Posted by ACV’s digital Sun brochure highlights top resorts for western gateways MONTREAL — Sun and sand are just a click away with Air Canada Vacations’ recently released digital Sun brochure.Accessible from Western gateways, featured properties include Dos Playas Beach House by Faranda in Cancun, Mexico with routes operating directly from Vancouver, Winnipeg and Calgary and Royal Decameron Club Caribbean in Montego Bay, Jamaica with routes operating directly from Winnipeg. Both resorts are exclusive to ACV.Other popular properties in Jamaica include: Grand Palladium Jamaica Resort & Spa; Hideaway at Royalton Negril; Holiday Inn Resort, Montego Bay; Luxury Bahia Principe Runaway Bay Don Pablo Collection; and Royalton Blue Waters. All can be accessed directly from Winnipeg.Popular properties in Mexico include: All Ritmo Cancun Resort & Waterpark; Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun; Luxury Bahia Principe Sian Ka’an Don Pablo Collection; NYX Hotel Cancun; and Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa. All can be accessed from Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver.ACV also offers seasonal, direct service to Ixtapa and Los Cabo, and year round direct flights to Puerto Vallarta from Vancouver. Two new exclusive properties have been added – Isla Natura Beach and La Isla Huatulco & Beach Club – to its Huatulco line. Both have a connection in Toronto.More news: Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from Ottawa“We are focused on providing our travel agent partners and clients in Western Canada with unique and accessible vacation options, and are thankful for the support we have received in Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver,” said Nino Montagnese, Managing Director, Sun Markets, Air Canada Vacations. “We will continue to develop our Sun program out of these gateways by adding more exclusive properties, new routes, and increased frequency and capacity.”From Jan. 30 to Feb. 5, ACV is offering clients 60% off Easter package bookings to Mexico and the Caribbean, plus up to 8,000 bonus Aeroplan Miles.Agents can now book and quote their own group and receive 2% bonus commission and 3X ACV&ME points. Visit vacations.aircanada.com. Tags: Air Canada Vacations, Brochures, Sun Destinations Travelweek Group Monday, January 30, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>
corevest Freddie Mac HOUSING mortgage Single-Family Rental 2017-12-10 Nicole Casperson December 10, 2017 600 Views in Headlines, News, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology CoreVest Announces Inaugural Deal with Freddie Mac CoreVest, the lender to residential real estate investors, announced that it has recently been approved under a pilot program with Freddie Mac to provide enhanced liquidity in the single-family rental (SFR) market. The pilot is expected to expand financing options for investors in SFR rentals for the workforce and affordable housing. Beth O’Brien, CEO at CoreVest said, “We are excited to partner with Freddie Mac in multiple ways to provide liquidity to a very important part of the US housing market. Providing investors with low-cost options to finance affordable housing increases the opportunity for families to find places to live in the communities they want to be in.”In the first transaction, Freddie Mac has guaranteed approximately 80 percent of the certificates issued by CoreVest in a recently announced $202 million structured transaction, CAFL 2017-2. These certificates will be issued through the FRESR 2017-SR01 offering as part of Freddie Mac’s previously announced program focusing on affordable housing in the SFR market. This is the inaugural structured transaction for Freddie Mac in the SFR space and the fifth SFR structured transaction for CoreVest.”The benefit of Freddie Mac’s involvement in the SFR structured finance market will ultimately inure to our borrowers, who will realize a lower cost of capital,” said Christopher Hoeffel, CFO of CoreVest. “We look forward to helping our clients to provide affordable long-term housing to a wide range of American households.”In addition, CoreVest received the Freddie Mac National Single Family Rental Seller/Servicer designation and will commence lending under the Freddie Mac SFR pilot in the first quarter. CoreVest is the first non-Freddie Mac Seller/Servicer approved as an SFR Seller under this program.Ryan McBride, CoreVest’s COO said, “We are committed to financing SFR investors across the market. We offer flexible loan products to address almost every SFR financing scenario. These products have helped us become the leading lender to residential real estate investors and close over $3 billion in loans.” Share
Cornerback Sojourn Shelton prepares for a play during rookie minicamp Friday, May 12. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Top Stories With a good summer, it’s not unreasonable to think Shelton — with his experience and ability to produce — could find his way into the conversation.“Just the rules in general, from college to the NFL, is the biggest thing,” he said of his learning curve. “So I think just trying to get those things down pat.“This last year in the Big Ten we faced teams that threw the ball a lot; when you look at Nebraska, Ohio State — teams like that that run the ball but throw it a lot — I think overall, just coverage-wise, I’m prepared.”That’s not to say Shelton sees himself as a finished product, as he understands there is plenty of room to improve. He is confident, however, because he said he knows he can play at this level.“Just got to continue to keep getting better, learn from vets when I do get a chance to be around vets like Pat P. and all the stuff like that,” he said. “But it’s a major chip on my shoulder, just the fact that the production’s there, but just going undrafted because of my size.“I’m going to keep working at it, and wherever it gets me, it gets me.”Follow Adam Green on Twitter The cornerback stood out in his first practice Friday, according to Cardinals coach Bruce Arians, who noted Shelton had a great career at Wisconsin and “knows how to play the position.”Even for his size, which Arians said is probably what kept him from being drafted.“We had him up there pretty high, and that’s why we went after him, really, right after the draft,” he said. “We really liked him. It really came down — we had Rudy (Ford) way up there and we traded up — or we’d probably have drafted him in the seventh round.”Some would contend it is better to go undrafted than be chosen in the seventh round, because at least that way you have some say in where you end up. Outside of being able to say you were picked, for a player’s career, free agency has its benefits.However, Arizona is a pretty good landing spot for Shelton, drafted or otherwise.After Patrick Peterson, the Cardinals have nothing but question marks at the cornerback position. Returning are veteran Justin Bethel and second-year pro Brandon Williams, and there is Ford, the team’s sixth-round pick who is transitioning from safety to cornerback, but the position is far from settled. Yet, he was not among the 253 players selected.Free to sign with whoever had interest, Shelton heard from the Arizona Cardinals, who offered him the most lucrative signing bonus of any of their 17 undrafted free agent pickups.“It kind of sucked,” Shelton said of going undrafted after his first rookie minicamp. “I mean, not getting picked up right away, but everybody has a dream and a goal of one day getting drafted, so that kind of was a bummer.“But at the same time, I was just happy a team thought highly of me and was able to bring me in so I can get an opportunity at my dream.”Shelton described himself as a feisty player, one who will take calculated risks on the field.“But just an aggressive corner, a scrappy corner,” he said. “I am smaller, so that’s my whole thing, just being like an annoying gnat outside, just can’t get away from them. That’s the kind of dude I pride myself on being.”Shelton is indeed on the smaller side for a cornerback, and he understands his 5-foot-9, 177-pound frame scared some teams away from him.“It’s sad — not sad, but you know, when I think of it, it kind of sucks,” he said. “I know I had the production; make any play — made a lot of plays in my college career, played in a lot of games — but the size thing is kind of what held me back.” Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo TEMPE, Ariz. — Following his first rookie minicamp practice, Sojourn Shelton was unsure if he was allowed to chat with the media without permission from the team.Being a rookie — and an undrafted one, at that — he did not want to ruffle any feathers or do anything he was not supposed to.He was given the go-ahead, of course, and in some ways, Shelton is not your normal undrafted rookie.A four-year starter for the Wisconsin Badgers who collected 129 total tackles, nine interceptions and 30 passes defensed while earning second-team All-Big Ten honors as a senior, he did all he could at the collegiate level to warrant being chosen in the 2017 NFL Draft. 0 Comments Share Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Categories: Iden News,News 20Jun State House approves Rep. Iden’s Michigan Tax Tribunal reforms The state House today approved Rep. Brandt Iden’s bill to benefit residential and commercial taxpayers by improving the Michigan Tax Tribunal.Iden’s legislation would make the state’s administrative court handling property tax appeals more efficient and reliable. The reforms would speed up the resolution of cases and require comprehensive training for new tribunal appointees.“These reforms will make our tax appeals process more equitable, responsive and consistent,” Iden, of Oshtemo, said after the House vote. “I believe that these revisions were needed to strengthen our system and ensure taxpayers have a fair and level playing field moving forward.”The Michigan Tax Tribunal’s seven members are appointed by the governor. Most of the appeals heard by the administrative court deal with property tax assessments, although it also has jurisdiction in other tax disputes.Iden’s bill would:Establish required training for new Tribunal members including state and local tax issues, proper courtroom procedures and accepted appraisal practices.Require the governor to consider candidates solicited from appropriate professional associations when appointing Tribunal members.Allow the governor to remove a Tribunal member for failure to perform duties or wrongdoing, and establish procedures to eliminate potential conflicts of interest.Provide deadlines for decisions and other procedures to speed up cases.Allow regional Tribunal offices to make access easier for taxpayers.Define the types of rules the Tribunal may establish.The legislation advances to the Senate.###The legislation is House Bill 4412.
Swiss service provider Sunrise has said it had signed up “several thousand” subscribers to its IPTV service as of the end of June, without giving precise numbers.“Although we believe that our TV offerings will play an important role in our business going forward, they do not yet play a significant role in the condensed consolidated financial statements for the six months ended June 30, 2012,” the company said in its results statement.Sunrise launched its IPTV service in the first quarter. As of the end of June, the company had 372,000 fixed internet subscribers. Fixed internet revenues increased by 1.3% to CHF88.6 million (€73.8 million) for the first six months of the year.
Kaltura has partnered with 24i Media, integrating the latter’s TV everywhere interface with its OTT TV platform.24i Media’s SmartTemplate TV user interface will now act as a new front end for Kaltura’s OTT TV platform.“The integration of the SmartTemplate TV app with Kaltura’s OTT TV backend platform means that companies can now launch a full multiscreen OTT service in a matter of weeks,” said Kaltura.
Please click here to see what’s going on — The Plot Against Trump’s America?I believe a very serious threat to the Trump administration is on the way, and some Americans are going to get caught in the middle of this mess. I fear that you could be one of them. Millions of people could stand to lose a lot of money… especially if you own stocks, bonds, annuities, or life insurance. Today, I need to share a message with every American I can. Because I’ve caught wind of a big move against Trump. One that’s going to cause massive problems in our financial system. One that could change your life in irreversible ways. Justin’s note: As regular readers know, Strategic Investor editor E.B. Tucker is one of the best big-picture thinkers in our business. Recently, he put two of the world’s most lucrative trends on your radar: legal sports betting and America’s “new energy metals.”But E.B.’s more than just a big trend guy…Like me, he believes that the key to true wealth is living a full life, rich with experiences. E.B. gets his edge by constantly traveling, talking to people, attending shareholder meetings, and doing boots-on-the-ground research.We want to give you some of that edge, so I got permission to share E.B.’s most recent “Notes From the Battlefield,” a popular section from his Strategic Investor newsletter.The following is one of the most interesting pieces you’ll read all year. E.B. spent a night at a former insane asylum while he was in Buffalo… a trip he made to hear from investing legend Jeffrey Gundlach. Read on to get his key takeaways… By E.B. Tucker, editor, Strategic InvestorWhen I’m on the road, I do my best to avoid chain hotels. They’re sterile and boring. That usually goes for the guests, too. With a few minutes of research, I can usually find a local boutique hotel for the same price or less than the national chains.Boutique does not always mean luxury. I’m not talking about laying around in a spa. What I’m looking for is a refurbished piece of history with a story behind it.There was a period in the late 19th and early 20th century where the U.S. had unmatched wealth. Some of the buildings built during this period are structurally irreplaceable. There’s no comparison to the aluminum wall studs and Chinese drywall used to build most buildings today.I found one of these historical gems on a quick trip to Buffalo, NY last month. I’ll explain later why I went to Buffalo… but first, the hotel. — As you can see in the picture below, this hotel would be impossible to rebuild today. This 180,000 square foot, 180 feet high section I’m standing in front of is less than half of the original complex.The hotel only opened two years ago after a more than $100 million renovation. Before that, it sat empty for 40 years. For 90 years before that, it was an insane asylum. E.B. in Front of Hotel Henry in Buffalo, NYIn 1870, New York State commissioned the Buffalo State Asylum for the Insane. It took eight years to build.Henry Richardson was the architect. Richardson also built Trinity Church in Boston, the New York State Capitol and the old Marshall Field’s Wholesale Store building in downtown Chicago. Richardson was a first-rate architect.He paired up with a leading psychiatric doctor and Frederick Olmsted who designed Central Park. Together they created a complex of buildings spanning nearly 500,000 square feet. The complex was so large that Richardson’s plans called for a miniature railroad connecting all of the basements. This is how the staff delivered food, laundry, and supplies between buildings.It’s anyone’s guess how many millions of pounds of Medina sandstone it took to build the entire structure. This unique, durable sandstone comes from nearby Medina, NY.From the slate roof to the ornate staircases and giant copper spires, the resources devoted to housing the insane back then are incredible. These days, insane people live downtown in parks or drift from place to place. E.B. Tucker Editor, Strategic InvestorJustin’s note: You can gain access to E.B.’s precious metals miners, and all of his boots on the ground research, with a subscription to Strategic Investor. You can sign up today here. I also recommend you check out our free special report on gold where we show you the top ways to buy and store physical gold.And if you enjoyed today’s piece by E.B., you’ll want to mark your calendars for February 27. That’s when E.B. will share the details on his latest venture. He’ll be revealing the top strategy he uses to make money in today’s volatile market. This is a truly unique opportunity to learn about a strategy you can use to generate gains 10x bigger than options.We’ll be sharing more details in the coming weeks. We’ll also share E.B.’s top insights so that you’ll be prepared for the big night. Stay tuned…Reader MailbagDo you think travel and a life of rich experiences affects trading? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Recommended Link REVEALED: A Task Force to Take Trump Down?Hillary and the “fake news” media hope you never see this urgent message… Because a whistleblower is now predicting the global elites’ evil plan to take Trump down… A plan that’s set to “go live” as early as 130 days from now. Recommended Link Richardson and his fellows designed the patient rooms with specific details in mind. They had 20-foot ceilings. As you can see in the exterior picture above, large windows filled the rooms with natural light. It also gave patients a clear view of the facility’s sprawling 200-acre grounds.The hallways were 18 feet wide to encourage patients to feel comfortable. Hallways as Long as 200 FeetToday, the hotel has 88 rooms. It also has several large banquet spaces in the upper levels of the building. The rates are reasonable at around $155 per night.The hotel staff has the walls peppered with beautiful art. That’s part of the reason I went to Buffalo. Hotel Henry Keeps the Asylum Walls Covered With Beautiful ArtWhy I Went to Buffalo, NYThe reason I went to Buffalo was to meet Jeff Gundlach. He’s the billionaire founder of DoubleLine Capital, a notable fixed income fund.Gundlach grew up in Buffalo. He recently donated $42 million to the city’s Albright-Knox art museum. Soon it will become the Albright-Knox-Gundlach museum. Gundlach visited the museum as a child.We arrived at the museum at the same time. The curator offered me a tour and Gundlach joined us. After about 10 minutes he took over the tour. He’s a pacing genius. He’s also an art savant.With a collection of untold value, Gundlach thinks about artists the way I think about stock charts. The artist has periods of popularity and periods of stall. A Rothko painted in the mid-’50s is entirely different from one that came 10 years later. Gundlach can tell you why… and he did.We zipped through the museum that will soon bear his name. Then we joined a group of around 100 people for a presentation and Q&A session. Jim Grant Interviews Jeff Gundlach in Buffalo, NYEach year in early January, Gundlach lays out his predictions for the coming year. That’s something we at Strategic Investor do in December.After listening to his talk and the questions, I pulled him aside. I told him if I arrived at his talk via time travel from another period, my conclusion would be gold was on the cusp of taking off. Almost every one of his predictions, if true, will be positive for gold and difficult for mainstream assets.Gundlach told me his recommendation on the Barron’s Roundtable due out that week was the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX). I told him I prefer gold royalty companies, but there was no reason to split hairs.Before we parted ways, I told Gundlach to keep in mind that not one of the questions he fielded from the crowd mentioned gold that day. It’s common for the asset most likely to thrive in a coming time to be of little interest to mainstream investors. He acknowledged the same.Two of the core holdings in my Strategic Investor portfolio are precious metals miners. They’re high quality and totally off the radar of most investors. If 2019 plays out the way we expect it to, they’ll likely finish the year much higher.Regards, Click here for all the shocking details
Comprehensive health care coverage for more than 800,000 low-income people in New York and Minnesota, who pay a fraction of the typical cost of a marketplace plan, may be in jeopardy after the federal government partially cut funding this year.The Basic Health Program, in which these consumers are enrolled, was created under the Affordable Care Act to provide another coverage option for people with incomes up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($24,280 for an individual in 2018) who would otherwise qualify for subsidized marketplace coverage. Only New York and Minnesota have set up such programs.The funding dispute is tied to a high-profile decision by President Trump to stop paying cost-sharing reduction subsidies, which reduce the deductibles and out-of-pocket costs for people in marketplace plans whose incomes are up to 250 percent of the federal poverty level (about $30,000 for one person). Money that would have paid for cost-sharing reduction subsidies also helps fund the Basic Health Program in New York and Minnesota.These plans must be as comprehensive and affordable as marketplace plans, but for many they’re significantly cheaper, with monthly premiums of either zero or $20 in New York and up to $80 in Minnesota, along with a very small or no deductible and nominal copayments.In November, for example, when May Brown lost her job as a produce repacker — breaking down 40-pound boxes of fruits and vegetables into 10-pound boxes for grocery stores — she also lost her job-based health coverage. On the advice of a friend, the 62-year-old signed up for MinnesotaCare this month. Her $50 monthly premium is about half what she was paying for coverage on the job.Brown, who lives in St. Paul, says she is pretty healthy. But having this coverage, she says, gives her peace of mind.”You never know. Life is unpredictable,” she says. “I like to have something.”Under the Basic Health Program, the federal government is responsible for paying states 95 percent of the amount it would have paid in premium subsidies and cost-sharing reduction payments on the marketplace for these enrollees.In December, the Department of Health and Human Services notified the two states it would withhold the cost-sharing reduction portion of the payments — nearly $300 million in the first quarter of 2018, about a quarter of the total amount expected.Over the course of a year, the amount withheld will exceed $1 billion.When it cut back on funding of the Basic Health Program, the administration cited its October 2017 decision to eliminate cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers.Last month, the attorneys general of the two states filed suit to restore the federal funding.Noting that New York’s Essential Plan covers more than 700,000 low-income New Yorkers, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a press release, “I won’t stand by as the federal government continues to renege on its most basic obligations in a transparent attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act.”In their lawsuit, Schneiderman and Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson argue that, among other things, the administration’s decision to cut off CSR payments is procedurally flawed and violates its obligations under the health law. They want the court to restore the states’ Basic Health Program funding.Regardless of the lawsuit’s outcome, officials in both states have offered assurances that the program is safe — for now.In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s budget included sufficient funds to leave the Basic Health Program intact for this year.Officials at the Minnesota Department of Human Services released a written statement, maintaining that “people enrolled in MinnesotaCare should feel confident in their coverage, based on current information.”Under the health law, any state can offer coverage under the Basic Health Program. One possible reason New York and Minnesota adopted the program is because they were already covering many in the target population through Medicaid and typically sharing the cost equally with the federal government. Under the Basic Health Program, the state’s funding responsibility drops to just 5 percent.So what happens next year? If federal funding isn’t restored, advocates are concerned that costs may rise and coverage shrink.”It could trigger major changes to the eligibility structure, the benefits or increases in premiums,” says Maureen O’Connell, president of Health Access MN, which helps people enroll in marketplace coverage.Elisabeth Benjamin says she is “really worried” for the program next year if the courts don’t order the federal government to start making payments.Benjamin, the vice president for health initiatives at the Community Service Society of New York, an advocacy group, says there is a snowball effect as states grapple with the delayed approval of Children’s Health Insurance Program funding for low-income kids amid continued uncertainty over federal funding for community health centers.”It’s terrifying how much the feds can do, particularly for states like New York that are so reliant on federal funding,” Benjamin says.Kaiser Health News is an editorially independent news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Michelle Andrews is on Twitter @mandrews110. Copyright 2018 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.
min read Next Article 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Add to Queue Time to Try the ‘Anti-Facebook’? Image credit: At the Pool Brian Patrick Eha This week’s need-to-know social-media news.A new social network called At the Pool, which has been called the “anti-Facebook,” might be worth keeping an eye on. At the Pool is closing a $1 million seed round led by Silicon Valley venture-capital firm Clearstone Venture Partners and has overhauled its platform with many new features.While Facebook helps users connect with people they already know, At the Pool wants people to connect with strangers who have shared interests. It’s similar to activity-dating site HowAboutWe, minus the romantic element. Sporting-goods companies could advertise in the Hikers pool, for instance. — TechCrunch –shares The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Marketing Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. December 1, 2012 Related: How to Get People to Listen to You on Social MediaPinterest leads Google+ for e-tailers.While Facebook and Twitter are still the top social networks among online retailers, social photo-sharing site Pinterest has officially jumped ahead of Google’s network, Google+. Seventy-eight percent of the top internet retailers use Pinterest, compared to Google+’s 73 percent, according to a report from AllTwitter. So, if your ecommerce startup has limited social media resources, you might consider investing your time with Pinterest before Google+. — AllTwitterFacebook mobile ads emphasize images.The big social network is testing a new kind of ad that appears in mobile users’ News Feeds to encourage them to “like” company pages. The new approach showcases bold photos, so if you want to buy a sponsored story for your own business, make sure you have an eye-catching image to go with it. — AllFacebookCEOs to triple their social media use.For top executives at companies all over the world, social media is becoming a greater priority. Sixteen percent of CEOs say they use social media to engage customers, but expect their use to jump to 57 percent over the next five years, a new report says. If your business isn’t active on social media, you might want to get started. — AllTwitterA hashtag is born.Social media obsession has climbed to a new level with news that a baby girl was born last weekend and her parents reportedly named the child Hashtag Jameson. Yes, as in a Twitter #. This comes after an Egyptian man was said to have named his child Facebook last year to honor the social network’s role in the Arab Spring uprisings. — The Daily DotRelated: 4 Ideas for Hosting Google+ Hangouts ‘On Air’ Apply Now »
Explore further Snapchat’s new Spectacles with built-in cameras will be water-resistant and more expensive than the first version © 2018 AFP Citation: Snapchat upgrades ‘Spectacles’ after first-generation flop (2018, April 26) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-snapchat-spectacles-first-generation-flop.html Snapchat on Thursday began selling a new version of its eyewear with built-in cameras after the first version failed to catch on with users of the youth-oriented social network. Spectacles at first did not succeed, but Snap will try, try again, report says The new product, Spectacles 2.0 “are now more comfortable to wear with a smaller profile, and they’re water resistant—so you can bring them to the beach, or your next pool party,” Snapchat parent Snap Inc. said in a statement.The sunglasses allow users to record photos, video and audio that can then be transferred to Snapchat for messages to friends.The new glasses will sell for $150, or $20 more than the first generation.Last year, Snap took a writeoff of some $40 million for unsold inventory of its Spectacles.Snap said it sold 150,000 Spectacles, but some reports said it had produced hundreds of thousands that were unsold.Snap, which reports its quarterly results next week, has been losing money since its stock market debut last year.Known for its disappearing messages popular with teens, Snapchat has expanded its mobile application to include video, news and other content from a variety of media partners.Snapchat’s share of digital advertising is small but growing. The research firm eMarketer says the social network is expected to generate $1.36 billion in worldwide ad revenue, up more than 92 percent over last year but accounting only for a market share of just 0.5 percent. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
Why R2-D2 could be your child’s teacher sooner than you think If you have seen science fiction television series such as Humans or Westworld, you might be imagining a near future where intelligent, humanoid robots play an important role in meeting the needs of people, including caring for children or older relatives. Provided by The Conversation Nao has gone through a number of different iterations and has been used for a variety of different applications worldwide, including to help children engaged in paediatric rehabilitation and in various educational and research institutes. The double-edged sword of technologyRobots are capable of enhancing productivity and improving quality and safety. But there is a potential for misuse or unintended consequences. Concerns have been expressed about the use of robots potentially reducing privacy, exposing people to data hacking, or even inflicting physical harm. We also lack evidence about the potential long-term implications of human-machine interactions. Our research explored the roles robots should and, even more critically, should not play in care delivery. We also investigated the role of government as a steward in shaping this framework through interviews with 35 policy, health care and academic experts from across Australia and New Zealand. We found that despite these technologies already being in use in aged care facilities, schools and hospitals, government agencies don’t typically think strategically about their use and often aren’t aware of the risks and potential unintended consequences.This means the sector is largely being driven by the interests of technology suppliers. Providers in some cases are purchasing these technologies to differentiate them in the market, but are also not always engaging in critical analysis. Our study participants identified that robots were “leveraged” as something new and attractive to keep young people interested in learning, or as “a conversation starter” with prospective families exploring aged care providers.But there are significant risks as the technologies become more developed. Drawing on research in other emerging technologies, our participants raised concerns about addiction and reliance on the robot. What would happen if the robot broke or became obsolete, and who would be responsible if a robot caused harm? A number of Australian residential aged care facilities are using Paro, a therapeutic robot that looks and sounds like a baby harp seal. Paro interacts by moving its head, heavily-lashed wide eyes and flippers, making sounds and responding to particular forms of touch on its furry coat. Paro has been used extensively in aged care in the United States, Europe and parts of Asia, typically among people living with dementia. Nao is an interactive companion robot developed in a humanoid form but standing just 58cm tall in height. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Robots can help draw in potential clients. Credit: PaO_STUDIO/Shutterstock The reality is that current technologies in this sector are not yet very humanoid, but nonetheless, a range of robots are being used in our care services including disability, aged care, education, and health.Our new research, published today by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, finds that governments need to carefully plan for the inevitable expansion of these technologies to safeguard vulnerable people. Care crisis and the rise of robotsAustralia, like a number of other advanced liberal democracies, is anticipating a future with an older population, with a more complex mix of chronic illness and disease. A number of care organisations already operate under tight fiscal constraints and report challenges recruiting enough qualified staff. In the future, fewer numbers in the working-age population and increased numbers of retirees will compound this problem. If we then add to this equation the fact consumer expectations are increasing, it starts to look like future care services are facing a somewhat perfect storm.Robots are increasingly becoming a feature of our care services, capable of fulfilling a number of roles from manual tasks through to social interaction. Their wider use has been heralded as an important tool in dealing with our impending care crisis. Countries such as Japan see robots playing a key role in filling their workforce gaps in care services. As artificial intelligence develops, robots will develop different levels of capabilities for “knowing” the human they are caring for. This raises concerns about potential hacking and security issues. On the flip side, it raises questions of inequity if different levels of care available at different price points. Participants were also concerned about the unintended consequences of robot relationships on human relationships. Families may feel that the robot proxy is sufficient companionship, for instance, and leave their aged relative socially isolated. What should governments do?Government has an important role to play by regulating the rapidly developing market.We suggest a responsive regulatory approach, which relies on the sector to self- and peer-regulate, and to escalate issues as they arise for subsequent regulation. Such engagement will require education, behaviour change, and a variety of regulatory measures that go beyond formal rules. Government has an important role in helping providers understand the different technologies available and their evidence base. Care providers often struggle to access good evidence about technologies and their effectiveness. As such, they’re largely being informed by the market, rather than high quality evidence. Many of the stakeholders we spoke to for our research also see a role for government in helping generate an evidence base that’s accessible to providers. This is particularly important where technologies may have been tested, but in a different national context. Many respondents called for establishment of industry standards to protect against data and privacy threats, and the loss of jobs.Finally, governments have a responsibility to ensure vulnerable people aren’t exploited or harmed by technologies. And they must also ensure robots don’t replace human care and lead to greater social isolation. Citation: Robots as carers? First we need to assess the pros and cons (2018, November 9) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-robots-carers-pros-cons.html Explore further Nao acts as a little friend. Credit: By Veselin Borishev This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. A number of Australian nursing homes use Paro, a therapeutic robot that looks and sounds like a baby harp seal, to interact with residents with dementia. Credit: Angela Ostafichuk/Shutterstock