Virtual Counselor - TownSpeaks Technology

Virtual Counselor

Technology brings us to the age where communication and interaction have become more impersonal. Data moves at the speed of light, but what are some of the negatives associated with the age of technology? Have we forgotten the human equation as we hurtle into the future? Technology even provides us with solutions for personal well-being. Introducing the virtual counselor.

Virtual Counselor – The Power of Technology

What is the biggest detractor in technology? Is it the speed of information and the constant bombardment of input? Perhaps it is the onslaught of immediacy and how everyone expects everything right now. There is no delay in demand and it is only getting worse. Maybe it is that our bosses and colleagues, thanks to 24/7 connectivity, no longer show any boundaries when it comes to expectations. Whatever you define as the biggest drawback of technology, the one common aspect is that it makes our lives more impersonal. Enter the virtual counselor.

Millennials, along with members of generations past and future, have grown increasingly used to technology as the primary form of communication and they have become accustomed to the impersonal interaction of text and email. Interpersonal communication, including the subtle art of reading expression and inflection, is getting edged out by the phone and computer screen. The problem? We, as humans, are not built that way. We need interface. Enter the virtual counselor. If you would like to explore more about the role of technology in virtual counseling, there is an interesting article from the American Counseling Association – The Role of Technology in Counseling.

The Virtual Counselor – What We Don’t Know Can Hurt Us

When we think of a virtual counselor, we think of someone online who can answer questions and help us navigate difficult or challenging emotional waters, but virtual counseling is much more than that. When you think of counseling, maybe you think of counseling for kids or marriage counseling. These are only two of areas that make up a vast online presence. Here is a brief list of the different types of counseling.

  • Marriage and Family
  • Guidance and Career
  • Rehabilitation
  • Mental Health
  • Substance Abuse
  • Educational
  • Debt counseling
  • Child development counseling
  • Eating disorder therapy
  • Grief counseling
  • Art therapy
  • Musical therapy

These are just a few areas of specialty, but what is unique is that each area now has a significant online presence. No matter what type of assistance you need, you can find it online. Now here is where it really gets interesting. Most of the online or virtual counselor listings you will find are to professionals you can find online. So really, many of the listings you find are simply listings to private or public practices or counselors.

The Truly Virtual Counselor

But where is technology taking us? The interaction between human and machine has become a dependent relationship between user and mechanism for transport. With Quantum Computing on the near horizon and our electronic volumes of interactive data, we are getting closer to an AI form, but we will never be able to truly create Artificial Intelligence. We cannot create a sentient being any more than we can create gravity. Maybe someday, but not yet.

What we can do right now however, is mimic human interaction and recreate responses that reflect what society considers a “correct” answer to almost any question that can be asked. So does this mean that search engines will become our virtual counselor? The solution will be some form of data construct that will provide answers to questions we have. Look at Siri who is even programmed to answer inane questions. Look at Google, Yahoo and the rest of the search engine platforms built to query through mountains of data almost instantaneously

To learn more about human and computer interface, there is an excellent read – Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction: Design for All and Accessibility Practice. You can learn where we are headed as a society and how our interface with computers and technology will evolve.

To artificial intelligence, we have a long way to go and it is doubtful that we will be able to recreate intelligence in our lifetime or lifetimes immediately following. We will continue to improve technology’s capability to respond based on recreated human response. Mimic is not a form of intelligence, though we will continue down that path because we are human.


Repercussions of San Bernardino

San Bernardino, CA
For us here in the States, the tragedy in Paris hit a nerve that was extremely painful and one which resulted in grief and a sense of loss as we endured the fanaticism of jihadists close enough to feel the pain, but far enough away that the impact was a little less severe. My heart goes out to all of those who lost innocent lives from all countries and all walks of life. Senseless.

In Southern California, it is in our face and the horror of San Bernardino reminds me of 9/11, not in the scale but in the irrefutable hatred towards the West held because of faith. My heart and prayers go out to those families in San Bernardino impacted by this horrific act. This community is about an hour or so away from where I live, but it could have been on the other side of the country and the pain would still run as deep. How can the senseless murder of innocent lives be a call to action for any religion?

Out of the pain and suffering by the families of those lost and those whose lives are forever changed, especially in San Bernardino where the pain is fresh, out of the tolerant and giving nature of the American people and out of the fact that our nation was born Christian, it is time we take a stand. I predict that the repercussions of recent heinous actions will negatively impact peaceful Muslims around the world, but make no mistake, we are at war and unless we wake up this battle will be fought without us and we will lose either way.

On the one hand, we will lose if we allow the jihadists to gain any type of foothold where they can continue to wreak havoc through these ‘lone wolf’ attacks and other cowardly acts against innocent people. At some point we will either have to stand up and fight or we will lose a far more important battle – our freedom.

Listen to the Democrats, including our ‘leader’, who assail the Constitution at every corner by crying out for gun control. San Bernardino is just the tip of the iceberg if we continue to let the government usurp our rights one-by-one. Do we really think that criminals and jihadists will pay attention to gun control laws? Really? They pay attention and laugh as we give our rights away. The problem we have is that people don’t look two to three moves ahead of what happens when they tout gun control as the answer to our problems, but this is a symptom of a far larger problem.

As an aside, law abiding citizens who want to carry a firearm and be responsible for keeping the peace in this nation are not adversaries of the police, but rather allies for our outnumbered men and women in blue. There are multiple case studies that prove this model. Texas and Florida are just two. Google ‘concealed carry weapons and crime rate’ and you will find a plethora of information on how crime rate drops significantly in proportion to the number of concealed weapons permits.

The far larger problem in our nation however, is that we are willing to give up our freedoms in order to be ‘protected’ by our government. This is short-sighted but is also prevalent as we burden our legislative and judicial system with more laws and more regulations that make it impossible to keep up with our legal system.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for societal order and the amazing job 99.9% of our law enforcement performs on a daily basis, but they are getting overburdened and the bad guys are starting to understand this. So what do we do as a nation? More legislation? That doesn’t seem to work as we have the highest per capita inmate population in the world. Take away the rights of the many to control the deeds of the few? That doesn’t seem to be working, but they keep trying. So then what is the answer? The old adage rings true, ‘An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure’.

We stand up as individuals and take responsibility for our actions. We hold others, including officials accountable, but more importantly, we hold ourselves accountable. We plug God back into the system. This is how we were founded and what makes our country work. We take pride in our work and we strive for greatness once again. The world doesn’t owe us anything.

This is America. We are a nation built on Christianity and if you don’t like it, leave. I will not kowtow to people who are offended anymore. Get over it. I will not give in to those who want to tear down this nation. I will defend it. I will not fear evil, I will face it with the knowledge and truth that I am saved. I will not settle for a second-rate, entitled nation. I will strive to do my part to make it great again.

God Bless the families of souls lost to terrorism around the world, regardless of whose hand was involved. This is a point in time where we either rally and take a stand against the atrocities or we let them continue uninterrupted and live life fearfully letting our government be our protector, eliminating our freedoms slowly, one-by-one.

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Predictive News

Different from the concept of Trending News, Predictive News is ten steps past the normal news that we all hear when it is too late and already priced into the market. Predictive News is just that, the ability to take information and turn it into actionable market intelligence. It is the building of inference around events and related environmental landscape.

When you are in charge of a massive hedge fund or if you are the private banker for $M and $B accounts, you had better have the ability to take information and turn it into positive action with constant upward pressure on the net balance sheet. How do they do this? Is it magic? Not at all. It is the ability to couple opportunity with positive market influence.




Predictive News doesn't just happen. You have to have a perfect storm of data combined with landscape events and then you have to be able to infer the outcome or impact from the combination. The ability to do that comes from experience and having an in-depth understanding of how these two influencing factors work together. So what happens when

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Trending News

There is news. Then there is trending news.

Predictive News is the process of combining events with the landscape and climate of economics, politics, consumer sentiment and more to develop insight into the impact this news will have on a stock or the direction of a currency - any number of specific targets where news will have an effect on an outcome. Further, Predictive News is projected, not historical.

Trending News is on the other side of the equation. Where Predictive News portends events and their impact in a current environment, Trending News determines the pervasiveness and depth of information on an outcome. The purpose of this segmentation is to understand how news, first of all, is factored into the market, but just as importantly, how much the market will move based on the news.




The stock market is just one example but it provides a picture we can all understand. We have all wondered how big money plays on the news in the market place and we have all wondered about their 'secret' source of news and how they get to it before it gets priced into a stock so that they can make their play and make money while the rest of the people are left holding the bag. The short answer is that they don't. Big money managers use the concept of Predictive News to identify potential movers and Trending News to understand the depth of the move.

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Stockholm Terror Attack

TFlash – Stockholm Terror Attack

TFLASH
Subject – Stockholm Terror Attack

A man suspected of driving a carjacked truck into a crowd of shoppers at a local department store has been arrested and has confessed to local authorities. Police have confirmed that at least 4 people have been killed and 15 people injured (9 seriously) in the Stockholm Terror Attack. Images of the man were distributed by police as the short manhunt came to conclusion.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven stated that the attack appeared to be terror related and this was later confirmed by police. Sweden and neighboring countries are attributing the spike in crime to the influx of refugees from states known to have radical terrorist ties. The Stockholm Terror Attack is another in the wave of so called Lone-Wolf attacks in the region.

Stockholm Terror Attack occurred at approximately 3:16PM local time.

Stockholm Terror Attack

Swedish Police release images of the suspect later arrested in the horrific attack at a local department store

Stockholm Terror Attack

Police release images of man suspected and later apprehended in Stockholm Terror Attack

Stockholm Terror Attack

Scene outside the local department store where a carjacker used a truck to run over shoppers. Courtesy AFP