One of the world’s leading producers of online word games joined a global effort to help protect the planet’s coral reefs, which a new report finds are disappearing at an alarming rate.
Sweden’s MAG Interactive has unveiled six ocean-themed games to educate people about the ocean, coral reefs and climate change risks. The games will be launched in Wordzee, Ruzzle, Word Domination, WordBrain, WordBrain 2 and New QuizDuel.
Players are encouraged to either add their name to the petition for greater ocean and climate action and/or donate to projects associated with the Global Fund for Coral Reefs that are working to protect ocean health.
MAG Interactive is part of United Nations Environment Programmes’s (UNEP’s) Playing for the Planet Alliance that brings together gaming companies worldwide with a monthly active player base of more than 1.5 billion and a common goal of improving the environment through play.
The initiative has seen developers, including the popular Rovio Angry Birds, integrate environmental messages into their games to support the global environmental agenda, ranging from planting millions of trees to reducing plastic in their products.
Gaming companies are also supporting the Playing4Forests pledge, asking world leaders to protect forests as a line of defence against climate change.
“We couldn’t be more excited to join hands with MAG Interactive and Playing for the Planet partners, to raise awareness and resources for our planet’s precious coral reefs on the front line of climate change,” said Leticia Carvalho, Head of Marine and Freshwater at UNEP.
“Many people have no idea of the value of coral reefs to the well being of species and humans alike. Gaming can be transformational in inspiring this learning and action journey,” she added.
While they may look like plants or hard rocks, most corals are made up of thousands of small, soft-bodied animals, called polyps, surrounded by stony exoskeletons. Coral reefs support a quarter of all marine life. They also provide at least half a billion people with jobs and food while protecting coastlines from storms and flooding.
Coral reefs are also extremely sensitive to climate change. Corals have shown the most rapid increase in extinction risk of all the species assessed by the Global Biodiversity Outlook.
When waters get too warm, corals release the symbiotic algae turning white, a process known as bleaching. While corals can recover from bleaching if conditions improve, prolonged coral bleaching can be fatal.
The Status of Coral Reefs of the World: 2020, released last week by the Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network in partnership with UNEP, found that 14 per cent of the world’s coral has been lost since 2009, and climate change is threatening what remains of these fragile ecosystems, often call the “rainforests of the sea.”
In the last 12 years, around 11,700 square kilometres of coral has disappeared. That is more than all the living coral in Australia.
But there is still hope for corals. Across the globe, scientists are identifying pockets of coral habitats that have greater resilience to climate change and may provide the key to their survival. The research shows that incorporating coral safe havens, known as climate refugia, into conservation plans is vital for ensuring their future survival as we work to halt and reverse current threats.
“Our goal is to create engaging content for our players while spreading an important message, that they have the power to help preserve marine ecosystems,” said Daniel Hasselberg, CEO of MAG Interactive.
MAG Interactive, whose ten game titles have been downloaded over 350 million times, developed the ocean-themes games based on the UNEP-led campaign Glowing Glowing Gone.
The creative campaign works to curb the threats to coral reefs, which along with climate change are under siege from overfishing, coastal development, pollution and ocean acidification.
The debut of the ocean-themed games preceded the recent announcement of US$125 million earmarked for the Global Fund for Coral Reefs to address critical financing and private investment barriers centered around the blue economy and to protect coral reefs. As the Global Climate Fund’s first at-scale private sector programme in climate adaptation, this investment signifies a major achievement for coral and climate resilience.
Coding – what is it and what are the benefits?
Coding has become more popular in recent years with everyone from entrepreneurs, hobbyists, children and professionals. And with many different kits now available, it’s easier than ever to try your hand at coding.
If you’re unsure what coding is or where to begin, read on to discover more and find out the benefits of learning this new skill.
What is coding and what is it used for?
In a nutshell, coding is writing a set of instructions in a language understood by machines to enable a computer to follow to carry out a task. It’s used daily across the world in multiple applications from appliances to traffic systems and the motor industry.
With more of the world relying heavily on digital systems, there is an increased need for those who know how to code. But it’s not just for professionals. Anyone can now try their hand at coding and it’s increasingly popular amongst hobbyists who are creating exciting projects during their spare time.
A good place to start when thinking about coding as a hobby is by using a Raspberry Pi kit. Starter kits are great for beginners and allow you to develop your coding skills with everything you need in one package.
Benefits of learning to code
Whilst some benefits of learning to code such as future career options might be obvious, there are other advantages to this skill:
- You could become smarter – Coding can utilise the logical part of your brain which is useful for other tasks, not just the coding process. It can also be very creative if you use your coding skills to work on different projects.
- It increases your employability – and not just in the computer software industry. Skills learnt from coding are transferrable and the kind of qualities employers across many industries will be looking for.
- It helps you understand technology – By getting to grips with computer languages, you’ll learn how technology works at a base level – knowledge that will filter through to everyday life as well as in your career.
- Enhance problem solving skills – By learning to code you’ll learn how to address problems and, in turn, become skilled at solving them. Tools that will be transferred to other aspects of life.
- Enhances STEM learning for kids – Using coding tools as educational play will develop a child’s skills around science and technology – industries which are only going to increase in the near future.
- Coding is a universal language – so there are endless opportunities to learning this skill.
Whatever knowledge you have of coding, why not give it a go? You could be creating the next big robotics project, having fun playing games with your kids or even developing a new software programme in no time.
C-Suite Toolkit Helps Executives Navigate the Artificial Intelligence Landscape
The World Economic Forum published the “AI C-Suite Toolkit” to support executives in their Artificial Intelligence implementation decision making. The toolkit provides a holistic approach to AI, covering multiple dimensions businesses need to consider when making investments in AI. Emphasis is given on potential risks these technologies create and how to ensure the ethical and responsible use of them.
“The key skill executives need to develop is the ability to understand the art of the possible with AI while identifying the main risks it creates,” said Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of AI and Machine Learning at the World Economic Forum. Furthermore, Theos Evgeniou, Professor at INSEAD and Co-Founder of Tremau said, “Organizations need to adopt new data and AI risk management practices, processes and tools in order to both comply with upcoming regulations and to ensure customer trust”,
The new toolkit is the result of a collaboration among several AI experts and executives across companies and industries. It also builds on the previous World Economic Forum guide that’s targeted at Boards of Directors.
“AI is like the Internet: it feels optional until it’s too late. We were delighted to contribute Best Practice AI’s practical digital strategy and transformation experience working with executives globally to this world class effort. C-suite leadership is key to deliver data-enabled business model transformation – and senior management learning critical to ensure that this is done ethically and sustainably. The toolkit provides both,” said Simon Greenman, Partner at Best Practice AI and Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global AI Council
The AI C-Suite toolkit raises and discusses key questions that company executives need to consider when making investments in AI. These questions cover aspects around AI and business strategy, the impact of AI on an organization, AI maturity and organizational change, best practices for implementing AI, understanding and managing AI risks, and adoption of ethical and responsible AI practices and processes.
“With our strong expertise in manufacturing consultancy and +100 SIRI maturity assessments, we see that the foundational knowledge of AI in operationalizing the strategy is visible as a common need. Global research on the subject confirm that using AI has benefits like providing cost reduction, inventory minimization, quality increase, profit optimization, etc., and potential risks like strengthening inequalities. Creating a platform for understanding the benefits and mitigating the risks is required, especially at the executive level. With the modularity and extensive understanding of AI, this toolkit will be a reference guide for all leaders,” said Efe Erdem, MEXT Group Director & Head of C4IR Turkey. “We are excited for this toolkit to come to life and serve as a critical guideline for the industry.”
Organizations at various levels of AI maturity can benefit from the steps laid out in the AI C-Suite Toolkit to leverage AI while mitigating possible risks. “As an advisor to C-suite executives of organizations aspiring to become AI and Data-driven, we have observed firsthand how fundamental it is for leaders to understand how to make informed decisions such that their organizations can truly reap the benefits of AI in the coming years. We believe this guide will be instrumental in helping executives identify the right opportunities to solve problems using AI and overcome the challenges and barriers they will face on their journey,” said Nihar Dalmia, Canada Government and Public Services Leader, Omnia AI, Deloitte.
The toolkit states, “a culture of large volume experimentation, data-driven decision making, and ethical AI distinguishes market leaders.” The authors and contributors urge organizations to pilot this toolkit and share their learnings of using it.
“The AI C-Suite Toolkit on Empowering AI leadership is a timely report for C-suite executives as more organizations embrace AI across their enterprise,” said Anand Rao, Global Leader, Artificial Intelligence, PwC, USA. “PwC is delighted to collaborate with the World Economic Forum on this toolkit to provide a practical and operational framework to implement AI in a responsible manner. The holistic and enterprise-wide end-to-end governance will enable C-suite executives to take advantage of the benefits of AI while also addressing the societal and ethical risks.”
The Moscow Metro extends the Early Bird campaign
According to the Moscow Department of Transport, the Early Bird discount program has been extended until March 31. Thanks to this project, passengers can save up to 50% on fare payment for morning trips on Lines 7 and 15 of the Moscow Metro.
The Department noted that the Early Bird campaign helped to redistribute passenger flows and reduce passenger traffic of the Line 7 of the Moscow Metro, the busiest line of the network, during the peak hours. Cars on the Line 7 are now 7% freer in the morning peak hours. In addition, the crowdedness at Kitay-Gorod station has been decreased up to 18%, and Vykhino and Polezhaevskaya – up to 17%.
According to Maksim Liksutov, the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport, the project has proved its effectiveness, having impacted the most popular section of the metro during peak hours. In this regard, it was decided to extend the Early Bird campaign.
«Thanks to the campaign, as well as to the adjustment of fares on Kazansky railway direction for those who travel to the railway station, cars became 7% freer in the mornings on Line 7 – we managed to relieve the load on the most popular section of the metro during rush hours. In this regard, the Mayor of Moscow decided to extend the Early Bird discount program until March 31», – said Maksim Liksutov, the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport.
The project was launched in November 2020. Discounts are valid on weekdays until 07:15 and from 08:45 to 09:15 on the Moscow Metro Lines 7 and 15. About 100 thousand passengers use discounts every day. More than 5.7 thousand Moscow residents changed their daily travel time to off-peak. By the end of 2021, passengers have made more than 25 million discounted trips.
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