massively impact an artist’s emotional health. Artists report despair and suicidal thoughts after repeatedly being turned away while trying to rise to fame.

This rejection reflects the brutal competitive nature of the industry, as only a few achieve a successful career. Several aspects trigger these problems, including lack of confidence, anxiety due to rejection and failure, negative influence of others, and the impact of exploitation. The callous nature of the music industry is evidenced by the peak in record sales immediately upon the death of an artist. Mental health struggles are a real menace in the sector that continue to steal big talents, and numb shining stars; as co-founder of Guin Records, our mission is to provide better support to artists

The Impact of Performance Pressure

The music community produces significant pressure and stressors. Artists often experience high-pressure situations, including gigs and live shows, attended by thousands of eager and expectant people. Artists are human, and the body is pre-programmed to respond in different ways under stress, which includes various physical and psychological states. Hence, musicians can either perform well due to the heightened awareness from adrenaline rushes, or suffer panic attacks or even memory loss, which cause long-term anxieties. Several artists have reported instances of stress-related breakdown that trigger unhealthy habits such as drinking and drug abuse.

Demi Lovato, for instance, has been admitted in hospital for drug overdose in the past. Before this incident, Lovato was and is still among the most vocal artists on mental health awareness within the music community. Anxiety struggles are also prevalent among several high-profile artists. Such debilitating issues cause much exasperation, necessitating the need to address them publicly. If left unaddressed, issues arising from high-pressure music industry may rapidly deteriorate to feelings of severe depression and suicidal thoughts.

Behind the Scenes — the Artist Suffers

It is paradoxical that music and musical communities and events foster a supportive environment to relax and have fun, yet artists suffer behind the scenes. The music industry is often a smoke and mirrors business, where artists may be portrayed as figureheads who have greater fortitude than others. Media and even artists foster these perceptions and encourage misconceptions about the magnitude of financial success. Nonetheless, they conceal the dire health conditions, and even worse financial outcomes that often occur.

The industry provides a brief window of opportunity for an artist to peak, but is all too often the death of many aspiring artists. Although streaming is arguably an engine driving the music industry to new heights, it is a black spot for those labelled as one-hit wonders. The sector is characterized by monsters, including mental health disorders, depression, and the death of artists and talent.

The Death of an Artist

Unfortunately, the most powerful impact of mental health issues in the music industry arises after the death of an artist. This issue is reflected in the deaths of major acts such as Avicii, who reportedly committed suicide after struggling with thoughts about the meaning of life, and Michael Jackson, who struggled with painkiller drugs addiction for years before dying from a combination of drugs. Artists are perceived (by fans) and portrayed (by the media) as having fun, ‘living the time of their lives’, and as people with superhuman fortitude. With this increased attention, artists often become influencers, and the demand for them to share their personal opinions and become subjected to the pressures of scrutiny, become even higher.

Instances of depression, mental breakdown, and even death show a different side of the lives of musicians. This situation shows the complexity and skewed perceptions about the subject of mental health issues in the context of the music industry. Unlike the easily relatable and understood cases of depression and anxiety such as schizophrenia, mental disorders and associated death within the music community is a major menace. The morbid public meltdowns, depression, and mental issues and ultimate deaths of artists continue to intrigue people — but sadly, just not enough to take action.

Originally published on Thrive

Works Cited

Lao, Jerry, and Kevin Hoan Nguyen. “One-Hit Wonder or Superstardom? The Role of Technology Format on Billboard’s Hot 100 Performance.” 2016, web.stanford.edu/~xhnguyen/BillboardandTechnology.pdf. Accessed 15 July 2020.

Mejia, Paula. “The Success of Streaming has been Great for Some, but is there a Better Way?” NPR, 22 Jul. 2019, www.npr.org/2019/07/22/743775196/the-success-of-streaming-has-been-great-for-some-but-is-there-a-better-way. Accessed 15 July 2020.

Nobody Wants to Talk about it: The Death of Artists

The practice has gained much more prominence over the last two decades. Since the advent of the Internet, millions of 9-to-5 workers have put their extra time and resources toward making money through side hustles. According to a Bankrate survey, nearly half of full-time workers take part in some form of “side hustle” outside of their traditional job.

These activities can range from starting a fashion blog to working as a freelance delivery driver — and everything in between. When my co-founder Sabine and I pivoted Dormzi from being a service-based network to a marketplace powered by young people, our vision was to help students lean into their side hustles. One of the challenges we’ve been seeing since doing so is that many aspiring entrepreneurs believe that they would have to completely drop their 9-to-5 job or schooling to turn their side hustles into thriving businesses. Fortunately, this is frequently not the case. To show how to turn your side hustle into a full-time business, let’s look at a few real-world success stories:

Big businesses that started as side hustles

It’s a common misconception that your side hustle cannot become a successful business unless you dedicate 100% of your time and money to it. While it’s true that you cannot just expect a side hustle to become something more without any effort on your part, you can turn a side hustle into a full-time business without quitting your day job. How exactly can you do this? By regularly funding your side hustle with a portion of your 9-to-5 paycheck.

It sounds too easy to be true, right? The fact is that many side hustles remain side hustles because people don’t put additional funds into them. For example, if you provide writing services, you could pay to develop a website that markets your services and makes you look more professional. Without a website, you’ll likely struggle to gain new clients and turn your side hustle into a long-term business venture.

So, to refute the naysayers, let’s take a look at some entrepreneurs who invested in their side hustles and now run extremely profitable businesses:

Aytekin Tank, Founder of JotForm

Before founding JotForm in 2006, Aytekin Tank worked as a senior web developer for a large Internet media company in New York City. During his five-year tenure, Aytekin Tank was frequently tasked with creating tools with which editors could create unique forms, like surveys. However, Aytekin Tank often found the existing tools on the market wholly insufficient.

Thus, JotForm was born. While Aytekin Tank toiled away at his day job, he spent his free time developing what would become one of the most popular online form builder tools in the world. His work as a senior web developer provided enough additional funds to turn his ideas into a reality. Over time, Aytekin Tank put away a small fraction of his paycheck until he was ready to launch JotForm. Then, he had the funds to hire a team, grow his start-up into a full-time business, and become one of the dominant forces in his niche. Today, JotForm has over 2 million subscribers and counting!

Andrew Mason, Founder of Groupon

While Andrew Mason working toward a Public Policy Degree at the University of Chicago, he started developing The Pointa platform that introduced the “tipping point” concept of donating funds towards a particular cause. With The Point, users could collectively fundraise in support of a common goal. However, if the goal did not reach a certain number of supporters or a minimum monetary amount, no one would be charged and the goal would be abandoned. This “tipping point” concept would later form the basis of Andrew Mason’s subsequent endeavor, Groupon, with partners Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky.

Andrew Mason and his partners put a great deal of time and effort into The Point, which proved to be a failed idea, due in part to its lack of focus. However, they found that one aspect of The Point was particularly popular: collective buying power with group deals. Thus, in 2008, Groupon was born.

Andrew Mason worked as a server and a series of other odd jobs to pay his way through college and put aside funds to create The Point. Additionally, he was able to launch The Point with funds from his future Groupon partners. Even once The Point turned out to be a bust, Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky stuck by Andrew’s side. The trio turned their initial failure into a massive success, creating a company that is now valued at more than $2.4 billion!

Eren Bali, founder of Udemy

In the mid-2000s, Eren Bali worked as a freelance web developer based in Turkey. While working for various clients, including the now-defunct Speeddate.com, Bali was putting his extra time and funds toward his own passion project. In 2007, he developed software for a live virtual classroom. He saw a lot of potential in his new creation, so he saved up the funds to move his base of operations to Silicon Valley.

Once in California, Eren Bali met up with Oktay Caglar and Gagan Biyani to found Udemy, an open online course provider. The site launched in 2010 with minimal funding. In fact, Eren Bali and his partners tried and failed 30 times to gain the interest of investors. However, the early success of the platform allowed them to raise $1 million in just a few months. Later, Groupon investors Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell would help raise more capital for the burgeoning company. By early 2020, Udemy was valued at approximately $2 billion!

How to Turn Your Side Hustle into a Full-Time Business

It’s easy to look at success stories and feel that these side-hustlers-turned-business-owners just got lucky. While there is a certain amount of luck involved in every entrepreneurial endeavor, there are actionable steps you can take to turn your side hustle into a successful full-time business. Based on the examples above, you can reverse engineer their experiences to find a process that works for you. So, let’s take notes from successful entrepreneurs like Aytekin Tank, Andrew Mason, and Eren Bali!

Find and perfect your idea

In all three examples above, the founders of successful side-hustle businesses had ideas that they put into action. Often times, these ideas combined their existing skills or passions with a gap in the market. For example, let’s say that you are an excellent communicator and have expert knowledge in a particular niche. You could begin consulting for businesses in that niche. From there, you could set aside funds from your job to market and grow your side-hustle consultation services into a full-time business! This brings us to the second important step…

Develop a funding strategy

Most people begin side hustles to make money. However, to turn a side hustle into a business, you’ll need some starting capital. As a result, you’ll likely need to dedicate a small portion of your paycheck toward building your side hustle. This may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s actually a sound business strategy.

Think about it; if you quit your job just to focus on your side hustle, you greatly reduce your income and risk putting all of your eggs in one unpredictable basket. Alternatively, if you regularly set aside funds from your job (or your side hustle) to build your business, you’re essentially investing in your future without taking on any additional risk. Over time, this nest egg could be enough to get your business up-and-running. If you still need more capital, you could always look for investors or take out a small business loan to get things moving!

Launch your business

It may seem like an unimportant distinction, but a side hustle becomes a business once you identify it as such. Side hustles are essentially part-time, temporary work to make extra cash; businesses are long-term investments with the potential to grow and create much larger returns. So, once you officially launch your business as an LLC or similar entity, you’ve taken an important step in your transition from side hustler to business owner!

As illustrated in the stories above, side hustles are generally low-risk. You spend a little bit of extra time and money to (hopefully) make more money or develop a unique idea. However, launching a business entails much more risk. When Aytekin Tank formed JotForm, he struggled to pay and manage his ever-growing staff. Andrew Manson’s first business launch, The Point, turned out to be a momentous failure, though it led him to develop a much better and more profitable website. Finally, Eren Bali and his business partners failed dozens of times to secure funding before finally getting the capital they needed to grow their business. In all three examples, these entrepreneurs launched their side-hustle businesses in spite of the inherent risks.

Time to get started

Turning a side hustle into a big business doesn’t mean you need to quit your day job. In fact, a day job has allowed hundreds of entrepreneurs to routinely fund their side hustles, eventually transforming them into full-time businesses. Up-and-coming entrepreneurs sometimes argue that leaving their much-hated nine-to-five jobs to focus on a full-time business will increase their chances of success. While there is validity to the point that you can’t just “set it and forget it,” you don’t need to completely upend your financial life or career to build your business. Instead, routinely fund and dedicate extra time to your side hustle until you’re ready to launch your business venture.

Originally published on Entrepreneur.

Big Businesses That Started as Side Hustles

Today, small time farmers across the United States are stuck between a rock and a hard place due to unfair and unjust pressures put on these family run farms by mega corporations. This pressure has made it harder and harder for farmers to make ends meet to properly care for the health and wellbeing of their livestock. Unfortunately, nearly all farmers have to choose between, either, treating their animals humanely and making a small profit, or signing with a mega corporation to inhumanely raise livestock for a slightly larger profit. Poultry farms throughout the United States serve as a great example for how hard it is to compete with these corporations. 

The reality is that these mega corporations came in and changed the age-old standards of ethical farming. When looking at poultry farms, the price of meat and eggs has remained too low for too long for smaller farmers to compete and make a difference. Therefore, the poultry farmers have to make a tough choice between selling at the farmers’ markets, or signing deals with mega corporations for a better profit.

Factory farming, which is controlled by big businesses and corporations, are notorious for their inhumane treatment of animals. Poultry farmers, most of the time, have to compete with these mega corporations that find nothing ethically wrong with packing chickens into crates so small that they cannot move, failing to care for the medical needs in order to raise a bird bigger, faster, and cheaper. By completely neglecting any concern or care for the chickens, and placing these animals in horrific, unsanitary, and tortuous environments, big corporations are able to mass produce more eggs and poultry products at a discounted price. In exchange for money, they opt to torture animals.

This, in turn, drives down the price of poultry and eggs, considerably. Today, most farmers only make pennies per bird, due to the mass corporations that can afford to only obtain a marginal profit per animal because they own so many. Put in simpler terms, to make a $100, a mega corporation might only need to make 10 cents per chicken, since they have 1000 chickens. However, a small time farmer, who only has 100 chickens — but keeps them humanely, cares for their needs, and feeds them real food that is not genetically modified — would need to make $10 per chicken. This means that a small time farmer simply cannot compete with larger corporations that specialize in poultry. 

Ultimately, they, either, have to raise their productivity and, in doing so, sign a contract with a mega corporation, or remain small and sell at the farmer’s markets. Either way, the end result is the unfair treatment of poultry farmers and the continued mistreatment and abuse of chickens.

Not surprisingly, many smaller chicken farmers are reporting feeling extremely disgruntled and downright depressed over the current state of the whole enterprise. They remember the days, in decades past, when they could care for their chickens in an ethical and humane manner and still turn a profit because it was just them selling along with other farmers who grew for their towns. Now, you can buy the same brand of chicken all over the country. Because of this, fewer and fewer farmers are able to act ethically and earn enough to stay in business.

But there is hope. You as a consumer have the power to help these marginalized farmers and their animals who, ultimately, suffer the most. It is vital for all Americans to petition their governments — local, state, and federal — and demand that stricter laws and regulations be put into place in order to protect animal rights. Stricter laws will accomplish one of two goals: either, factory farmers will be driven out of business, or factory farms will be forced to treat their animals humanely and ethically. It is essential to keep in mind, that these larger corporations are lobbying lawmakers and petitioning to have their agendas upheld and undermine the legitimacy of truly dedicated and just farmers.

If factory farms shut down completely, then smaller farms will be able to thrive and prosper without having to succumb to barbaric practices. On the other hand, if these farms do abide by the laws and regulations which protect animal rights, then poultry farmers will be able to work in a humane setting and not be expected to abuse and mistreat animals in order to turn a profit. 

Either way, the farmer and the chickens will win and the corporations, which exploit farmers and torture innocent animals, will be thwarted in their nefarious actions.

Originally published on HuffPost.

A Rock and A Hard Place: The Farmers of America

Social media influencers, bloggers, third-party review sites, and even major publications give negative feedback to businesses all the time. Learn how you can leverage media criticism to get your business ahead of the crowd.

One trait that applies to most new entrepreneurs is hopeless optimism. While many entrepreneurs and startup owners keep their feet on the ground when it comes to budgeting and business management, they may not be so level-headed about media criticism. In fact, most startup owners expect to receive nothing but praise and cheers when their products or services hit the market. Unfortunately, this is almost never the case.

However, every dark cloud has a silver lining. Rather than throwing in the towel when you get negative feedback, you should leverage media criticism to your advantage. When it comes to leveraging media critiques, there are essentially two schools of thought. One approach is the “P.T. Barnum Pro-Criticism” technique; the other is Eric Reis’ “Adaptive Learning” strategy. Though both methods are very different, they offer you two ways to turn negative media criticism into a useful tool to grow your business and ultimately stand out from the competition.

What is media criticism?

It may sound like a no-brainer, but many first-time entrepreneurs assume that any kind of negative feedback qualifies as media criticism. In fact, there’s a huge difference between consumers leaving your business bad reviews on Yelp and a journalist criticizing your startup in a respected publication. So, let’s evaluate the differences between consumer criticism and media criticism.

Consumer criticism

Consumer criticism refers to any kind of negative critique of you, your product, your service, or your business by a patron or customer. For example, let’s say you run a business that provides digital marketing services. A client uses your services, feels unhappy about their experience, and decides to write a negative review of your business.

This is a prime example of consumer criticism. It is simply a form of negative feedback from a customer or client. More importantly, the customer or client is not a public figure, nor do they hold any sway over a larger audience. However, their feedback will likely be in the public view, so it does have the power to negatively affect your business and possibly deter future clients.

Media criticism

Alternatively, media criticism refers to negative feedback from a public and/or authoritative source. Sometimes, consumer criticism can also be media criticism. For example, if a prominent Youtube star makes a purchase from your startup and creates a negative review video for their Youtube channel, this would be a form of both consumer and media criticism.

In any case, media criticism generally comes from individuals or organizations that have a large audience or have the ability to sway public opinion in a substantial way. Here are a few common examples:

  • Journalists
  • Prominent social media influencers or bloggers
  • Celebrities
  • Newspapers, magazines, and other media outlets
  • TV programs, radio shows, and podcasts

Needless to say, there can be many different sources of media criticism. When many new startup owners are faced with media criticism, they may feel the urge to crumble under the pressure. After all, being the target of public criticism from a popular or authoritative source can be painful. So, how can you get over the initial hurdles and leverage media criticism to your own advantage?

Different approaches to managing and leveraging media criticism

As previously mentioned, there are two unique approaches to leveraging media criticism. The first approach is the “P.T. Barnum Pro-Criticism” method. This is a rather famous — and perhaps infamous — strategy implemented by world-renowned New York Showman and founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus, P.T. Barnum. So, let’s take a closer look at the notorious showman’s strategy for using media criticism to grow his entertainment empire.

P.T. Barnum’s pro-criticism method

Though P.T. Barnum dabbled in a wide variety of ventures — from politics to journalism — he is most remembered for his traveling circus and widely publicized hoaxes. He became highly successful due to his keen observation that media criticism can be a good thing. In fact, many historians attribute the famous quote, “there’s no such thing as bad press,” (sometimes quoted as “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”) to Barnum.

One of Barnum’s most famous hoaxes was the “Feejee Mermaid,” which was the corpse of a monkey sewn to the tail of a fish, with paper-mâché to craft certain parts of the head and body. Despite its highly questionable authenticity, thousands of people flocked to Barnum’s New York-based museum to see the exhibit. In this instance, Barnum used controversy and negative media attention to grow his empire. This was further exemplified with his second most popular hoax, “General Tom Thumb.”

As part of his touring circus, Barnum employed several dwarfs and little people, one of whom he dubbed “General Tom Thumb.” The young boy began performing at the age of 4, with Barnum claiming that he was “The Smallest Person That Ever Walked Alone.” The act was so popular that Barnum took it to Europe, where Queen Victoria was both entertained and saddened by the young entertainer. His appearance before royalty — and the subsequent media frenzy — led to a hugely successful European tour.

So, how can these stories help you as an entrepreneur? The fact is that there is some truth to Barnum’s media criticism theory. Press — whether good or bad — provides exposure for you and your business. In short, it makes more people aware of your brand. For example, my business, The Doe, is a digital publication for anonymous contributors. Since we strive to encourage conversation and differing viewpoints, we have faced media criticism in the past. Most recently, we experienced backlash related to an article that argued against voting in the 2020 election due to the lack of quality candidates. Some of our more prominent followers took to social media to deride the article’s viewpoint, but as the founder and CEO of The Doe, I decided to lean into the criticism. Rather than ignoring, however, I always choose to respond to our critics, as often those conversations can be the most enlightening as a founder.

Eric Reis’ adaptive learning

In his much-lauded book, The Lean Startup, American entrepreneur Eric Reis puts forward a method for handling media critiques as a startup owner. Part of this process is a practice that Reis calls “Adaptive Learning.” As the name implies, entrepreneurs must analyze feedback so that they can adapt and learn from past mistakes. In short, it takes the same process that startups can use with consumer criticism and implements it with media criticism.

However, the ideas behind Adaptive Learning are far more complex than simply learning from one’s mistakes. In fact, Reis promotes a three-step process that every startup owner can use to their advantage. The illustration below provides a broad overview of Reis’ process:

As you can see, every startup must begin with a vision. This step defines the goals of your startup. To get to the next step, you must identify actionable steps that can get your startup up and running. Once you’ve identified these elements, you can start seeing how your business operates and how it is received. Are you able to profit right from the start? Is consumer feedback positive or negative? How about media critiques?

If you’re getting any negative feedback or taking note of metrics that could be improved, this is the moment to adapt and learn. This process of building, measuring, and learning is the foundation of Adaptive Learning. As you can see from the illustration above, you can continue through this process multiple times to improve your business and leverage media criticism to your advantage.

It’s inevitable

At one point or another, media criticism is an inevitability for every startup owner. Whether it’s a blogger who doesn’t like your product or a journalist who thinks your practices are questionable, there will always be media critiques of your business. Remember, you shouldn’t see media criticism as a reason to give up; you should see it as a reason to improve and build your business. Whether you use the P.T. Barnum Pro-Criticism approach or Eric Reis’ Adaptive Learning method (or even a combination of the two), you have an actionable path to success. You simply have to use your ability to leverage media criticism so that your business can grow and get ahead of the crowd!

Leveraging Media Criticism to Get Your Business Ahead of the Crowd

Good Morning from a Snowy Montana, 

This week’s letter has been challenging to write as I’ve been battling the flu in a blur of tissues, thermometers, and enough Nyquil to tranquilize a moose. While battling the sniffles and insomnia, I managed to hallucinate a memory of one of my favorite childhood songs that I had forgotten, buried deep in my subconscious. Since I last wrote, I have had a handful of healthy days where I managed to read lots, kick off some promising partnership opportunities, launch a new site, and work on my book! Keep reading to learn more. Buckle up because we're diving in!

Ankord Media:

From Milan the Author:

Just before the flu took over, my mind found solace in working on my manuscript and exploring the concept of "moonshot moments." These transformative leaps of progress, from the moon landing to the invention of the light bulb, ignite a spark within me, inspiring awe and a profound sense of human potential. With feverish determination, I’ve been crafting the first chapters of my next book focused on Moonshot Moments (9,000 words in the last week is no small feat). While I can't say the flu hasn't slowed my progress a tad, the momentum has been significant and deeply fulfilling. 

Ankord Labs Weekly Spotlight:

Narratives & The Doe:

I’m excited to share that the team at Narratives and Ankord Media came together to launch a landing page for Narratives as we build the organization. Click here for a first peek, and join me in celebrating the power of storytelling to drive social progress! For those of you new to this newsletter, Narratives is a 501(c)(3) content organization dedicated to sharing a broad spectrum of perspectives from across all cultures, demographics, and regions. It operates two distinct publishing arms: The Doe and Narratives. The Doe is our platform for anonymous storytelling, offering a space for authors to share their experiences without revealing their identities, fostering a unique environment for diverse, impactful narratives. Meanwhile, Narratives is set to feature personal stories under the authors' real names, celebrating the storytellers' identities and experiences directly.

We’ll have a more prominent, more comprehensive brand and site launch in the coming months, but that launch requires content and partnerships (which we are crushing):

Defy Ventures: I’m excited to share that we are just weeks from conducting the first bylined interview for Narratives. Through a beta partnership with Defy Ventures, other Narratives journalists and I will interview formerly incarcerated people, sharing their stories of survival, perseverance, and empathy building. Defy Ventures helps incarcerated individuals gain entrepreneurial skills so they can break free of the recidivism cycle. I’ve met a few times with Quan Huynh, a former inmate who now helps run Defy and has published his book, Sparrow in the Razor Wire: Finding Freedom from Within While Serving a Life Sentence (highly recommended, by the way!) We’ve decided to do a lengthy interview for Narratives, discussing his triumphant life story and how Defy is helping inmates transition to a more productive lifestyle. I’m thrilled to bring his powerful voice to Narratives, and the whole team is excited to have impactful content as we build this new non-profit. 

Pars Equality Center: This month, I also met with Peyman Malaz at Pars Equality Center, a  non-profit supporting Farsi-speaking immigrants in the US. The teams at The Doe and Narratives will be working with Pars’ staff on a project to support Afghan refugees who have been granted asylum in the US after the military pullout of 2021. Those who feel comfortable will share their stories with me to publish on TheDoe anonymously, where we’ll create videos for viewers to see and hear the real people behind this political crisis. For those comfortable sharing their identity, they’ll publish Narratives. We’re proud that, for many Afghan women who had experiences of trauma and fear, The Doe will offer them their first safe space to tell their stories. I will have to brush up on my Farsi skills, but I’m thrilled to have such a good reason to practice!

Finally, I want to thank the team at Narratives and The Doe immensely for their hard work reviving The Doe and bringing Narratives to life. We’ve had countless stories go viral in the past few weeks. Their headlines are below, and you can see tons of great civil discourse in the comments, too. Moderation is a challenge; we’re learning as we go, but we’re excited that our audience still cares to read and support our work. 

Things I’m Reading (Audiobooking):

  • Unmasking AI: My Mission to Protect What Is Human in a World of Machines, by Dr. Joy Buolamwini: In the spirit of Black History Month, I audiobooked "Unmasking AI" by Dr. Joy Buolamwini. It's a powerful exploration of how biased data and algorithms can perpetuate societal inequalities, particularly regarding race and gender. As a founder of AI development, this book was illuminating and unsettling. Buolamwini's personal experiences encountering discriminatory AI firsthand, her research uncovering the "coded gaze," and her subsequent activism through the Algorithmic Justice League was eye-opening. It challenged me to critically examine the potential for bias in my projects, reminding me of the responsibility we hold as developers to create responsible and ethical AI that amplifies, not amplifies, existing injustice. This book is a must-read for anyone involved in AI, urging us to prioritize human values and actively work towards equitable AI solutions.

Things I’m Listening To:

  • Gole Maryam: One night, while trying my best to fall into a deep sleep well tranquilized by Nyquil, I lay awake, unable to sleep for hours. In that Nyquil haze, I found myself recounting a rhyme and a couple of words of a song my mom used to play for me on the way to school in the 6th grade. It’s a genre-bending folk/pop mix from 1990s Iran called Gole Maryam. The following day, I called my mom, trying to recount the song, but I only remembered two words from the song and not the rhythm. She remembered the song situationally when I described where and when she’d play it for me, but no other specifics. The second night of my flu, again sedated with Nyquil, three more words came to me and the rhythm. This time, I voice-recorded it and then immediately called my mother. She didn’t recount it immediately; she was half asleep when I called her. But the following day, she identified the song, and I’m so excited to share it with you. Please see it linked here. Additionally, if you’re interested in tuning into any of my other favorite Iranian songs, please see my curated Persian Playlist here.

Wrapping Up

With that, I’m happy to report that I’m recovering well from the flu and enjoying beautiful skiing runs with my younger siblings and family. So much work is going on in the background at Ankord to support all of my notable startups and media ambitions; thank you to everyone helping me build this empire. Mark your calendars – the next few weeks promise big announcements you won't want to miss. Stay tuned, stay curious, and remember, every journey begins with a good night’s sleep and caring for your physical and mental self. 

Thank you again for subscribing to this little corner of my world. Until we meet again next week, may your moonshot dreams burn bright.

Stay Warm and Healthy,

Milan Kordestani

Ankord Memo - February 23, 2024

Greetings from a Warm but Cloudy Los Angeles,

Firstly, a massive thank you for tuning in once again to this newsletter. These days, I find that most of my serotonin comes from discovering new music that gives me chills, and the serenity of calm sunny days where I can spend my days reading and writing. As always, I find myself listening to more and more Cuban music, especially when the sun is shining and I get to drive down the Pacific Coast Highway with rolled down windows. As we look ahead, I can't help but feel excitement for the upcoming long weekend, with next Monday marking President's Day—a perfect opportunity to soak up more sunshine, discover some new tunes, and make some content! So please, kick back and enjoy another exciting edition of my newsletter.

Ankord Media:

From Milan the Author:

A few weeks ago, I had the incredible opportunity to sit down for an interview with Dr. Ben Kuipers, a distinguished mathematician at the University of Michigan renowned for his work in AI. Our discussion delved deep into the essence of cooperation and the imperative of cultivating win-win scenarios to propel our advancements in AI and to drive human progress. Dr. Kuipers introduced me to Robert Wright’s work on non-zero-sum progress which has profoundly influenced the current book I’m working on. As I continue crafting my work, I'm weaving in these insights, emphasizing the critical need and moonshot goal of global cooperation. Stay tuned as these transformative ideas take center stage in my upcoming book.

From Milan the Content Creator:

I recently had the opportunity to participate in an interview with Fox News, where we engaged in a discussion about President Biden's use of profanity to express frustration with his political opponents. Check out my comments here - and expect more election discourse as 2024 progresses! 

See here a video about why the DNC is going to intentionally lose this election. A solution to these problems can be found here

Ankord Labs Weekly Spotlight:

Audo:

Accelerating with Google StartED: We're excited to share that Ahmad Elzahdan, CEO of Audo, recently participated in the well-respected Google StartED Accelerator program. Over the course of the week, Ahmad had the opportunity to engage in insightful mentorship sessions, workshops, and networking events aimed at fostering growth and innovation in the education technology sector. The program provided Ahmad with valuable resources and guidance, which will allow him to further solidify Audo's position as a leader in the industry. He provided some insights to share. 

Ahmad enthusiastically expressed how productive and “intense” the conference was - an immersive experience, extending far beyond the scheduled times due to the abundance of valuable information and engaging Q&A sessions. The week commenced with an inspiring induction by Alisa O'Hara, Google's Global Head of EdTech Partnerships, shedding light on Google's ambitious plans for education and introducing Google's EdTech integration partner, Zazmic. Ahmad enjoyed meeting with Anthony Hernandez, Google's Strategic EdTech Partnerships Manager, to discuss funding and growth opportunities for Audo. Throughout the sessions, Ahmad focused on future partnership opportunities and ideas for fundraising strategies and investor prospecting. Overall, the conference was a rigorous yet enlightening journey, fostering collaboration, networking, and strategic planning to propel Audo towards its ambitious goals.

Progress on the Roadmap: Progress at Audo is soaring as we look to fill key hires across various critical roles, including a Data Engineer, Senior Flutter Developer, and ML Engineer. Additionally, significant strides have been made in backend development with the implementation of features for Audo’s Job Match feature and a Server Migration. On the front end, the Audo team’s focus remains sharp, with the development of native Course Pages, Design Prototypes, and intuitive user interfaces for Audo’s Course Listings, Resume feature, and Job Tracker functionalities. Audo’s executive team has also been focusing on securing grants and partnerships specifically focused on the prison system, to provide Audo to inmates looking to avoid recidivism. Stay tuned as we continue to push boundaries and bring technological innovation at Audo.

Branding Revamp and Content: In a collaboration between the Audo and Ankord Labs teams, we've pooled our expertise to create motion graphics videos showcasing the latest features of our products and undergo a new logo creation journey. With a fresh new logo and product suite set to debut later this year, we are more clear on the problems we solve and the populations we solve them for, than ever before.

Ankord Labs Job Searches:

The Ankord Labs team is working round the clock to fill new positions that open in the startups we incubate. If you know any great candidates, please help us to connect to them and grow the Ankord family! Three great positions are open at Nota:

  • Director of Product Management: Come spearhead product development, collaborate closely with senior leadership, and drive innovation in alignment with Nota’s mission of revolutionizing the industry through responsible and innovative use of technology.
  • Director of Customer Success and Partnerships: Come be instrumental in driving customer success, fostering strategic partnerships, and advancing Nato’s business growth through tailored solutions, strong relationships, and collaborative initiatives.
  • Director of Data Science and A.I.: Lead both strategic planning and hands-on execution of our data initiatives, playing a pivotal role in developing and implementing our data strategy while actively contributing to the design, development, and deployment of AI models and machine learning algorithms.

Things I’m Reading:

  • Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny, by Robert Wright: I've just finished Robert Wright's Nonzero as part of my quest to deepen my understanding of human cooperation and progress. Wright's compelling exploration of the interplay between cooperation, technology, and cultural evolution resonates deeply with me.  What captivated me most about the book was Wright's optimistic vision of human destiny, highlighting the potential for positive-sum outcomes and non-zero-sum progress, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges. It's a refreshing perspective that reaffirms my belief in the power of collaboration and collective action to shape a better future for humanity.
  • AI and the Herculaneum Scrolls: This is a story I’ve been following this week - winners were announced in a Silicon Valley-funded competition to use AI to decipher ancient Roman scrolls preserved in lava. I am always blown away by wildly creative applications of AI, and as a fan of Roman philosophy, I can’t wait for humanity to rediscover “new” wisdom from the past.

Things I’m Watching/Listening To:

  • Cuban Music: There’s just something so energetic and moving about Cuban music. Maybe it’s that I speak just enough spanish for the songs to keep me dreaming about what they’re singing about, or maybe it’s the consistency of the clave beating to keep salsa dancers on beat, but on the days when peace goes out the door and I need energy, I double down on Cuban Music. Please follow my playlist for my favorites!
  • Milkshake 20 (Alex Wann Remix): With the early 2000s in the spotlight this week with Usher’s Superbowl performance, I have been blasting this remix on repeat. I love how remixes like this make something so classic feel fresh again. 
  • Beyonce Goes Country: I’m all for this song, I was a big fan of her song first country song Daddy Lessons when it came out, and in general I love when artists become entrepreneurs and diversify their audiences, reach, and just generally experiment with new sounds. Maybe I’m tired of pop stars making same-sounding music; her new song Texas Hold’em feels far from “same-sounding”. 

Wrapping Up

As I conclude this edition of my newsletter, I want to thank each of you for subscribing. I hope you get to find some time this week for introspection, reflecting on the profound impact we can have when there is consensus and cooperation in our lives and communities. I’m grateful for all the progress across the Ankord portfolio, and especially Audo this week as we direct our collective efforts toward driving scalable change. Stay tuned for more updates on my book manuscript, where we delve deeper into the transformative power of cooperation and the potential it holds for launching moonshot moments of progress. Until next time, let's continue to champion progress and embrace the journey ahead with optimism and determination.

I hope you find the balance of making time to relax, while getting ahead, this upcoming long weekend.  

Kindly,

Milan Kordestani

Ankord Memo - February 15, 2024

Good Morning from a very flooded Los Angeles!

It’s been a busy couple weeks since I last wrote, but I’m so thrilled to share what’s been going on at Ankord, including progress on my next book manuscript and an inside look at what’s brewing at Nota. Thanks for joining me for this update!

Ankord Media:

From Milan the Author:

Currently immersed in the early stages of research and initial writing for my second book, I find the blank page to be both daunting and invigorating. The challenge of crafting a coherent narrative is met with inspiration drawn from the profound insights of the philosophers, physicists, and psychoanalysts whose work I’ve been exploring. Their diverse perspectives not only provide intellectual depth but also fuel my creative process. The next few months will be crucial as I put to page all the exciting ideas about AI and our future that I’ve been working on over the past few months.

From Milan the Content Creator:

I had the opportunity to interview someone who left an incredible memory and feeling that has stayed with me even months after having met. You may have seen my Eddie the Fiddler videos on social media, where I interviewed a self taught violinist in Central Park who plays under a bridge daily. There’s something so magical about how the right people fall into your world at the right time. Eddie described himself as having “Peter Pan Syndrome”, meaning that he’s an adult who never wanted to grow up and become serious. He’s jovial, light hearted, kind, and high energy. I say he came into my life at the right time because whenever I think of him, I remind myself that I have a choice of how I want to show up in the world daily, and that life is better when we show up curious and inspired like a young child. Peter Pan syndrome is an extreme of an otherwise important mental framework centered around the idea of maintaining childlike wonder, curiosity, and neuroplasticity. Eddie, and the others like him who I try to find to interview, remind me that not all heroes wear capes.

Please check out the full length interview I did with him here, and an Instagram Clip that hit over 2M views here!

Ankord Labs Weekly Spotlight:

Nota:

Fundraising Success: Any founder will tell you that the first round of fundraising is the hardest, and Nota has faced the particular challenge of fundraising in “tech winter” for the venture capital market. Yet, amidst this winter, Nota’s team has shown that for teams building real products, for real customers, who have real pain points, it’s never been a better time to build a startup. We hope to close our VC-led Seed round by the end of this month, bringing in over $3M of strategic institutional money to ensure Nota’s sustainability and growth.

I want to again applaud Josh Brandau, the co-founding team, and all the great talent at Nota for getting us through fundraising in such a competitive market. It is an exciting time to be in the startup ecosystem! And don’t worry - once Nota is ready to make the big announcement, you’ll get more detail here!

AI Tools for Publishers: Our users, from big media producers to smaller publications, have been heaping praise on us for the quality of our product. But we’ve also gotten a lot of positive - even grateful - feedback from publishers for helping them “do more with less.” With so much of the media industry suffering layoffs, many publications are being forced to ask more and more from fewer and fewer employees, and at Nota, we’ve been hearing how often our product is filling those gaps by making content generation more affordable and more user-friendly. We didn’t build for a recession, but we have always believed that publications should be focused on producing great journalism, so if we are helping outlets afford their best writers by doing away with unnecessary editors and videographers, then we know we’re doing our part to protect quality journalism and bolster the fourth estate.

New Landing Page and Promo Video: The last couple weeks I had a hand in creating a motion graphics video to show the world what the Nota team has been building. The new videos will be featured on the new website that will be launched soon - keep your eyes on this newsletter for an update when it goes live!

Going Forward: With the success of Nota’s fundraising efforts and consistent revenue growth, the team is excited to bring on a couple more team members, meaning an opportunity to enhance our customer experience and expand the capabilities of the tools we offer! I want to give you a very early sneak peek into two that have me excited:

  • Nota’s upcoming Tone Builder will help users - especially media holding groups with diverse publication portfolios - train our AI to match the tone of a given publication. 
  • Also in the works is a Proof tool which will allow our AI to assess and ‘grade’ users’ content for SEO quality, likelihood of virality, and more. 

Things I’m Reading:

  • The Perennial Philosophy, by Aldous Huxley. -Right now, I'm diving into Perennial Philosophy for its straightforward exploration of common threads running through various religious and philosophical traditions. I like how Huxley extracts universal insights that cut across cultural and historical boundaries, providing a practical lens to understand shared human values and wisdom. In a world with diverse beliefs, this book offers a down-to-earth perspective, helping me glean practical insights applicable to contemporary life while fostering a broader understanding of the common threads that bind us all.

Things I’m Listening To:

  • Milan's Guided Meditations Playlist- Lately, I’ve been in a creative mode and inspired by many of the authors I’ve been examining while working on my manuscript. This playlist includes guided meditations by some of my favorite philosophers, like Alan Watts and Ram Dass, whose insights are directing my writing and keeping me calm during the process. 
  • Phonics - I’ve been listening to one of our very own Guin artist’s newest releases on repeat since I last wrote. This song, by Asha Imuno, feat. Westside Boogie and Tempest (a new Guin signee), sets the tone for a great night relaxing with friends or driving through LA on a sunny day. 

Wrapping Up

Thank you for joining me in celebrating the high-energy activities of Ankord Labs' startups, and in supporting my creative process. As we wrap up this edition, I invite you to check back in next week for more updates from the leaders we’re supporting. Their excitement is palpable, and we can't wait to share more about the innovative strides these ventures are making. Stay tuned for a deeper dive into the entrepreneurial pulse that fuels Ankord Labs, and thank you for being part of our engaged and vibrant community!

Thank you for tuning in, stay warm, 

Milan Kordestani

Ankord Memo - February 6, 2024

Hi everyone,

As the holiday season comes to a close, and the new year is in sight, I find myself feeling both grateful and overwhelmed.

It's a time of year when my primary goal is to be present with my family and take a break from my daily routines, but I also have a growing list of priorities and deadlines to tackle. It can be a bit of a balancing act moving a startup forward while making time for holiday activities, so I'm trying to embrace the concept of ichigyo-zammai, a Japanese philosophy of channeling your focus on one thing at a time.

This week, I'll continue tackling a few high-priority items that many of my fellow founders may also be focused on: reducing burn, goal planning for 2023, and clarifying a vision for the future – especially with so much uncertainty in the market.

Most of all, I’m grateful for all the lessons of this year and to finally reap some fruits from the seeds that were planted all year long.

So, without further delay, I want to update you on some exciting news to come, and happenings across the board.

AUDO’S MVP IS LAUNCHING IN LESS THAN A WEEK!

Audo’s MVP opens the doors of our A.I. Career Planner where our proprietary AI asks you questions to identify your goals, skills, and interests to match you with the best courses and certificates to reach your desired career outcome.

For $39 a month, you get unlimited access to over 15k courses created by some of the largest companies and employers. With each course completed, our AI then matches you with job opportunities available anywhere on the internet. Affordable education, personalized to the user, powered by job market availability.

I’m obsessed with creating an alternative to college for Zoomers (Gen Z) and future generations. I believe that the A.I. we’re building will soon be powerful enough to help anyone pivot their career, or rejoin the job force based on their needs.

Making money on the internet is easier than ever. Digital skill acquisition is more affordable than ever. But a college degree is more expensive than it’s ever been. During this current market downturn, many of our beta users have been prioritizing upskilling with us because they need to find work before graduating high school and help support their families affected by layoffs. I know there is a better way to approach career navigation, and we know these gigs exist online.

Audo can help people on their way to consistent income through freelancing and upskilling.

The validation of our concept by real users has been encouraging. We’ve been generating 100 new signups a day and have over 12,000 registered and waitlisted users since we began our Beta in September.

All I’m going to say is that this MVP has been a lot of blood, sweat, and tears to ensure we don’t lose momentum. While the day we push this release will be exciting, what’s more exciting is the momentum we’ve built going into the coming year.

Cheers to an amazing team and especially our users above all else.

MY FIRST BOOK IS COMING OUT!! AH!

I’m Just Saying: A Guide to Maintaining Civil Discourse in an Increasingly Divided World will publish in the first half of 2023 and is available for pre-order now. Wow, that feels good to say: my first book is almost done!

I’m Just Saying draws from history, popular culture, and personal anecdotes from my own life to explore the concept and practice of civil discourse, an essential part of democracy and civilized society that is becoming rare in today's digital age. (As I’m sure you’ve noticed!)

Why would my publisher be interested in the hot take of a 23-year-old, privileged, tech-founder on the ancient practice of civil discourse? This one for me is personal. From my days at Colorado College to founding Nota (formerly known as The Doe), the anonymous publishing site I launched, to managing multiple remote teams across continents, I’ve witnessed such a massive breakdown in civil discourse during a time of hyper-scrutiny and cancel culture.

It’s worth noting as someone who loves tech that this book doesn’t exist to negate the amazing value technology has brought so much as it exists to analyze technology’s impact on civil discourse in society.

Do not get me wrong, I love A.I, and I love efficiency, but the truth is that we’ve lost the art of micro relationships and basic connections made through our conversations with both people we love and those we only encounter briefly. I’ve spent years reflecting on this, studying this, and working to scale civil discourse.

I also intended this book to be helpful to fellow founders and builders who want to lead their increasingly remote and global teams by leveraging the power of civil discourse. (It really makes a difference, trust me!)

You’ll be hearing much more about the book in the coming months. But for now, you can help me out by putting in some pre-orders, here!



SENTIMENTS FROM GUIN AND NOTA

A quick update from the two other companies I founded, but stepped away from as CEO this year: Guin and Nota.

Guin Records, helmed by Misha Kordestani, has spent all year “storming and norming,” refining processes, exploring tech solutions to fill gaps, and preparing for a year of newly structured deals and a new tier of artists. We have a new website we’re excited to launch in the first quarter, and a tech product baking in Figma that we hope might eventually scale some of the basic record label functions we know artists will need most in this challenging industry.

On the Nota front, we’ve fully pivoted to our new product offering launching in 2023 under the direction of CEO Josh Brandau. There’s a lot of low-hanging fruit to build tech solutions to help the digital publishing industry that has long been bleeding. In the age of free information and social media, we’re on a mission to create a marketplace and streaming economy for journalists, writers, and digital publishers. That’s our long-term vision, but today, we’re building with AI to make content more accessible for consumers, and give publishers an edge to ensure their information reaches the masses before misinformation does.

This starts with AI text-to-video, AI SEO automation for entire article libraries, and more. We’re currently fielding feedback and inquiries from publishers interested in pilot partnerships of our beta, and finding ways to bring the larger vision to life as fast as possible.

SEE YOU IN THE NEW YEAR.

Friends, that’s all I’ve got for this rainy winter day.

Here are some words I'm using to anchor my coming year: iterate, automate, delegate, learn and balance.

I’m a big fan of mantras. One of my favorites this time of year is, “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were layering bricks every hour.”

Let me know what kind of goals you’re focused on for 2023. I’d love to use this monthly newsletter as an opportunity to hear your rants and learn from or reconnect with you.

Warmly,

Milan

December Monthly Memo

Hi Friends,

I’m back with the monthly memo. And I’m going to start this one by asking y’all to take a deep breath, because it’s been a long 40 days since I began this newsletter. But I’m not alone in the sentiment of being a bit more tired than usual, it’s been a lot of really long days.

When I read that letter again, part of me feels the same as I did then: there are glimpses of fatigue along with a healthy level of founder optimism. But my sentiment in the last letter about battening down the hatches was no joke. The 6 am wake-ups and 14-hour work days haven’t quite let up, and while it does feel like I’m moving at lightspeed, there’s still a feeling of “hurry up and wait.” This letter, in large part, is for my fellow founder friends who are continuing to build amidst a financial winter unlike we’ve seen before.

All that said, if you’re going to stick with a startup during an economic downturn, I strongly believe in the importance of – as a founder – outperforming and inspiring those around you. In truth, that can be a very difficult thing to do when you’re young and everyone you work with has more experience than you.

That means you’ll have to figure out what your “secret sauce” is in order for you to stay ahead of the pack. I’ve found that nobody can prescribe the right sauce to any person, because the value we bring to our respective startups differs from one to the other. In my case, my “secret sauce” is my obsession with productivity and capturing information that can be leveraged later. I try not to let a single plausible idea – or concept that could improve my life or help me achieve my goals – go undocumented. This isn’t productivity for work I’m talking about, but a personal life management system.

For you, your secret sauce might be communicating the most outrageous concepts in the simplest of ways. Or maybe it’s showing up on time for people, something I haven’t been very good with recently. Whatever your secret sauce, use that each morning to deliver your unique value to whatever vendetta you’re building against. Focusing on one vendetta at a time keeps the stress levels down :)

But if you’re young, now is the time to be pulling all-nighters and risking it all to change the world. Stick with me as I tell you about the last 40 days since I wrote y’all... and apologies for the delay. Here we go!

This month I’ve been meeting with lots of different investors, from venture funds to angels. The feedback and interest in what we’re building is strong: it’s never been so obvious how terrible of an investment college is for Gen Z. Our challenge is straight up ambitious: use AI to tailor online education to get you employed in under 3 months. As we head into the holiday season, we’re focused on our beta users currently taking courses, and driving towards our MVP to open our doors to the internet.

We’ve made some exciting progress this month onboarding beta testers for Audo Learn, pushing the limits of what our beta can handle before our MVP opens in January. But even that statement feels like a blessing when I think back to the beginning of this year when we didn’t even know if the concept would resonate (we did tests, but ya never know). I’ve been doing live walkthrough onboardings with some of our beta testers, and it’s been really helpful to get that user feedback in real-time.

I was planning on telling everyone how many career tracks we’d launch with in January. But we may have a surprise in the works

Audo is hitting the road, and we’ve applied to some of EdTech’s biggest opportunities:

  • Myself, Andrew (CTO), and Ahmad (Partnerships) will be attending CES in January: would love to connect with anyone thinking of going!
  • You’ll see us in a booth at ASU+GSV where we’ll be looking to connect with new partners, demo our tech, and learn more about the future of education.
  • We’ll also be at SXSW to join hundreds of excellent companies working to reimagine the future of education. A hackathon is also in the works; more details coming soon!

I also had the pleasure of speaking on a couple of podcasts and Yahoo Finance to get the word out about Audo, which were really cool. I’m just a verbose dude, and am working on refining my answers, because I love rabbit holes. Conveniently located here to peruse:  

Yahoo Finance Appearance

Action & Ambition Podcast

Entrepreneur Radio Podcast

Man. This one is tough. As I spoke about in my last letter I’ve taken a step back from Nota (Previously named The Doe), to allow Josh Brandau the new CEO of Nota to bring the organization some much-needed focus.

That much-needed focus also came with a lot of innovative ideas, and a lot of questions around building a sustainable technology company in a struggling publishing industry. The problems are nuanced, but I’ll start with this: it’s very difficult to watch something you’ve built for so long come screeching to a halt, as we evaluate the most viable route forward.

All that to say, the Nota team has made it past many of the “rough times,” and momentum should begin to pick up soon with more clarity on what we’re building. But it took some time to get here. I don’t have much more to share at this point, but I’m hopeful that we’ll have some really exciting updates about Nota by the end of the year.

The Guin team has been growing significantly lately. We’re now a family of about 20 people, and proudly a 90% black-employed organization.

With our growing team also comes an evolution of concept. Beginning this year, Guin has focused on creating sustainability for the label, and we’ve made major moves toward ensuring that this happens. We’ve fleshed out our revenue model, and the label itself has undergone a huge in-service operation: everyone’s jazzed for 2023.

We have big dreams for Guin, and Misha is chipping away at all of them daily. Imagine a Guin studio in every major city. Imagine an incubator focused on artist development for aspiring artists who are financially disadvantaged. Imagine transparency at the core of every deal we do.

There’s a lot that’s been cooking in the oven that we’ll start to share slowly, but October was a temperature check on the dream, and it’s strong!

Across the Board

Culture has been a big focus of mine recently. It’s the driving factor of success for a startup, which is why I’m grateful to highlight an amazing culture being built at Guin. Misha has done an amazing job of driving cohesion among an ever-evolving team against a new pivot. But culture ebbs and flows. Across my organizations, we’ve had to let people go as we’ve made aggressive pivots and evaluated what the organizations best need to be successful. We’ve also seen amazing moments where we’ve gained explosive growth at Audo, meeting our goals, only to see the goalposts move into arenas like fundraising or team growth: which inevitably weaken culture. The startup game can be frustrating, but I also believe that building sustainable companies that employ many, and drive obvious solutions to industry-wide problems, is the greatest use of my drive and time.

At Guin, I’m seeing glimpses of a really amazing culture. At times, artists will tear into staff, but our team is learning how to deal with it. We are learning when to own up to a fault or hole in our startup processes and to recognize the moments when it’s not our fault. It’s amazing to see this growth in Guin under Misha’s leadership.

At Nota, the team and culture have suffered a lot. I’m grateful that all the team members we let go, or chose to leave during our pivot, have all managed to gain employment and make the next moves in their careers. That’s the best outcome you could hope for as a founder who will inevitably make mistakes. In my case, it was seeing hockey stick-like traction without building proper monetization strategies. To the team members who have moved on, thank you for trusting in me for so long. I’m proud of the work we did and proud of you all for keeping the drive and finding new opportunities to work: I can’t wait to cheer you on on your new paths.

For the folks still at Nota, I think we understand how daunting the challenge we’re tackling is, but I also think we’ve figured out how we’ll be able to operate and build. I know you all will love what we release next.

It’s been a tough month. I think most of my fellow entrepreneurs are changing their expectations of what the end of this year would look like. The hours have gotten longer and the work more extensive. I’m sure I’m not the only founder who’s been facing 14-hour days with no lunch.

But I don’t want you to think it’s all doom and gloom.

This past month has been a lesson on the importance of building connections and keeping an open mind, even under the intensity of building and raising. From chats with investors, to dinners with fellow founders, there’s truly no better way to get a perspective on what you’re building than by hearing other people’s stories. It re-motivates and re-excites you about the path you’ve chosen.

You never know what kind of insights or opportunities will come out of a conversation – and you are more likely to find them when you are receptive and present.

I attended an event on the Future of Work this month, intending to connect with VCs and find opportunities to pitch Audo. Surprisingly, though, the best connection I made wasn’t with a potential investor; it was with another founder. His company is creating tech that can quickly recognize patterns in large data sets. In connecting, we were able to follow up with meetings, learn about their technology, and develop new ideas that will save my team hundreds of man-hours. Had I been narrowly focused on networking with VCs, I would have completely missed out on that learning opportunity.

When you're building, staying laser-focused on your MVP and fundraising can be tempting, but there's a lot to be said for staying impartial and open-minded. In fact, the early building stage might be the most important time to remain objective and open. Remaining malleable and adaptive as a company culture will result in more effective pivots that keep you on track, rather than breaking you.

George Bernard Shaw said it best: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”

I mentioned I’d talk about productivity in these newsletters, but really I’ve just been building out my life on Click-Up more than ever these days. So for now, here are some contact management apps to help you improve the relationships in your life. It’s been a very interesting, niche, craze. And there are so many options from Dex, to Clay.Earth, Contacts+, and more.

Book Update

In January, I shared that I got a publishing deal for a book proposal on civil discourse. I’m excited to say that the final manuscript has been submitted to the publisher, and we’ve approved the first set of proofs. On the long road of publishing a book, we are within sight of the finish line!

We’re 5 months away from our publishing date, so expect to see more on this soon. I’ll likely do a cover reveal in November!


October Monthly Memo

Hi friends! Welcome to the first installment of my monthly memo. I'm excited to share some news and updates with you, as well as insights from the blog, and a few other things on my radar.

It's been a busy year, and summer... I began this year with the intention of creating self-sufficiency for the three startups I founded over the last few years. 

To focus my time, I've taken on full-time responsibility as CEO of Audo (formerly Dormzi), while taking a step back elsewhere.

I have hired the previous CRO of the LA Times (Josh Brandau) to take over and evolve The Doe, and I've taken a step back from Guin, confident in my sister and co-founder Misha's leadership as sole CEO of Guin Records. 

I support both Misha and Josh as much as I can in my free time, sharing learnings from Audo and other companies across my portfolio to ensure learning and progress from mistakes and wins are made at each venture. 

On a personal note, Summer has been less relaxed than in previous years, with "building" being the focus on my mind.

Whether it's been increasing the amount of time and priority I put on family-time this summer, or the late nights and early mornings spent fundraising for Audo, I've been blessed to be busy!

But if you're feeling like this summer has been a quiet and heads-down period for more than just yourself, there's some logic there! (Keep reading)

I've been fortunate to learn a lot over this summer, and to put a significant emphasis on increasing productivity, increasing clarity in everyone's roles and responsibilities, and doing my utmost to drive these impact-focused teams.

But, at the risk of repeating what you all already know, the markets are down; beyond the global implications, from an early-stage founder mindset, the dial has been turned up for all of us to ensure sustainability in what we're building.

Fundraising is no longer dependent on who makes the most noise, but now, who has a real solution for a large enough market that can be monetized in your first 2-3 years of operating.

I'm confident I'm building solid companies, but this summer was a lesson in long-term strategy.

I'm learning that patience is a founder's best asset in a bear market and everything takes a little longer in a downturn.

Patience coupled with a realistic roadmap to product-market fit is the way through. That means being able to see the vision beyond the excitement of early stages, and being mentally prepared for years of testing, feedback and product iterations that will lead to a monetizable solution. 

Young founders, myself included, tend to be impatient, wanting to build the products that solve massive problems and grow into empires.

But Rome was not built in a day, so patience has been the biggest skill I've been developing most this summer, along with all the fundraising lessons I've been learning on the job. Amazon started by selling books, before selling everything you can think of.

Company Updates

AUDO

Audo's beta is officially live!

In case you missed it, my college startup, Dormzi, has recently pivoted and rebranded to Audo - A career-building ecosystem that uses an AI-powered assessment to generate a personalized upskilling path and connect you to careers in today's increasingly volatile market. 

We believe that there are tons of powerful courses online, and tons of amazing job opportunities at the entry-level, but users are not being matched well to either.

We're building the ecosystem to bridge digital education with gig-style work and earning potential. A "get paid gigs, as you learn", kind of thing. 

We've partnered with Coursera, EdX, and Path Unbound to provide ample variety in courses for us to stitch together personalized curriculum.

The only question at hand, is how can we close the gap between higher education and job placement?

Well, it starts by ensuring it's offered at an affordable price that breaks the chokehold of student debt and the 4 year commitment typically expected by traditional education institutions. We're in the exciting stage of beta testing Audo Learn, and we're prioritizing collecting as much feedback from our early users as possible so we can adapt to their needs.

If you or someone you know is interested in being a beta tester, they can sign up here.

NOTA

Say Hello to Nota-the next stage of evolution for The Doe!  

The Doe began as a solution providing a place online to authentically tell meaningful stories through anonymous publishing.

However, over the years, we've recognized we cannot do this alone. To do more, our vision must grow and pivot.

Enter: Nota.

With Nota, our dream is to build an ecosystem for journalists and media consumers by, finally, bringing technology solutions to the journalism industry that improve the content creation process for writers, increase revenue for publications, and rebuild trust in publications from consumers.

We want to return people to the center of publishing. We're focused on empowering the writers and storytellers who fuel the publishers we trust most, with the intent to improve the publishing experience for all those involved: publishers, writers, and consumers. 

Nota will continue to serve marginalized voices as the internet's leading anonymous publisher, while expanding our focus to a grander mission: improving the way consumers interact with news and how publishers source and distribute that content.

GUIN

A lot has happened at Guin in the past 6 months.

Like the other two, Guin has also been very focused on sustainability. Misha and I have focused on how Guin can continue to grow towards becoming the leading artist-friendly label in music.

The mission is ambitious and challenging, but we know the only way to get there is by listening to what our artists and the greater artistic community are asking for.

This has involved looking at the data of what it takes for a label, which in the modern day operates like an early stage venture capital fund, to break an artist.

We've also been analyzing what the weighting of factors should be in the decision making of which artists we sign and how to better construct those deals to incentivize artist growth. 

As always, Misha and I have leaned on what we know best to make this happen: recruiting talented team members to collaboratively give this mission the best opportunity for success.

While our progress this year has been exciting, it hasn't come without its fair share of headaches either.

Signed artists are like founders: there never seems to be enough money, somehow the fund is always blamed for lack of growth, and while building a successful artist career is like building a business, artists sometimes don't see it that way.

Nonetheless, like any fund focused on the "early stage," it's our job to guide, mentor, and shepherd these young artists towards a mindset of partnership.

Misha and I continue to work closely to dream up what Guin can become and what the appropriate milestones will be along the way.

I'll continue to provide updates as we flesh that out. But for this year, beyond all of the amazing music releases we've had, I'm most proud of the team we've grown into: a team focused on setting and driving against goals in the next year, a team focused on process and efficiency to ensure nothing slips through the cracks, and a team focused on culture and mental health.

We're intentionally signing artists we believe we can work with closely to develop their work through our partnership, and avoiding artists who want to treat us like the label that doesn't care.

Because, believe me - this team cares so much, they put the lives of the artists ahead of their own. I couldn't be more grateful for the team we've built, and for Misha showing up day in and day out to build a music empire and family that artists are proud to be a part of. 

As Guin keeps building, I'll continue to share updates here; and in the meantime, here are some of our newest releases! 

Guin new releases:

Barny fletcher

From the Blog

What Is The Role of A Record Label In Today’s Music Business?

Record labels play an important role in artist development, fostering a body of work while maintaining a focus on profitability and data-driven results.

Principles of Communication

Human language, problem-solving, and morality originate in our imaginative ability to reflect on different situations and our deep-seated drive to connect with others.

How to Break Out of the Social Media Echo Chamber?

If you find your content consumption pattern one-sided and constantly bashing the other side, it's time to break free of your filter bubble.

Milan’s Monthly Memo September