Data Capture Firm Uses AI to Dissect Georgia Runoff Spending – ReadWrite
With majority control of the Senate at stake, it’s no surprise that the recent Georgia runoff elections were the most expensive political race in American history. Wherever campaign dollars flow freely, as they did in Georgia, accountability questions proliferate. Where did that money come from, where did it go, and what influence (if any) did those spending choices have on results?
Election law requires that campaign expenditures be made public. Even so, it often takes weeks or even months for analysts to sift through a dense forest of information and build usable datasets. Important decisions have to wait; only after a dataset has been given the green light can anyone even begin to search for associated outcomes and trends.
Many have wondered whether there is a legitimate place for artificial intelligence in harvesting public data repositories. Can machine-generated data really be trusted? And even if it can be, can it replace human analysts?
When Data is Public but Nearly Useless
Each TV and radio station is required to carbon-copy invoices for political advertisements to the Federal Communications Commission, which makes them public record. This sounds great on paper, but the FCC mandate is to merely publish the invoice documents — and each election comes with tens of thousands of invoices.
The invoices are important because of the dates, callsigns, and amounts listed on them page by page. The data allows analysts to build spending maps and scrutinize campaign behaviors, but the data needs to be aggregated in a spreadsheet first. A spreadsheet analysis would ordinarily mean going through this massive amount of invoices by hand.
A Better Use of Data
Of course, it’s not just the FCC receiving invoices — all businesses receive invoices when they trade with each other. Any company of size faces the same problem as the data analysts who would like to use the FCC data.
One automation software company that solves the problem of translating business documents to data for enterprises decided to unleash its automatic data capture on the FCC invoices for the Georgia runoff elections. The vendor Rossum, in partnership with analysts from the e.ventures fund, just published the resulting data set.
AI-Powered Reporting Follows the Money
Ever since the 1976 film “All the President’s Men,” many of us have internalized the admonition to “follow the money.” The practice remains a tried-and-true method for discovering unseen relationships and shedding light on patterns of activity and motivations that we might otherwise miss.
Data capture technology cannot read the minds of campaign managers — something for which we can all be thankful. But the new breed of automation based on artificial intelligence might at least enhance our ability to better see the tracks they’ve left.
Accelerating Data Collection
In addition to eliminating the time-consuming tedium of keystrokes and accelerating data collection, policy analyst Jordan Shapiro found that Rossum’s processing of the Georgia spending data produced a greater degree of granularity. This granularity, in turn, enabled her to better grasp the thinking that lay behind decisions made by the various campaigns.
Following the Spend
“As a political analyst, Rossum’s data about 2020 Georgia runoff election spending gave me the opportunity to get inside the heads of the campaigns to see which areas they thought were more or less competitive based on how much each candidate spent in that region,” says Shapiro. “Particularly helpful for my work was the ability to compare county-level spending patterns with a shift in vote share between November and January.”
Data Suggests a Shift from Red to Blue
Southern states have historically been fertile territory for Republicans seeking election, but that appears to be changing.
An NPR report from January 2020 found more Black Americans are moving south, and as they relocate, they are contributing to a shake-up in election results. In 2000, Rockdale County (southeast of Atlanta), for example, was a predominantly white area with a Black population of approximately 18%. Today, that same area has a 55% Black occupancy.
Shapiro notes that Georgia’s changing demography, heavy campaign spending by Democrats, increased voter mobilization at the grassroots level, and a tumultuous national political stage all played a hand in what many saw as upset victories. Political turmoil and civic unrest on the national scene rocked Republicans and set the stage for Democratic wins. Both races were reasonably close, with Ossoff winning his race by about 55,000 votes and Warnock winning his with around 93,000 votes.
Regardless, Rossum’s analysis found something even more important than spending-outcome correlations: reasons to default to AI-driven analysis.
Why AI-Enhanced Reporting Will Be Big
The mandatory availability of campaign spending records affords skeptics and naysayers an opportunity to fact-check any reporting that emerges after an election. Reports that have been compiled using AI-powered scanning techniques can be fact-checked just as easily as traditional reports constructed by workers furiously pounding away on keyboards.
As AI-powered processes continue to improve, confidence in this newer methodology is certain to grow as well. As that happens, voters can expect to see more accurate, useful information in the run-up to Election Day.
AI-driven reporting benefits democracy in at least four ways:
1. Enhanced Transparency of Public Data
Much data is the subject of public record, but too often, it is not readily available for analysis and therefore carries only a fraction of its potential. The problem with campaign spending records is that key dates and amounts are scattered through scanned documents instead of being aggregated in a spreadsheet that can be readily analyzed for new insights. This problem is common for many registries, FoIA data releases, and internal government operations.
2. Rapid Data Analysis
The speed advantage of AI-enabled reporting systems over traditional methods of computation will make relevant data available much earlier than in past election cycles. Earlier delivery of results could, in turn, open up new options for campaign managers to consider as constituents respond favorably or negatively to various messages.
3. Added Depth and Surfacing of Less-Obvious Correlations
As noted above, Shapiro was able to take Rossum reporting on election data and cross-reference it with migration data. In doing so, she discovered a trend in specific Georgia counties shifting from presumed Republican strongholds to surprise Democratic wins.
4. More Informed Policymaking and Decisions
Tightening the link between election results and policymaking can serve as a check on any politician’s temptation to drift away from the will of the people they serve. A democratically elected official can only disregard his or her mandate for so long. Faster access to accurate information allows voters more time to assess a politician’s voting record.
What’s Coming in 2022
With another election cycle coming entirely too soon, keep an eye out for new applications of AI. Both parties will use the technology to unearth patterns, analyze results, and suggest new political strategies. Policymakers will check proposals against their constituents’ latest voting trends.
Will 2022’s political environment be any less fraught than the 2020s? Maybe not — but it will be more data-driven.
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The Benefits of Standing Desks for Office Workers
Standing desks have become increasingly popular in recent years, and for good reason.
In this article, I’ll discuss the benefits of standing desks for office workers.
The Dangers of Prolonged Sitting
Sitting for extended periods can be harmful to your health.
Prolonged sitting has been linked to various health problems, including obesity, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
It can also increase the risk of certain types of cancer, such as colon and endometrial cancer.
The Benefits of Standing Desks
Standing desks offer a range of benefits that can improve the health of office workers.
This is not to say that you have to stand the entire day — but forcing oneself to stand several times during the workday will significantly improve your health.
One of the most significant benefits of standing desks is that they can improve posture. Sitting for long periods can lead to slouching, which can cause neck and back pain.
By standing at a desk, you can maintain a more upright posture, which can reduce the risk of neck and back pain.
Tips for a Good Posture
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Ensure your feet are flat on the floor and your shoulders are relaxed.
- Keep your head straight, eyes looking forward, and chin parallel to the floor.
- Keep your arms loosely at your sides, with your elbows bent at 90 degrees.
- Take regular breaks to move around, stretch, and relax your back, neck, and shoulders.
Increased energy levels
Standing desks can also increase energy levels, helping you to stay alert and focused throughout the day.
It’s because standing desks can improve blood circulation, which helps to deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the brain.
Standing desks can also improve mood, helping to reduce stress and increase feelings of well-being.
Having a good mood in the office can have a significant impact on the productivity and overall morale of the workplace.
A good mood has been linked to improved performance, higher levels of engagement, and even better physical health for office workers.
Increased Focus and Productivity
Standing desks have also been shown to increase focus and productivity. When we sit for long periods, our bodies tend to become sluggish, and our minds start to wander.
It can lead to a decrease in focus and productivity.
In contrast, standing desks keep us alert and focused, as they require us to maintain an upright position for a while — and maintain a constant state of movement.
Here are some tips to maximize your productivity while at a standing desk:
- Listen to Music.
- Take Breaks.
- Use a Footrest.
- Keep it Clean.
Reduced Risk of Health Problems
Another benefit of standing desks is the reduced risk of health problems. Sitting for long periods has been linked to a range of health problems, including obesity, heart disease, and diabetes.
By using a standing desk, office workers can reduce their risk of these problems and maintain a healthy weight.
Additionally, standing desks have been shown to reduce the risk of certain types of cancer, including colon cancer and breast cancer.
Promotes Weight Loss
Weight loss is a benefit (from bestdesksgeek dot com) of standing desks that often goes unnoticed. Standing desks offer a great way to burn extra calories while working.
Studies suggest that standing at a desk can burn up to 50-110 extra calories per hour compared to sitting. This can add up over time and contribute to weight loss.
Finally, standing desks can also help improve the quality of sleep. Sitting for long periods has been linked to poor sleep quality, as it can cause discomfort and stress.
On the other hand, standing desks promote good posture and reduce stress, which can lead to better sleep quality.
Additionally, standing desks have been shown to reduce the risk of sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea.
Cost-Benefit Analysis of Implementing Standing Desks in the Workplace
While the benefits of standing desks are numerous, they do come with a cost.
Below is a cost-benefit analysis of standing desks:
Cost of Implementation
While the benefits of standing desks are numerous, they do come with a cost.
The cost of implementation can vary depending on the type of standing desk you choose and the number of employees you need to accommodate.
It’s important to consider the cost of the desks themselves, as well as the cost of any necessary modifications to the work environment, such as electrical and plumbing upgrades.
Return on Investment (ROI)
Despite the upfront cost of implementing standing desks in the workplace, the return on investment can be substantial. Improved employee health, increased productivity, and reduced absenteeism can all lead to improved bottom-line performance.
How Incorrect Posture Can Lead To Health Issues While Using a Standing Desk?
If you work at a standing desk, it’s important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with incorrect posture.
Poor posture can lead to several health issues, including musculoskeletal problems, headaches, and fatigue.
One of the most common problems associated with incorrect posture is a pain in the neck, shoulders, and back.
This is often caused by slouching or hunching over, which puts unnecessary strain on the spine. Poor posture can also lead to tension headaches and migraines.
Fatigue is another common problem caused by incorrect posture. When you stand for long periods, it’s important to maintain good posture to avoid fatiguing your muscles.
If you slouch or hunch over, you’ll likely start to feel tired more quickly.
Incorrect posture can also cause problems with circulation. When you stand, your blood flow should be directed downwards towards your feet.
However, if you slouch or hunch over, your blood flow can be restricted, leading to dizziness, lightheadedness, and even fainting.
Are standing desks more comfortable than traditional seated desks?
Yes, standing desks are more comfortable than traditional seated desks. Standing desks offer several comfort benefits, including reduced risk of pressure injuries and improved focus and motivation.
How often should I use my standing desk?
It’s also important to use your standing desk regularly to get the most benefit from it.
Is a mat necessary when using a standing desk?
No, a mat is not hundred percent necessary, but for standing for long periods — it provides a non-slip surface for added safety.
Standing desks offer a range of benefits for office workers, including improved posture, increased focus and productivity, reduced risk of health problems, increased energy levels, and better sleep quality.
With so many benefits, it is no wonder that standing desks are becoming a popular choice for office workers around the world.
In this article, I’ve discussed the benefits of standing desks for office workers.
What benefits have you seen from your standing desk? Let us know!
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What is a Divorce from Bed and Board?
If you are considering filing for a divorce from bed and board, it is important to understand what it entails. Commonly known as a “legal separation,” this type of dissolution of a marriage involves much more than just the two parties not living together anymore; instead, it may include property division and child custody rights, among other things.
In some cases, obtaining a bed and board divorce can even be difficult to obtain in certain states due to the laws related to separations. Regardless of your motive behind wanting or needing one, knowing all that goes into such an arrangement can help you make informed decisions regarding your future.
Overview of divorce from bed and board
A divorce from bed and board is a type of divorce that involves two parties legally separating but never actually getting divorced. It’s not uncommon for couples who want to pursue divorce proceedings to first consider this option, as it allows them to maintain the legal benefits of being married without having to endure the heartache and stress associated with an actual divorce.
What are the benefits of divorce from bed and board?
The main benefit of divorce from bed and board is that it allows couples to divide assets, establish custody rights, and make arrangements pertaining to support payments in a way that’s agreeable to both parties. This means they can move on with their lives while still enjoying many of the benefits of marriage, including being able to file jointly for taxes and having access to health insurance.
Are there downsides to divorce from bed and board?
Though divorce, from bed and board, may seem like the perfect solution for some couples, it is important to understand that it can be difficult or even impossible to obtain in certain states due to the legal definition of divorce. Additionally, some couples may find themselves stuck in a limbo-like situation if they remain legally married but live separately.
Couples should also be aware that divorce from bed and board does not dissolve a marriage — meaning the two parties are still technically married and can’t remarry without getting an actual divorce.
Filing for divorce from bed and board is a serious decision that should not be taken lightly. It’s important to consult a lawyer experienced in family law before deciding if this option is right for you. With the right guidance, you can decide what’s best for your situation and move forward with confidence.
What are the grounds for a divorce from bed and board?
In order to file for divorce from bed and board, you must have a valid reason, such as:
- Adultery – Adultery is one of the most valid grounds for divorce from bed and board. It is voluntary sexual intercourse between two married people, one of whom is not the other’s legal spouse. But in many states — the judges don’t care either way.
- Abandonment – Abandonment involves one spouse leaving the marital home without any intention to return or provide support for at least one year.
- Cruelty – Cruelty can be defined as any physical or mental abuse suffered by either spouse.
- Separation – Separation occurs when spouses have lived apart for at least a year due to disagreements or other factors.
- Habitual Intemperance – Habitual intemperance is the excessive use of drugs or alcohol by one spouse.
- Excessive Spending – This involves one spouse spending money in a way that is detrimental to the other spouse’s financial interests.
Understanding divorce from bed and board can help you make an informed decision when considering your legal options. Before making any decisions, it’s important to consult a lawyer to ensure this is the right choice for you. With the right guidance, you can move forward with confidence.
What are the consequences of a divorce from bed and board?
The consequences of divorce from bed and board depend on the agreement reached between the two parties. Additionally, they may have difficulty remarrying in the future without obtaining an actual divorce.
Overall, this type of divorce can be a viable option for couples who are looking to divorce but wish to maintain some of the benefits of marriage. It is important to understand all of the legal implications before making any decisions, so it’s always best to consult an experienced family law attorney. With the right guidance, you can make informed decisions that are in your best interests.
How can a divorce attorney help you with this?
A divorce attorney can provide invaluable assistance, especially in cases where you’re going through a divorce from bed and board (garrettandwalker dot com, same title). They will advise you on the best course of action and ensure that all legal requirements are met. They will also work with you to create a divorce agreement and represent your interests in court if needed.
With the right guidance, you can make informed decisions that are in your best interests. If this is the right option for you, a divorce lawyer can help you to understand all the legal aspects. With a divorce attorney by your side, you can move forward with confidence.
Divorce from bed and board is a viable option for couples who wish to divorce but remain married. It can provide some of the benefits of marriage without many disadvantages. Before making any decisions, it’s important to understand all of the legal implications and consult an experienced lawyer. With the right legal guidance, you can make informed decisions that are in your best interests.
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The Top 7 AI Podcasts You Need To Hear Now
With artificial intelligence now being used to write everything from college homework to Congressional speeches, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of the latest advances in machine learning, natural language processing, and all things AI.
We’ve brought together a list of seven of the top podcasts that track and explain the newest developments. They look behind the scenes at the technology behind the platforms, and they discuss how artificial intelligence is already upending business, marketing, data analysis, and more.
The TWIML AI Podcast
The TWIML AI Podcast used to be known as This Week in Machine Learning & Artificial Intelligence. The new name is shorter and snappier, but the content is just as deep and complex. Hosted by Sam Charrington, the podcast has produced more than 630 weekly episodes featuring interviews with a host of guests — usually technicians and scientists—working in the field of AI. The subjects of the discussions are often fairly complex. If you want to understand the human thinking behind artificial thinking, the show is essential listening.
The Bad AI Show
If interviews with Stanford professors aren’t your thing, try the Bad AI Show. Hosted by Joel Comm and Travis Wright of the Bad Crypto Podcast. The pair take a fun, laidback approach to new technology, explaining clearly — and wittily — the latest developments in artificial intelligence and its practical effects. Think of the TWIML AI podcast as a Stanford lecture and the Bad AI Show as the lounge next door. It’s a fun, relaxed chat with smart people about AI topics that get everyone thinking. The show is released as both an audio and video version.
The AI Podcast
One of the biggest challenges that a discussion of AI generates is how the new technology will be applied in the real world. Noah Kravitz’s The AI Podcast has already generated almost 200 answers. Each episode features an interview with experts using artificial intelligence to further their work. They’ve included a wildlife biologist tracking endangered rhinos, an astrophysicist analyzing starlight, and language learners grappling with Arabic pronunciation and even the delivery of sports highlights.
As you listen to those interviews with people applying AI to such a broad range of fields, it’s worth asking about the effectiveness of AI in solving those problems and whether they couldn’t be solved in an easier way. Claims for the benefits of artificial intelligence will grow, so make sure you’re also listening to Kyle Polich’s Data Skeptic. The podcast has already produced more than 470 episodes with interviews that take down the hype and take a realistic view of what AI can and can’t do.
The AI in Business Podcast
One area where both the hype and the expectation will be highest is in business applications of artificial intelligence. Each week, on the AI in Business Podcast, Daniel Faggella, the CEO of Emerj Artificial Intelligence Research, interviews AI executives from leading firms and startups to explore how business is adapting AI and exploring the opportunities the new technology offers.
The Marketing AI Show
Business is a broad topic. The Marketing AI Show tries to narrow things down with a focus specifically on the way marketers are using artificial intelligence to improve sales. The podcast is created by the Marketing AI Institute and the Marketing AI Conference (MAICON), and it’s essential listening for anyone wondering how the new technology can help their business identify leads and improve conversions.
Eye on AI
Finally, Eye on A.I. takes a broader, more journalistic approach to the developments of artificial intelligence. Out every two weeks and hosted by New York Times correspondent Craig S. Smith, each episode features an interview with a leader pushing AI into new ground. Episodes have discussed AI in supply chain optimization and finance but they’ve also delved behind the scenes to look at issues surrounding privacy and the future of AI itself.
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