“What makes these results even more impressive is the fact that,on top of our normal maintenance work, we dealt with the majorchallenges of a spring flood that closed 49 bridges and culvertsand 200 roads last year, and then dealt with Hurricane Juan inthe fall,” said Mr. Russell. The 2003 customer satisfaction survey, conducted by the MarketingResearch Centre, is based on telephone interviews with 2068residents of Nova Scotia, 16 years of age and older. A randomsample of this size provides a sampling error of plus or minus2.15 per cent with a 95 per cent confidence level. The Department of Transportation and Public Works highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in NovaScotia. It maintains an inventory of 4,100 bridges and operatesseven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from districtoffices in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney. number of four-lane highways; filling of cracks and potholes; resurfacing of highways; ice and snow removal; storm cleanup; highway design; number of passing lanes; length of passing lanes; all pavement markings; roadside brush and tree clearing; helpfulness of highway signs; maintenance of highway signs; number of non-commercial signs; width of highway shoulders; surface condition of highway shoulders; grading and dust control of gravel; ditches and culverts; and bridges. Nova Scotians gave their highway system improved marks last year,according to the results of the latest customer satisfactionsurvey. The 2003 survey for the Department of Transportation and PublicWorks found that Nova Scotians are generally happier with theirroads and bridges than they were in the past three years. Fifty-nine per cent of residents felt very or somewhat satisfied withthe provincial highway system. That’s nine percentage pointshigher than in 2002 and 2001. “The results reflect improvements we’re making to the highwaysystem across the province,” said Transportation and Public WorksMinister Ron Russell. “Nova Scotians are seeing the impact ofincreased capital funding every year since 2000, and more moneybeing spent on rural and secondary roads through our RoadImprovement Money program.” When respondents were asked what highway services are veryimportant, they answered ice and snow removal, filling cracks andpotholes, pavement marking and maintaining bridges. “The survey is a cost-effective way for us to measure the qualityof our service,” Mr. Russell said. “We learn what’s mostimportant to highway users, and work to improve on theseresults.” Respondents were asked to rate 18 different aspects of thehighways:
LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Canadian musical couple Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida are giving fans a behind the scenes look at their struggling marriage, therapy sessions and more in the first trailer for their new documentary “I’m Going To Break Your Heart”, premiering exclusively on ET Canada.After becoming staples on the Canadian music scene in the ’90s, the pair blended their two amazing voices together and fell in love. Login/Register With: Canadian musical couple Chantal Kreviazuk and Raine Maida are bringing their musical collaboration “Moon vs. Sun” to Showplace Performance Centre in Peterborough on October 23, 2018. (Publicity photo) Twitter
Anti-Trans Mountain pipeline activists hang from the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge in North Vancouver, B.C. on July 3, 2018. The group blocked an oil tanker from leaving the Burrard Inlet, in protest of the pipeline expansion project. (Submitted by Greenpeace)The Canadian PressGreenpeace Canada says a protest that saw a dozen protesters dangling from a Vancouver bridge to block a tanker carrying crude oil from the Trans Mountain pipeline ended Wednesday night.The environmental group says the climbers who spent more than 35 hours on the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge were “peacefully removed from their positions” and taken to the North Vancouver RCMP detachment.The RCMP had earlier said all would likely be charged with mischief and jeopardizing the safety of a vessel.North Vancouver RCMP Cpl. Richard De Jong said an aerial extraction team began removing and arresting the protesters in the afternoon in what he called a methodic and safe operation.The protest began Tuesday morning when activists rappelled off the side of the bridge to block the Serene Sea, a vessel loaded with crude oil that had left from Kinder Morgan Canada’s Westridge Marine Terminal.The protest was focused only on the Serene Sea but authorities responded by closing all tanker traffic in the area, said Jesse Firempong, a Greenpeace spokeswoman.Deep-sea vessels and vessels with a high air draft, including sail boats with a high mast, were unable to safely pass under the bridge due to the location of the protesters, banners and connecting lines, said Danielle Jang, a spokeswoman with the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority.Smaller traffic such as tugs, barges and small commercial vessels were still able to transit under the bridge, she said.Will George was among those arrested on Wednesday after occupying the bridge for more than 35 hours, said Kwekwecnewtxw – Protect The Inlet, a group formed to oppose the Trans Mountain expansion.“I will remain the fierce opposition. It is in my blood to protect the water. Our Indigenous rights are being completely ignored, the safety of our water is being ignored, and most of all, my son’s future is at stake,” said George, the group’s spokesman and leader.“I will do whatever it takes to protect the water and my family and your family.”Trans Mountain, a subsidiary of Kinder Morgan Canada, said it respects the right to peacefully demonstrate and there are many ways to express opinions in a safe and legal manner.“It is unfortunate that the actions of these individuals have caused disruptions to vessels and individuals that transit to and from the waters east of the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, including customers from our terminal and the other marine cargo terminals,” it said in a statement.Earlier Wednesday, Premier John Horgan said he was concerned that authorities had closed a rail bridge in response to the protest, resulting in the blockage of a different tanker loaded with refined fuel destined for Vancouver Island.“The protesters, as long as they’re abiding by the law, that’s their right in a free society. But when they start to impact on the business of other people when they start to infringe on the laws of the land, then there’s a concern,” he said.“At this point, as I understand it, it’s a question of the rail bridge is down and that’s the problem.”The Canadian government’s $4.5-billion deal to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project is expected to close later this summer.On Tuesday, the company released its construction schedule for the next six months, with work planned in the Lower Mainland and North Thompson areas of B.C., as well as between Edmonton and Jasper National Park in Alberta.Greenpeace said the protesters are from the Coast Salish community, B.C., Alberta, Quebec, Ontario, Washington state, Mexico and the United Kingdom.
Ranchi: Former India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been rested for the remaining two One-day Internationals (ODIs) of the five-match rubber against Australia. Speaking to reporters after the third ODI here, India’s assistant coach Sanjay Bangar said late on Friday: “We will have some changes in the last two games. Dhoni will not be playing in the last two games. He will be taking rest.” In the absence of the experienced stumper, Rishabh Pant, who is a part of the current Indian squad, has become an automatic choice for the two ODIs as no replacement was named for Dhoni. Meanwhile, pacer Mohammed Shami is also likely to miss the next two matches due to a leg injury. “We have to see whether he (Shami) will be fit for the game. If he’s not fit then Bhuvneshwar Kumar will play. Those decisions the captain and coach take before the game. As of now no replacements,” Bangar said. India, who suffered a 32-run defeat against Australia here, lead the series 2-1 and both the sides will next clash on March 10 and March 13 in Mohali and Delhi respectively.
Rabat – The Moroccan Ministry of Islamic Affairs wants to know the number of preachers who use social networks. The ministry issued a statement on Monday, calling on its regional delegates and the Higher Council of Ulemas (scholars, imams, and preachers) to count the imams who use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google Plus.In another statement shared by Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), the ministry explained why it wanted the information. The ministry noted that the mission of ulemas has been and “will remain to communicate with citizens.”According to the ministry, technology “is a major asset when it is used widely, in the respect of the regulations of the nation and in accordance with the provisions of the legal texts which govern the function of the ulema and imams and in accordance with the guide of the imam and the preacher.”The new statement added that the ministry will encourage anything published by the imams in harmony with the law to explain the precepts of Islam. However, the ministry will not tolerate any “publication incompatible with these rules and commitments will be notified by the religious institution without giving rise to any measure.”The ministry added that it will take measures “when the offense persists” and if the author is hypocritical, saying one thing inside the mosque and another thing outside the mosque. Article 25 of the Moroccan Constitution provides that “the freedoms of thought, of opinion and of expression under all their forms are guaranteed.” It remains to be seen if any imams will be censured for expression on social media.
SAN FRANCISCO — Eight executives of an Atlanta-based package company are among the 10 people who escaped a plane crash at a small Northern California airport Wednesday.The pilot of the twin-engine Cessna Citation jet aborted its takeoff, went off the runway and burst into flames at the Oroville Municipal Airport.Sue Appleyard, a spokeswoman for Graphics Packaging International, confirms that its executives survived the crash. One was CEO Michael Doss.The company makes packaging for food, drinks and other consumer goods.Appleyard says the executives were touring company plants on the West Coast. They had been on their way from the company’s plant in Oroville to go to a plant in Portland, Oregon.Appleyard says the employees were unharmed but lost their belongings, including phones, laptops and identification.Associated Press, The Associated Press
The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) has issued an order to prevent violations of protective measures for witnesses after a Belgrade newspaper disclosed the identity of a confidential informant last month. The ICTY Trial Chamber dealing with the case against former Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic issued the order yesterday after the newspaper “Nacional” published an article on 25 May disclosing the identity of the protected witness, known as “K5.” According to the head of the Tribunal’s public information service, Christian Chartier, it was clear from the publication that the authors of the article were “perfectly aware” that K5 was a protected witness. The court’s order also requests the authorities of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the Prosecutor to provide the Trial Chamber with any information regarding those responsible for the disclosure. In other news, the hearing on the contempt proceedings against the witness in the Milosevic case known as “K12” will take place on Monday. The hearing is being held to clarify the position on contempt and to hear any submissions. The Tribunal also announced that there would be no hearing in the Milosevic case today or tomorrow as the former President’s health situation was under daily review.
“The tragic events of December 2004 emphasized that in the event of natural disasters, a nation’s ability to communicate information in a timely manner is critical to the success of all Early Warning Systems,” World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Michel Jarraud told telecommunications experts and representatives from Indian Ocean nations meeting in Geneva this week. “Once upgrades are in place, all Indian Ocean nations will have access to tsunami information and warnings which they can issue in a rapid, efficient manner fulfilling their responsibilities to their respective populations,” he added of the UN project to establish a tsunami early warning system. Experts believe tens of thousands of people could have been saved last December had they been alerted in time. Several hours passed between the quake that spawned the tsunami and the landfall of the waves that killed more than 200,000 people, wasting precious time in which scores of thousands could have fled to higher ground. The three-day meeting is discussing final plans to upgrade WMO’s Global Telecommunication System (GTS). The improvements are crucial for the early warning system, enabling national meteorological services in 13 countries, and their governments, to exchange observations, bulletins and warnings in a timely and efficient fashion.WMO has identified 13 Indian Ocean countries needing assistance for the upgrade: Bangladesh, Comoros, Djibouti, Kenya, Madagascar, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Seychelles, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Yemen.All these nations need vital equipment and appropriate links to GTS telecommunications hubs allowing them to receive crucial data and issue timely warnings to their authorities. The remaining Indian Ocean countries already possess up-to-date GTS capabilities. Some experts at the meeting represent potential donor countries. It is estimated that $1 million would guarantee rapid implementation of the upgrade.The UN-backed Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System is expected to be fully operational by next July. It involves quake and tidal sensors, speedy communications, alarm networks from radio to cell phones, and disaster preparedness training in vulnerable regions.
VANCOUVER – Telus Corp. (TSX:T) is increasing its quarterly dividend and raising some of its 2017 financial targets.The Vancouver-based telecom company says its quarterly dividend will increase to 49.25 cents per common share with the second-quarter payout in July. That’s up 2.6 per cent from 48 cents in this year’s first quarter payout and up 7.1 per cent from last year’s second quarter payout of 46 cents per share.The increased dividend is line with the Telus policy of raising dividend by seven to 10 per cent annually, subject to conditions.Telus is also raising the top end of its estimated earnings range for the year by two cents to $2.66 per share, while the low end of the range remains $2.49 per share.It’s also adjusting its 2017 estimates for adjusted earnings, revenue and capital spending to reflect the completion of its purchase of some of the Manitoba Telecom Services business in a previously announced deal.The updates were included with the company’s financial report, which showed second-quarter revenue was up 2.9 per cent at $3.2 billion and its net income for common shares was up 14.6 per cent at $433 million. The profit amounted to 73 cents per Telus common share. Telus boosts dividend, raises 2017 targets by The Canadian Press Posted May 11, 2017 9:37 am MDT Last Updated May 11, 2017 at 10:40 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
It was an historic weekend in Edmonton, Alberta for Brock’s men’s and women’s wrestling teams. For the first time in CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) wrestling history there was a repeat champion in both divisions – the Brock Badgers.For more on this monumental accomplishment click here.
“I feel so blessed to have reached this milestone and I can’t think of a more meaningful way to mark the occasion.” The record comes eight years after Dame Vera became the oldest living artist to land a UK number one album and also marks the wartime singer’s 93 years in the industry as she made her stage debut at the age of seven. The album also features a previously unreleased version of Sailing – a surprise find as it was not widely known she had recorded the track. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Birthday message in honour of Dame Vera LynnCredit: The Forces Sweetheart projected onto the iconic White Cliffs of DoverCredit: Dame Vera said: “It is an unprecedented honour to have my birthday marked in such a beautiful way and I am truly thrilled by this wonderful gesture.”As we look to the white cliffs on Monday, I will be thinking of all our brave boys – the cliffs were the last thing they saw before heading off to war and, for those fortunate enough to return, the first thing they saw upon returning home. There won’t be bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover on the day the singer of the famous 1942 version of the tune turns 100, but the landmark will receive a makeover of a different kind.To celebrate the 100th birthday of Dame Vera Lynn, her image will be projected on to the cliffs on Monday March 20, the day she officially becomes a centenarian. The music release will feature new re-orchestrated versions of her most beloved music alongside her original vocals and it is thought the record will make her the first singer to have released a new album as a centenarian. The 350ft image of Dame Vera, who is affectionately known as The Forces’ Sweetheart, will also be in celebration of the release of her new album, Vera Lynn 100.
GARDAÍ IN CORK are investigating the discovery of the body of newborn baby in a house in the south of Cork City.The baby girl was found after her mother presented herself to a gardaí station in the city and told them that she had recently given birth.A subsequent search by gardaí of the address she had given them led to the discovery.The Irish Examiner reports that the baby’s body was found in a bin in the rear of the house.The body of the infant has been removed to Cork University Hospital where a post-mortem is due to be carried out today.Read: Body of 13-year-old boy recovered from water in Drogheda >
Australian Ambassador to Greece Mrs Jenny Bloomfield joined the Chief of Navy of Australia, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, at Anzac Day commemorations last Thursday in Lemnos. The Australian Embassy in Athens marked Anzac Day by laying wreaths at the Australian Memorial Moudros Harbour and the Moudros and Portianou Commonwealth Cemeteries in Lemnos. Mrs Bloomfield said in her speech that the Anzac spirit was intertwined with Greece with a long lasting legacy of fighting together. “From Lemnos in 1915, to the battlefields of Crete and mainland Greece in 1941, and around the world, Australians and Greeks have fought together to defend our shared ideal,” she said. “Thousands of young Australians and New Zealanders left from Moudros Harbour on the island of Lemnos to land on the shores of Gallipoli. They had come from the other side of the world to take part in a campaign hoping to put an end to a dreadful war.” Dignitaries at the service were the President of the Hellenic Parliament, Mr Evangelos Meimarakis, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Konstantinos Tsiaras, Deputy Chief of the Hellenic Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Alexandros Theodosiou, representatives of the Greek government and members of parliament, foreign ambassadors, veterans’ associations, the president and members of the board of the Hellenic-Australian Business Council, along with members and friends of the Greek Australian community. Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram
Globalization. Technology. Globalization. Technology.It’s a mantra you hear in certain media, business and economic policy circles to explain why income inequality has ballooned in the United States.The assertion behind it is that new technologies and the worldwide abundance of highly-skilled workers are the drivers of the widening gap between the richest 1 percent and everyone else.It’s a tidy notion with a sense of inevitability, too. You almost want to resign to it, maybe even blame yourself for failing to get with the techno-globalization program.Only, it doesn’t explain what’s actually happening.Shredding the mantra is a new research paper, “The Top 1 Percent in International and Historical Perspective,” released in May and authored by four economists: Facundo Alvaredo, Anthony B. Atkinson, Thomas Piketty and Emmanuel Saez.If it’s true that global markets and technological advances are the main causes of the broadening wealth gap in the U.S., then most other similarly advanced, industrialized nations should be experiencing the same trend.
A rainy Saturday. More than 1 inch of rain fell between midnight and 5 p.m. My rain total as of 5 p.m. Saturday here in Salmon Creek was 1.15 inches, with over 4 inches for the month.All this thanks to the atmospheric river called the Pineapple Express. The rain should let up today, at least in the lower elevations, but more will fall before Christmas, and the snow level will slowly drop to way below the mountain passes by Christmas Eve — factor that in if you’re traveling.The Christmas forecast? As of Saturday, I would say a high in the low 40s and a low of freezing or below, with probably no rain. The foothills to our east may be dusted white.The 50-year anniversary of the great Christmas Day flooding is upon us. I was a high school student at Benson High School in Portland and we had bitter cold arctic air over us when I left school at 3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 18 for the holiday. I walked to Lloyd Center to catch my bus, with the east wind blowing at least 35 or 40 mph and the snow coming horizontal. I could hardly see. I will always remember the icy sting of that storm. It snowed over a foot at my North Portland home. It looked like a sure bet for a white Christmas.It wasn’t to be. A warm Pineapple Express arrived and it rained inches — and inches more in the mountains. When I woke up Christmas day there was no trace of snow left. I walked down to the Willamette River and it had flooded everything along its banks in Portland. I never saw snow disappear faster. Even the deep piles in parking lots melted.Patrick Timm is a local weather specialist. His column appears Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Reach him at http://patricktimm.com.
A Pre-Father’s Day celebration will be held on June 6 at the Ivy Family Center, located at 3515 Dolfield Ave., Baltimore, Md. All are invited to a night of Hand dancing, stepping, ballroom and line dancing. Advanced tickets are $30. Call Shirley Duncan at 410-523-0575 or 410-370-8489 for more information.
Delhi Crafts Council Delhi Crafts Council has been involved in reviving the dying art form of Sanjhi for more than three decades. In its exhibition at India Art Fair, it will take this initiative further by bringing Sanjhi into the same space as contemporary Indian art. Sanjhi, the art of hand cutting stencils from paper, is believed to have originated about 400 years ago, but over time, this religious art declined. In 1990, DCC organised an exhibition called ‘Kagaz’, showcasing Sanjhi in a new dimension. Soon many designers brought in new designs and different applications, bringing about a major transformation of the craft. Delhi Crafts Council has been consistently making an effort to revive the vanishing art form of Sanjhi. Exhibiting this wonderful craft at India Art Fair is yet another initiative by DCC to support the Sanjhi artisans and opening up this craft to a new audience. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfSeema KohliSeema Kohli has created her own niche in the world of contemporary art. Her creative repertoire is eclectic, encompassing a wide range of mediums ranging from painting, murals, to installations, sculptures. She will be showcasing her collection titled ‘Trees of Life’, that consist of ‘acrylics and inks on canvas with 24ct gold and silver leaf’. ‘Tree of Life’ is inspired by verse 1, Chapter 15, Bhagwatgita in which Krishna explains to Arjuna that life is like a Banyan tree. We create the continuation of our existence by our own actions. These actions are like the roots of the banyan tree, which keep expanding over centuries. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAvijit Dutta Avijit Dutta’s metaphorical, minimal and almost meditative watercolours that poignantly combine the abstract memories of our glorious past with a contemporary iconography, will surely please you at IAF. Titled ‘Ensoul’, the solo show of around ten large works is being presented by Gallerie Ganesha at Booth No. F-3, IAF. Dutta is an award-winning watercolourist whose technique is reminiscent of early renaissance frescos. Rendered with utmost gentleness and finesse, these works exemplify the artist’s experience of reliving moments, embracing them and celebrating them as a part of a bigger process, as a fragment of the continuously evolving existence.
The legendary British actor Bob Hoskins passed away in 2014 but left behind an impressive body of work. He was also known for his straight-talking, leading to some entertaining and honest anecdotes from behind the scenes. One of these concerned a movie he ultimately never appeared in – The Untouchables, directed by Brian De Palma in 1987. The period picture was based on the memoir of famed detective Eliot Ness, co-written with Oscar Fraley. David Mamet had written the script.Bob Hoskins on the set of Ruby Blue. Photo by James Laurence Stewart CC BY 2.0A pre-superstardom Kevin Costner played Ness. But who was in the frame to play his real-life enemy and gangland boss Al Capone?De Palma had cast Costner and others, including Sean Connery. Yet while the names he’d hired were more than capable, the director felt there wasn’t enough pizazz in the mix.American film director Brian De Palma at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival. Photo by gdcgraphics CC BY SA 2.0Speaking to Entertainment Weekly in 2006, he confided “No one had heard of Kevin Costner yet. And Sean Connery — he hadn’t had a hit since 007. Now the cast looks great, but at the time, it wasn’t quite as hot.”So it made sense to try and catch a big fish to play Capone. De Palma thought Robert De Niro would be a perfect choice. There was just one slight hurdle — convincing him to do it.Al Capone“I told the head of the studio, ‘We have a cast for an episode of Masterpiece Theatre. We need a big star as Capone.’ So we went to De Niro. I spent weeks trying to convince him because he would have to put on weight and he had a couple of other pictures he was doing.”De Niro was famous for his intense preparation. He actually drove a cab for Taxi Driver (1976), and to portray boxer Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980) he consumed large quantities of pasta to bulk up for the role.Robert De Niro performs a scene in Taxi Driver directed by Martin Scorsese in 1976 in New York, New York. Photo by Michael Ochs Archive/Getty ImagesAs for Al Capone, he thought his face was the wrong shape and wanted to change his diet to mold his physical appearance. Yet it wasn’t a done deal and anyway De Palma had reportedly thought of another actor first… Bob Hoskins. Not that it appeared that way to Hoskins himself.Related Video: Hilarious 192s gangster slang:Talking on Absolute Radio in 2009, Hoskins said, “Brian De Palma sent me a script for The Untouchables and said ‘look at Al Capone.’ I went to meet him at his hotel and he said ‘really I want Robert De Niro to play him’ and I thought ‘well great what am I doing here?’. He then said ‘but if he doesn’t do it, would you sort of step in?’ and I said ‘yeah, of course, I will.’”Mug shot of Al Capone at the now closed AlcatrazIt would have been a great job for Hoskins but the actor knew De Niro would probably take the role. When he found out the Italian American star was signed up he carried on with his successful career. In his words, “I’d sort of forgotten all about it.”However there was a surprise waiting for him on the doormat when the postman arrived months later. “Linda – my Mrs – was opening the post one morning and said ‘what’s that?’ and it was a check for £200,000.”The payment was from De Palma, to say thanks for his interest. And Hoskins’ response was priceless.Bob Hoskins in 1991. Photo by Getty Images“I phoned him up and I said ‘Brian, if you’ve ever got any films you don’t want me in son, you just give me a call!’”With powerful performances as gangland bosses in the likes of 1979’s The Long Good Friday, a Hoskins take on Capone would have been worth the ticket price alone. He never got the chance to play Capone but did notably portray real life figures J. Edgar Hoover in Oliver Stone’s Nixon (1995) and Nikita Khrushchev in 2001’s Enemy at the Gates.Read another story from us: Legendary Gangster Al Capone was one of the First Recipients of Penicillin in HistoryIt’s not like Hoskins’ ego was bruised by the affair. He never appeared to have any vanity about his work. Instead, he demonstrated his sense of humor and indeed class over the whole situation.
Artificial intelligence: Since the term was first coined in 1955 by the late Stanford computer scientist John McCarthy, AI has steadily moved out of the realm of science fiction and now has significant impact on our everyday lives.Related: Is Artificial Intelligence Replacing Your Intelligence?Voice assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant utilize voice recognition to transform the way we search for information and interact with our devices. Innovations such as self-driving cars and wearable tech are positioned to transform transportation and healthcare in the foreseeable future. And that’s just the beginning.The Harvard Business Review has predicted that AI will affect the economy and our lives on a magnitude similar to that of the steam engine, electricity and the industrial combustion engine. While this seismic shift may still be some years away, entrepreneurs and businesses are already finding creative ways to utilize AI.DriftImagine that your business had a salesperson available 24/7, 365 days a year, to actively engage with visitors to your website. Now imagine the potential boon to your conversion rate if this salesperson could answer questions about your company, qualify visitors as leads and even book sales calls — all in real time. This is the power of automated conversational marketing, and Drift puts it within reach.Related: Add SEO to the List of Everything Being Transformed by Artificial IntelligenceDrift builds intelligent chatbots, powered by AI technology, which communicate directly with your potential customers, using instant messaging. Drift’s chatbots can both answer and ask questions of visitors to your site, in many cases eliminating the need for tedious qualifying forms and dramatically decreasing the duration of your sales cycle.Traditionally, visitors to B2B sites have been expected to fill out forms that “qualify” them as valuable leads. The problem? People don’t like to fill out forms. Evidence suggests that businesses don’t like responding to them either.In a survey of 433 B2B SaaS businesses, Drift found that after customers filled out a qualifying form, virtually all companies involved took days to respond, and most didn’t follow up at all.Take a minute to quantify the resources expended by your marketing team in driving traffic to your website. Next, consider how much of that effort is squandered if your visitors fail to convert. Employing Drift’s conversational marketing AI technology can almost instantly provide you with an additional sales channel, all without your having to hire a single additional employee.Adobe SenseiBusinesses today are creating more content than ever before. In one survey, Adobe found that 47 percent of marketers polled cited “producing content at scale as one of their biggest challenges.”Adobe’s Creative Suite and Creative Cloud — which includes applications such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign — has long been the creative professional’s go-to platform. Adobe is now incorporating the power of AI, machine learning and deep learning into these products and others under the banner of Adobe Sensei. Adobe Sensei eliminates much of the tedious, time-consuming work of image manipulation and image creation, freeing up your designers to work on projects that require real, human creativity.Content-driven businesses often have vast repositories of proprietary images, and they expend significant resources creating new ones all the time. These massive image libraries quickly become unwieldy, meaning that images seldom get reused because they are just too hard to find. Adobe Sensei tackles this problem by utilizing AI to recognize very particular elements in a photograph and “auto-tag” them.This significantly enhances a user’s ability to search an extensive database of photos and find one with the attributes needed. Reusing existing images means realizing a higher ROI from the resources spent on their creation.One of Adobe Sensei’s most exciting features lies in its ability to deliver truly personalized content. It’s part of an initiative called Adobe Experience Cloud, which leverages data on individual customers from across all your platforms, online and off, to deliver a truly unique brand experience to each of your clients. More and more, what defines a successful relationship with your customer is the overall experience. Adobe Experience Cloud utilizes AI and machine-learning to help you deliver the best experience possible.GrammarlyNot only are businesses creating more visual content than ever before, but they’re also producing more written content. In the not so distant past, the quality of written content was usually of little concern, as its primary function was to drive search engine traffic through keyword stuffing.Thanks in large part, however, to advances in AI and machine learning, Google has become much better at sniffing out keyword stuffing and other black-hat SEO techniques, punishing websites that employ them. Google has also become better at recognizing quality content and rewarding it with higher SERP rankings.All of this means an ever-increasing emphasis on high-quality, long-form online content. I spoke with Karl Kangur, entrepreneur of several successfully-acquired online content businesses, an SEO expert and managing director of marketing agency MRR Media. According to Kangur, “There are no longer any shortcuts for driving organic traffic. Creating quality, informative content that resonates with your audience is the only way to develop an effective digital marketing strategy.”Grammarly is one way to make creating quality content less of a burden, and content marketers and writers have been quick to adopt it: Think of it as a post-graduate-level spell-check. Grammarly uses the power of AI to evaluate your writing for grammar, punctuation, and wordiness; it even identifies instances where a sentence is in the passive voice and asks that you rewrite it to make it active.These details, it turns out, are important. A study from the BBC showed that a single spelling mistake could cut online sales by half. Think of your written content as the equivalent of making a good first impression. Consider what effect poor spelling and grammar have on your brand’s credibility.Grammarly already does much more than help writers mind their P’s and Q’s and is consistently rolling out new AI-based features to improve content further. Proper grammar is also big business. According to Medium, Grammarly had nearly seven million active daily users in 2017 and annually doubles its users and revenue.Final thoughtsWhile AI has yet to have as transformative an effect on our lives as electricity and the internal combustion engine, experts agree that it’s only a matter of time. Like any major technological advancement, AI is bound to be disruptive — especially in the short term. While this is cause for concern for some (notably, Elon Musk) a more optimistic viewpoint sees AI as eliminating repetitive work and drudgery in many professions, allowing humans to focus on doing what machines cannot.Related: 5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Is Already Influencing Your Daily Life and You Don’t Even Know ItThese are still the early days of the AI revolution, but creative businesspeople are already finding ways to put the power of AI to work for them. What are you doing? 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Related posts:4 things you need to know before investing in a local startup New ways to find the talent you need The different flavors of starting a business Social Entrepreneurship: how you can do good and make money at the same time Fail early and often: Don’t assume that if you build it, they will come. Test it as early as you can and make a habit of correcting continuously, especially in the early stages.Read more “Doing Business columns” here. Randall Trejos works as a business developer, helping startups and medium-sized companies grow. He’s the co-director of the Founder Institute in Costa Rica and a strategy consultant at Grupo Impulso. You can follow his blog La Catapulta or contact him through LinkedIn. Stay tuned for the next edition of “Doing Business,” published twice-monthly. Facebook Comments How many apps do you use regularly? As smart phones become accessible to everyone, app usage increases exponentially. Just consider the following:Mobile apps account for 52% of all time spent on digital media.The average time spent using apps rose by 21% from 2014 to 2015.The estimated worldwide revenue produced by mobile apps increased from $35 billion last year to $45 billion in 2015, and is projected to reach $77 billion by 2017. (For more cool statistics, check this infographic).No wonder so many people in the startup world are going app-crazy. Currently, 40% of the entrepreneurs enrolled in the chapter of the Founder Institute that we run here in San José are planning to start a business around a mobile app. From the stats we saw above and the success cases we hear about, what’s not to like about apps? They’re a few months of development away, there’s good technical talent in the country, and you can scale them (theoretically) outside of Costa Rica.So where’s the catch? Why do so many fail to gain traction and become runaway successes like, say, Evernote?It all comes back to the question at the beginning. How many apps do you really use on a regular basis? It turns out real estate on your little screen is more expensive than most hopeful entrepreneurs care to consider. Adding another app is not the problem (most of them are free anyway), but using another one is not something we do easily. This has nothing to do with technology, or even the “problem” that apps aim to solve.Habits and decisionsThe first reason has to do with habits, decision-making and how we solve problems. In entrepreneurs’ quest to be the next big thing, we take the mental shortcut that leads us to believe that because there’s a problem, people will use the app we build to solve it. Sounds rational, right? But when it comes to our decision-making and our habits, we are rarely rational. If you don’t trust me, take a look at how you make your own choices regarding saving and spending, exercising or eating healthy. It’s not that you don’t know or understand the rationale behind doing these things: it’s just that we are full of biases, mental shortcuts, assumptions and routines that keep us from making perfectly rational decisions.Behavior hackingTechnology is not the barrier anymore. Finding a good developer, especially in Costa Rica, is not particularly difficult (assuming you can pay him or her, but that’s another matter). The next frontier is behavior hacking: understanding what makes people tick and using those insights to design products – in this case, apps – that not only cause people to download the thing, but also to engage people on a regular basis. The ultimate question is, how can you gain access to people’s daily routine and carve out a place for your product there? Facebook is not what it is today because we downloaded the app. It is what it is because we open it every damn day (sometimes more than we care to admit). Costa Rica has one of the highest active users per capita of Waze in the world, because we use it every day to deal with the fact that the streets have no name and traffic is a nightmare.Demographics and importsBut not all is behavior and habits. There are also demographics, and this is something we often overlook, especially when “importing” ideas or business models from abroad. The process goes a little something like this:We see a brilliant app or website that seems to be a hit in another country, usually the United States.We notice that there’s nothing like that here in our country.We decide we are going to do “something similar” for the local market, which usually means making a few adaptations or to use the prevalent lingo: “tropicalize” it.The problem with this logic is that it might overlook the demographic conditions in which the solution was conceived.The “how many”Let’s say you have an app that connects people who are too busy to run errands, or just don’t want to, with people willing to make a few bucks by doing them, a little like Task Rabbit does in the States. Now imagine that in a densely populated city like New York, Chicago, or Miami. Even if adoption rate is low, there are lots of people who could potentially use the app if you push it hard enough. Then you could expand to other adjacent cities with similar characteristics. That’s the volume argument: even a small market share of a large population could be enough to keep the app alive, which is not always the case in a small country with lower smartphone penetration such as Costa Rica.The “how concentrated”But there’s also the density argument. Say that in Costa Rica we might have 2 million potential users (according to our 40% smart phone penetration) that could rival the estimated highly populated cities in other markets. The problem is that our 2 million are probably spread out through a much wider territory. For two-sided market apps like Task Rabbit, Uber, and others of the sharing economy, this is vital, because with less population density, the chance of connecting a person in need with a person willing to provide the service in an acceptable geographic radius diminishes considerably. If I want a chore done in Alajuela but the guy willing to do it it’s in Cartago, then chances are, there won’t be a match.What to do?By focusing on behavior hacking alone you can increase your app’s chance of success considerably. If you also take into account the demographics of your market, you might find you need to do more tweaking to your import than you had initially thought, which might lead you to a truly innovative business model. Usually the best solutions are those that begin with the local problem, the local guy and a solution designed from scratch, as opposed to an adaptation.There are three things you can do to overcome these challenges:Check for best practices: Although another company’s way of solving the problem might not be the right answer for the local market, it can get you thinking. If you think your concept is unique, trust me, chances are somebody else has done it, or at least a close variation of it some place in the world. See how people are currently solving that locally (albeit inefficiently): That gives you the insights into the thought process and habits of your future customers. Some solutions, even poor ones, are sometimes good enough. If people are not motivated to pay more in order to solve their problem more efficiently, your solution might not fly.