Quality of Life vs. Standard of Living

Reply Wed 15 Sep, 2021 10:37 pm
1. The definition of Quality of Life and Standard of Living is not the same.

2. Which of the two is more important to you?
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Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 01:50 am
What the last Blockbuster has that Netflix doesn’t.

Did you know the last Blockbuster in America is in Bend, Oregon? In 2004, the company went
from over 9,000 locations worldwide to exactly one in America. But in this streaming age, is
there anything we can learn from Blockbuster? We traveled to Oregon to find out.

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Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 01:55 am
Why nature is good for your mental health.

Back in the day, doctors would send patients with anxiety and depression into the mountains
because the fresh air would do them good. Though they did not have the research to back it up,
they knew that nature was good for our mental health. Today, there is good evidence for these
claims and clinicians have developed different types of “nature therapy”, also known as
ecotherapy, which harness the healing power of nature. Henry David Thoreau once said “We
need the tonic of wildness...We can never have enough of nature.” And indeed, I have found that
to be true. The more time I spend out in the wilderness, the more I want. Perhaps after watching
this video, you'll feel the same way.

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Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 02:02 am
Support Physical Education in School The Benefits of PE in Education.

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Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 02:19 am
The Importance of Music Education.

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Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 02:37 am
When In-Person Conversation Is Better Than Texting.

“My position is not anti-technology, it’s pro-conversation,” asserts Sherry Turkle the director of
the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self in a short interview at the 2017 Aspen Ideas Festival.
Turkle believes that technology is an important part of modern life, but also that people need
time away from their phones to cultivate the best relationships with other people. She argues
that there should be spaces in everyone’s home and life where there are no phones at all.

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Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 03:34 am
Why I Hate Customer Service Chatbots.

Published May 9, 2018

My recent experiences with artificial intelligence-powered chatbots, especially those used for customer support, have left me feeling irritated rather than amazed — and I don't think I'm alone.

How do I hate chatbots? Let me count the ways:

Chatbots Want to Talk Your Ear Off
If I chat with a human being, I can express complex issues and speak in long, content-rich paragraphs. The person is able to decode and parse what I say, even when there is more than one thought involved. This makes my interaction more efficient.

Chatbots, on the other hand, aren’t able to consume a firehose of human language. They keep coming back and asking question after question. It’s like a chatty neighbor who keeps talking and talking when you have work to get back to. With chatbots, there is a lot of repeating and “did you mean this?” chatter. They have to be walked through a problem while a person can hear the whole problem and break it down themselves.

I ran into this with Microsoft support. I needed to ask what seemed like a simple question about my Microsoft 365 account. It was the type of question a human could (and did) answer in less than a minute. The Microsoft chatbot, however, couldn’t understand my question and kept responding with more and more irrelevant questions of its own in a vain attempt to understand what I wanted. I finally had to ask for a human.

Chatbots Take More Time Than a Human
Since chatbots are so inefficient in their “speech” they take a lot longer to find a solution outside the most common ones. That would be only mildly annoying if they offered a single interaction such as “What can I help you with?” followed by a “Is this what you are looking for?” answer and then a pivot to a human agent if it didn't resolve your issue.

Unfortunately, that’s not how they work. Instead, they continue to ask questions until you give up. Sometimes, they don’t give up even when you demand a human. I recently went to the Verizon Wireless customer service chat expecting a human. It was obvious I was speaking to a chatbot — it kept making really silly suggestions — and I demanded an agent. The chatbot persisted until I asked for an agent three times and then it sent me into the chat queue. The question was more complex than the chatbot could handle but it wouldn’t give up. The chatbot wasted my time before finally getting me to an agent that could help … two minutes later.

It’s Not About ServiceIt’s About Costs
Chatbots leave one with the impression that chatbots are not intended to front-end a human interaction or gather information to make that interaction more meaningful. Instead, it is pretty obvious that chatbots exist to keep you from speaking to a human. They are just like interactive voice responses (IVR), which also exist to save costs by keeping you from a human, only they require more effort. It’s much easier to say a simple command or press “1” on your telephone keypad (although, in all fairness, I do find myself yelling “Agent!” at the IVR voice recognition a lot. So I guess I hate IVRs as much as chatbots.)

What makes the cost shift obvious is the implementation of most customer service chatbots. They don’t ask for some basic information (account number or product model) which could then be used by a human agent. Instead, they try to solve the problem and keep doing that even when it's out of its league. This is just an IVR jail, only with more typing.

Chatbots Yield the Same Results Any Search Engine Would, But With More Effort
If a chatbot returned superior results — if it could actually solve my problem with less effort — then it might be worth it. But for anything more complicated than a quick database retrieval, chatbots return results that any good search engine would. All that the Verizon Wireless and Microsoft chatbots did was return links to content on their customer support site that was easier to access from the sites’ search engines.

One reason a chatbot takes more effort than either self service or a human agent is because, compared to us humans, it’s stupid. A person could make the decisions necessary to obtain targeted information from website content much faster than the chatbot can.

In the end, chatbots are like swimming with clothes on. You get to where you are going, but it takes a lot more time and effort.

It’s Easier to Use an App
If the real purpose of a chatbot is to make customer service interactions easier when on a smartphone, then how is it easier than an app? The answer is it isn’t. Yes, sometimes you may not want to download an app for the occasional company interaction. It is also true that the mobile browser experience tends to be second rate. Overall, building customer service into an app makes it easier to get service by pushing buttons rather than typing away on a tiny screen. And, a lot could be accomplished by improving the mobile browser experience. Instead, we have chatbots making believe they are people and not doing a convincing job of it.

No, Really, It’s About the Money
To be fair, AI-powered chatbots are new and not yet capable of truly emulating a human interaction. So, why are companies rolling out these truly inadequate chatbots? One theory says it’s a necessary step toward achieving real AI chatbots. Chatbots are powered by machine learning and need to be trained. That can only happen when you have real humans interacting with it. If this is true, then real customers are being used to teach the chatbot how to do its job. That's like telling customers they have to come in and train the customer service agent if you want them to help you. Even if it’s true, it’s bad service.

A more plausible theory is that how well chatbots perform is unimportant. Instead, chatbots are yet another attempt to shift costs from companies to customers. By forcing untrained chatbots on us, companies make us spend our time on a type of service that is both less efficient and less satisfying. Companies save money at the risk of our time and irritation.

I can see how a vendor might think this way. Customer service costs are easily quantifiable in terms of personnel, facilities and equipment. Customer time and annoyance are not as easily counted, and the effects are indirect and won’t show up on a balance sheet. Until revenue plummets that is. This was, and still is, the story of the IVR and that hasn’t gone away yet. Everyone hates IVRs, but they are ubiquitous.

Perhaps I’m just being curmudgeonly or dislike having human-like interactions with machines that lack human intelligence. Trying to fool us with machines masquerading as humans affects us at a visceral level.

Or, maybe chatbots are just not the right technology for customer service interactions. This could turn out to be just a bad experiment.

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Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 03:47 am
Quality of Life vs. Standard of Living

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Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 04:12 am
What does it mean to take time to smell the roses?

Stop and smell the roses is an idiom that means to relax; to take time out of one’s busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life. Whether you think of stopping to smell the roses as a metaphor, or an actual act of admiring roses, the benefit is the same.

Slow down and appreciate the world surrounding you is the message.

Origins of the phrase are not clear. Although the quote, “Stop and smell the roses,” is often attributed to golfer Walter Hagen in the 1956 book “The Walter Hagen Story” but he didn’t mention roses. The quote: “You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry. Don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.” Some people argue that this passage was soon paraphrased as stop and smell the roses, but this can’t be easily verified.

While this expression refers to roses, it can be anything rather small or even commonplace. These things may seem small but they can give us great joy. The difference in well-being, happiness, sense of elevation, and level of connectedness to other people, can be significantly higher for those who spend time noticing and savouring these moments of clarity and relaxation.

The expression “stop and smell the roses” is not just about flowers or nature, but an encouragement to be mindful, take time for your self and live life with deeper gratefulness for the world around us.

It is a reminder to us all to slow down and take notice of the world around us, and to be present in every moment.

It means consciously directing your mind to be aware and attentive to the present moment to be able to experience and enjoy more your surroundings.

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Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 04:33 am
Digital stress.

Stress from modern technology could be a new way people are feeling stressed out these days.

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Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 04:44 am
Study: 2 In 5 Americans Don't Use Vacation Time

An estimated 42 percent of Americans do not take any vacation days, with many citing various
reasons and justifications, Jason DeRusha reports (2:42). WCCO Mid-Morning - September 5, 2016

0 Replies
Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 09:50 pm
The 5 Biggest Corporate Lies About Unions | Robert Reich

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich debunks the biggest myths
about unions spread by corporations.

Published September 2, 2019

0 Replies
Real Music
Reply Thu 16 Sep, 2021 10:06 pm
What Happened to Organized Labor? | Robert Reich

Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich breaks down the massive shift in worker bargaining power
that has enabled corporations to concentrate their wealth and shaft working people at every turn.

Ask yourself how, during a global pandemic, in the worst economy since the Great Depression,
the total net worth of U.S. billionaires has climbed from $2.9 trillion to $3.5 trillion.

It’s no accident.

We must rebalance the power of workers and corporations to create an economy and a democracy
that works for all, not just a privileged few.

Published July 7, 2020

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