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UAE aid plane lands in Al Arish with 4,000 Eid clothing

The Birds of Goodness operation is part of “Operation Chivalrous Knight 3″ to support Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip…reports Asian Lite News

The Joint Operations Command of the Ministry of Defence announced the arrival of a UAE aid plane at Al Arish Airport, carrying 4,000 parcels of Eid clothing in preparation for their delivery to the Palestinian people.

These parcels, part of Operation “Birds of Goodness,” contain clothes, shoes, toys, sweets, and various items for all family members, arriving in time for Eid Al Fitr.

This initiative, which runs throughout Eid Al Fitr, aims to meet the needs of the Palestinian people during Eid Al Fitr and alleviate their suffering.

Operation “Birds of Goodness,” which commenced in February, involves the United Arab Emirates Air Force and Egyptian Air Force aircraft delivering humanitarian and relief aid to the northern Gaza Strip.

The Birds of Goodness operation is part of “Operation Chivalrous Knight 3” to support Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, the Joint Operations Command of the Ministry of Defence announced the 28th airdrop of humanitarian aid as part of the “Birds of Goodness” operation.

This airdrop marks a special occasion, delivering essential supplies alongside parcels of Eid clothing for the first time. These parcels contain clothes, shoes, toys, sweets, and various items for all family members, arriving in time for Eid Al Fitr.

This initiative aims to alleviate the suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza and contribute to their well-being during this important holiday.

Four aircraft, including two C17s from the UAE Air Force and two C295s from the Egyptian Air Force, participated in the airdrop. The mission focused on reaching inaccessible, isolated areas in the northern Gaza Strip.

A total of 82 tonnes of food and relief aid were delivered, bringing the total amount of aid provided through the Birds of Goodness operation to 1,647 tonnes since its inception.

The Birds of Goodness operation is part of “Operation Chivalrous Knight 3” to support Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip.

ALSO READ-Eid Mubarak

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Microsoft announces new AI office in UK

Writing in a blog post announcing the new hub, he said: “This is great news for Microsoft AI and for the UK…reports Asian Lite News

Microsoft is opening a new hub devoted to artificial intelligence in London. The office will focus on its work on AI products, as well as research. It comes amid an increasing growth of AI companies in the capital, including the opening of ChatGPT creator OpenAI’s first office outside the US.

Microsoft recently announced the creation of Microsoft AI, a new team within the company to focus on AI, led by Mustafa Suleyman, the British co-founder of AI giant DeepMind, which is now owned by Google.

Mr Suleyman said the new AI hub, which will be based at Microsoft’s offices in Paddington, will “drive pioneering work to advance state-of-the-art language models and their supporting infrastructure, and to create world-class tooling for foundation models”.

Writing in a blog post announcing the new hub, he said: “This is great news for Microsoft AI and for the UK.

“As a British citizen, born and raised in London, I’m proud to have co-founded and built a cutting-edge AI business here. I’m deeply aware of the extraordinary talent pool and AI ecosystem in the UK, and I’m excited to make this commitment to the UK on behalf of Microsoft AI. I know – through my close work with thought leaders in the UK Government, business community and academia – that the country is committed to advancing AI responsibly and with a safety-first commitment to drive investment, innovation and economic growth. Our decision to open this hub in the UK reflects this ambition.”

He added that the hub will create jobs, with Microsoft AI “actively hiring exceptional individuals who want to work on the most interesting and challenging AI questions of our time”.

The creation of the AI centre further expands Microsoft’s presence in the UK, which includes its Microsoft Research lab in Cambridge, and builds on the company’s pledge to invest £2.5 billion into the UK, announced late last year, as part of its AI plans.

ALSO READ-India Urges Digital Giants to Fix Platforms After Microsoft Warning

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Fashion’s AI Revolution

AI’s impact on fashion design is nothing short of revolutionary. McKinsey’s analysis suggests that within the next three to five years, generative AI has the potential to significantly boost operating profits in the apparel, fashion, and luxury sectors…writes Mamata Roy

In recent years, the fashion industry has undergone a significant transformation, where technology is making waves and stealing the spotlight, with artificial intelligence (AI) at the epicenter of this transformation. This dynamic duo of fashion and AI is not just tweaking design processes and redefining our shopping experiences; it’s also prompting some big questions about sustainability and ethics in the fashion industry.

Think about predicting fashion trends, and you have AI. Take IBM’s Watson Trend App, for example. This intelligently designed tool analyzes heaps of online data to predict what styles are going to be trendy. So, instead of designers relying solely on gut feelings, they can use AI insights to create collections that match what people are buzzing about.

AI’s impact on fashion design is nothing short of revolutionary. McKinsey’s analysis suggests that within the next three to five years, generative AI has the potential to significantly boost operating profits in the apparel, fashion, and luxury sectors. Conservatively estimated, this could mean an addition of $150 billion, with the possibility of reaching up to $275 billion.

Furthermore, AI stepping into design processes has put creativity on autopilot. Whether it’s crafting design twists or playing with patterns and textures, AI is stretching the limits. The upshot? Speedier, more efficient design workflows, enabling fashion houses to stay nimble in keeping up with changing tastes.

Revolutionizing the Shopping Experience

AI is on the verge of revolutionizing industries, already making a significant impact across all sectors. According to Statista, global artificial intelligence in the fashion market amounted to 270 million U.S. dollars in 2018 and is expected to reach 4.4 billion U.S. dollars by 2027.

In the realm of online shopping, AI is revolutionizing personalization. It tailors your shopping journey based on preferences and behaviour, offering recommendations that boost engagement. Moreover, AI-driven virtual try-on experiences bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping, allowing real-time product visualization. 

But AI goes even beyond personalization; acting as your digital stylist, analyzing past purchases and trends to curate outfits tailored to your taste. Platforms like Heuritech leverage AI to analyze social media images, helping brands like Louis Vuitton and Dior anticipate trends and align production.

AI’s Impact on Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has emerged as a cornerstone of marketing strategies for brands across all industries. With the rise of social media, consumers are increasingly turning to influencers for product recommendations and lifestyle inspiration. These digital tastemakers, with their large and engaged followings, have the power to sway consumer behaviour and shape purchasing decisions.

In the fashion sector, where trends change rapidly and consumer tastes are diverse, AI is playing a crucial role in optimizing influencer collaborations. By analyzing vast amounts of data, AI identifies the most relevant influencers for brands, based on audience demographics, engagement rates, and content preferences. 

This targeted approach ensures that brands collaborate with influencers who resonate with their target audience, maximizing the impact of their marketing efforts. Additionally, AI-powered tools help track and measure the effectiveness of influencer campaigns, providing valuable insights for future strategies.

Sustainability and Ethical Considerations

The fashion industry ranks as the second most polluting sector, responsible for 8% of global carbon emissions and 20% of global wastewater, according to MDPI. In response to growing environmental worries, AI is becoming a crucial partner in promoting sustainability within the industry. AI algorithms can optimize supply chains, reduce waste, and aid in the creation of eco-friendly materials. By predicting demand more accurately, fashion brands can minimize overproduction and contribute to a more sustainable industry.

As technology progresses, ethical concerns take center stage, especially in AI’s role in fashion. Questions arise about data privacy, labour ethics, and the perpetuating of biased beauty standards. Balancing innovation with ethical responsibility becomes crucial. Despite its transformative potential, integrating AI into fashion faces hurdles. Challenges include data security, algorithm biases, and the demand for skilled professionals to manage AI systems.

What Future Holds for the Duo

As AI advances, we’re looking at a future where it plays a bigger role in making fashion more sustainable. With AI getting better and better, more companies might join in to tackle environmental issues and find new ways to be eco-friendly. This means we could see AI used more in designing clothes, running stores, and making fashion greener.

The blend of tech and fashion, especially AI, is changing things in big ways. AI helps predict trends, makes shopping cooler, and pushes for greener practices. As fashion keeps up with these changes, it’s important to be smart and ethical about how we use technology.

ALSO READ-AI is boosting access to healthcare: MBZUAI

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India Urges Digital Giants to Fix Platforms After Microsoft Warning

The Central government has taken a tough stand at Artificial Intelligence-generated content, deepfakes ahead of polls, reports Asian Lite News

 As Microsoft warned India about China’s plan to create and amplify AI-generated content to “benefit its interests” amid the seven-phase elections starting April 19, the Centre has come down heavily on global digital companies, asking them to fix their platforms as part of a new advisory around AI and its potential misuse during polls.

With major elections taking place around the world this year, particularly in India, South Korea and the US: “We assess that China will, at a minimum, create and amplify AI-generated content to benefit its interests,” according to Clint Watts, General Manager, Microsoft Threat Analysis Center.

According to exposure management company Tenable, misinformation spread through AI-generated deepfakes and fake content are the biggest threat to the upcoming polls.

“The biggest threats to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections are misinformation and disinformation as part of influence operations conducted by malicious actors against the electorate,” Satnam Narang, Senior Staff Research Engineer, Tenable, told IANS recently.

Alarmed at AI’s potential misuse, the Centre last month said that social media intermediaries “must not permit any bias or discrimination or threaten the integrity of the electoral process.”

School students create a ‘rangoli’ depicting Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) to raise awareness among people to vote in the upcoming general elections, in Chennai on Thursday, March 28, 2024. (Photo: IANS/R. Parthibhan)

A new IT Ministry advisory now specifically deals with AI, which says that digital platforms have to take full accountability and cannot escape by saying that these AI models are in the “under-testing phase.”

“It is reiterated that non-compliance to the provisions of the IT Act and/or IT Rules would result in potential penal consequences to the intermediaries or platforms or its users when identified, including but not limited to prosecution under IT Act and several other statutes of the criminal code,” according to the advisory.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a conversation with Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates late last month, also expressed concerns about deepfakes in a democratic country like ours.

“I have engaged with leading minds on AI and its risks. I suggested that we should start with clear watermarks on AI-generated content to prevent misinformation. Proper sources of AI-generated content should also be mentioned,” PM Modi emphasised.

“Someone can even misuse my voice to deceive people and such a deepfake can trigger widespread uproar. We need to think about creating robust dos and don’ts on deepfakes,” the Prime Minister told the billionaire philanthropist.

ALSO READ: China Plans to Disrupt Indian Elections Using AI, Warns Microsoft

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New Study Reveals AI’s Transformative Impact on Weather Prediction

Trends Research and Advisory’s new study, ‘AI Skies: Transforming Weather Prediction and Climate Awareness,’ explores AI’s role in significantly enhancing weather forecasting accuracy…. reports Asian Lite News

Trends Research and Advisory has launched a fresh study titled ‘AI Skies: Revolutionizing Weather Prediction and Climate Awareness.’ This research investigates AI’s impact on weather forecasting, demonstrating a remarkable level of precision. Conducted by Noor Al Mazrouei, Head of the AI and Advanced Technology Program at Trends, the study reveals how AI analyzes vast datasets from satellites and weather stations to predict extreme weather events more accurately, thereby enhancing disaster preparedness and risk management.

The advent of AI applications in meteorology has ushered in a new era of personalised weather services, directly catering to the varying needs of different users and industries.

The study highlighted the societal benefits of AI in weather forecasting, such as enhancing the accuracy of weather forecasts, which are essential for sound planning and decision-making across different sectors of society.

The study discussed how artificial intelligence has become a pivotal tool for simplifying and interpreting complex climate data, enabling decision-makers and scientists to make better decisions. It explains the potential of artificial intelligence in raising public awareness of climate change through platforms that translate complex climate data into an easy-to-understand format.

The study concluded that AI not only improves weather forecasting, but fundamentally changes the way we understand and address climate challenge.

ALSO READ : Artificial Intelligence takes centre stage in Davos

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UN Adopts India-Backed Resolution on AI Safety

India’s Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj said in a post on X after its adoption, “Happy to co-sponsor the Resolution on AI.”…reports Asian Lite News

Setting aside their polarising differences, all 193 countries joined together to adopt a landmark resolution backed by India, aiming to keep the world safe from the excesses of artificial intelligence (AI).

The UN General Assembly’s resolution passed unanimously on Thursday stressed “the urgency of achieving global consensus on safe, secure and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems” in the face of “potential risk for accidents and compound threats from malicious actors”.

India’s Permanent Representative Ruchira Kamboj said in a post on X after its adoption, “Happy to co-sponsor the Resolution on AI.”

The resolution was proposed by the US and the State Department’s factsheet about it said it builds on several initiatives, including the Global Partnership on AI (GPAI) Summit hosted by India in December.

The resolution emphasises the role of AI in promoting global development while making sure it protects private data and human rights and is tested for vulnerabilities before deployment.

The resolution, which calls for the development of regulations for “safe, secure and trustworthy” AI systems, also acknowledges the importance of domestic priorities and national and “subnational” policies in framing them.

The unanimity at the UN stresses the fears over AI’s potential to disrupt politics and society through deepfakes and spreading misinformation, and its more sinister capabilities in warfare, development of weapons and disrupting economies.

“In a moment in which the world is seeming to be agreeing on little, perhaps the most quietly radical aspect of this resolution is the wide consensus forged in the name of advancing progress,” US Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield said of its significance.

She added that she worked with more than 120 countries for several months to achieve the consensus and had put the resolution’s draft through several edits.

For wider acceptance and tamping down dissidence, the resolution highlights AI’s role in helping developing nations, especially the poorest, and calls for bridging the digital divide among and within nations that AI could widen.

An important goal of the resolution is deploying AI for “achieving sustainable development in its three dimensions — economic, social and environmental — with specific consideration of developing countries and leaving no one behind”.

The resolution calls for measures to “promote innovation for the internationally interoperable identification, classification, evaluation, testing, prevention and mitigation of vulnerabilities and risks during the design and development and prior to the deployment and use of artificial intelligence systems”.

ALSO READ-India Stresses Two-State Solution at UNGA

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AI In Aid Of Knowledge Economy

In the Age of Information brought in by Information Technology, knowledge-based decision-making became the first priority of all business enterprises, writes D.C. Pathak

The advent of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has boosted the cause of business in many ways. It has speeded up the process of strategy formulation that derived new strength from a rapid analysis of comprehensive and relevant data relating to the past and the present.

It has also enabled businesses to deal with the new level of competitiveness that exists in today’s world, on the basis of an in-depth study of other players in the field as well as of the intricacies of the business environment.

Finally, AI is setting new benchmarks in human resource management in the matter of reconstituting teams to focus on creating new products and services and ensuring timelines of delivery.

In the Age of Information brought in by Information Technology, knowledge-based decision-making became the first priority of all business enterprises and towards that objective, arrangements were made to collate and analyse a given set of parameters for defining the future vision of the business entity to be achieved within a timeframe.

The scope of Business Intelligence has been infinitely enlarged by AI which is a tool for quickly examining an unprecedented amount of raw data and collated facts, analysing all risk factors and opportunities and producing a set of reliable-looking predictions. The AI-assisted analytics covers a volume of data that was humanly impossible to handle in one go. This has pushed decision-making to a level of near perfection in a competitive environment.

The potential of AI in strategic decision-making, however, yields the best results when it is used for augmenting human Intelligence with data-driven insights and operational efficiency.

AI puts the process of decision-making on a stronger footing by making it an evidence-based determination. Further, AI introduces an element of neutrality and objectivity and minimises the scope of biases creeping into that process.

AI has opened up the world of start-ups and helped to provide a level playing field to those who can “read the future better” and while pursuing a line of business, find an opportunity that had gone undetected earlier.

Application of AI-aided examination of information available in the public domain leads to a good assessment of the competitor’s behaviour as well as the industry dynamics.

Analysis of vast datasets through the application of AI can unearth patterns and trends that throw light on the modus operandi of a rival that was not visible to the human eye and which could be put to good use in a competitive setting.

Even while leveraging historical data, AI can read areas of success of a competitor and determine the scope for improvement there far more accurately thus creating a competitive advantage.

The more comprehensive the data, the better the outcome of the AI application.

It is possible to roll out new GenAI-based products and services to bring more value to investors and customers. AI-aided skills are extensively used now for profile writing, creating engaging headlines and understanding natural language for putting across the work being done by the business enterprise.

The use of AI in critical thinking, problem-solving and effective communication, is now well established.

Automated tasks are another developing area of corporate activity that is being put to good use.

As already mentioned, AI is proving indispensable for predictive analytics. Simulating market conditions and their probable outcomes accrued through advance scenario planning and risk assessment, is becoming a trendsetter.

In the arena of human resource development, work starts with the use of AI to improve the recruitment process itself. AI skills are needed in jobs requiring communication, analysis and sales promotion.

In content creation, it is found that more important than the time spent on writing is the time utilised for interactions and networking for the purpose of enhancing outreach and accessing new knowledge.

Upskilling is required since nearly half of the jobs in India are going to be affected by AI — fortunately, professionals in India are already using AI skills more than what was the case anywhere else globally.

AI offers a new level of personalisation of customer needs, helps the process of development of new products and facilitates the adoption of entirely new ways of sales promotion. Business enterprises need manpower that is attuned to working with others, finding solutions to the problem at hand and using critical thinking.

The new skills are also put to good use in evolving work-life balance that AI-based tasks could demand. One of the top challenges is to prepare a GenAI-ready workforce. One impediment to this is the shortage of expertise in the emerging tech streams such as cloud computing.

There are limited programmes for GenAI skills in the university curricula. Business corporates have to think of building the capabilities of their workforce in terms of technical skills through a tailored training programme on GenAI. This programme has to be based on enterprise-specific or even team-specific goals.

Professionals across operations, marketing, finance etc require basic familiarisation with GenAI to decide how to effectively leverage GenAI tools to improve ‘productivity’.

AI developers need to be nurtured to understand the science behind ‘deep learning’ and make the choice to pick the right models. Advanced teams may be needed to develop niche expertise in product engineering.

Even at the leadership level specific GenAI programmes have to be devised to enhance the trickle-down effect in creating motivation and ambition across the hierarchies. These are also needed for strategy formulation and possible policy amendments that could be required for better implementation.

Today, an understanding of Learning & Development (L&D) and Large Language Models (LLMs) and their importance in business is needed at the leadership level itself.

The main point of understanding and acceptance by the leadership is that AI’s first impact on business was to enable the enterprise to reduce cost and increase the efficiency of its operations so that there was better ROI resulting from the value-add created by AI.

In a nutshell, AI primarily works through data and analytics to help companies to build new products and services and to enhance their customer base.

Machine learning automation is assisting human resource management in screening resumes and scheduling interviews. Screening enables the management to match applicants for positions requiring knowledge, experience and special skills for the job.

Targeted and personalised promotion campaigns are also helped by AI. A simple illustration is ‘machine learning’ that notes the difference between a customer who scans information for high-end eating places and then searches for clothes online and a customer who is only searching for clothes. In the first case, AI lays out fashion garments while in the other case, it would offer a range covering different categories.

Decision-making is one of the most important areas depending a great deal on AI because the latter can scrutinise large databases on customer preferences, text images and videos that are made for knowledge-based decisions- considered so important for standing against the competition. Supply chain management, security enhancement and customer experience data are among the basic advantages that AI-aided programs could provide.

Above all, India is quite aware of the promises and perils of AI and that is why it has asked tech firms to seek government approval before releasing under trial or unreliable AI tools and to caution the customers that the programme may not be able to answer every query of the user.

AI tools should be used with the basic understanding that they are governed by the input-output principle and that any predictive analytics provided by them rested on the detection of patterns and keywords in an unusually large database. Best results therefore are achieved when human intelligence works in conjunction with data-driven insights.

(The writer is former Director of the Intelligence Bureau. Views are personal)

ALSO READ: US Chip Giant Unveils India Strategy

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India Leads UN Push for Secure and Accessible AI

Highlighting the urgency of dealing with the galloping growth of AI and its tentacles reaching everywhere, 53 other countries besides India are joining in co-sponsoring the resolution…reports Arul Louis

 India is behind an effort at the United Nations (UN) to ensure that artificial intelligence (AI) systems are “secure and trustworthy” and to keep them open and accessible to the Global South.

India is cosponsoring with the US a General Assembly resolution that calls for promoting “safe, secure and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems” and “bridging the artificial intelligence and other digital divides between and within countries”.

Amid growing global concerns about dangers to society, politics and economies from AI, the proposed resolution, a draft of which was seen by IANS, emphasises taking steps against the misuse of the system and preventing vulnerabilities and risks.

The draft suggests promoting “innovation for the internationally interoperable identification, classification, evaluation, testing, prevention and mitigation of vulnerabilities and risks during the design and development, and prior to deployment and use of artificial intelligence system”.

Photo taken on Sept. 14, 2020 shows the outside view of the United Nations headquarters in New York, the United States. (Xinhua/Wang Ying/IANS)

It would encourage the “incorporation of feedback mechanisms to allow evidence-based discovery and reporting by end-users and third parties of technical vulnerabilities and, as appropriate, misuses of artificial intelligence systems and artificial intelligence”.

US Permanent Representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield, who is spearheading the move to get the resolution adopted by the Assembly, said on Thursday on behalf of the countries co-sponsoring it, “As AI technologies rapidly develop, there is urgent need and unique opportunities for member states to meet this critical moment with collective action.”

The draft “establishes a shared vision that AI systems should be human-centric, reliable, explainable, ethical, inclusive, privacy-preserving, and responsible, with a sustainable development orientation, and in full respect, promotion and protection of human rights and international law”, she said.

Highlighting the urgency of dealing with the galloping growth of AI and its tentacles reaching everywhere, 53 other countries besides India are joining in co-sponsoring the resolution.

The draft focuses on development and the needs of developing countries, calling for the acceleration of AI use to realise the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals covering a range from abolishing poverty to building just societies with a target date of 2030.

It calls for helping “developing countries in capacity building, access and sharing the benefits of safe, secure and trustworthy artificial intelligence systems in achieving all 17 Sustainable Development Goals”.

ALSO READ: China Condemns US Move Against TikTok

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EU lawmakers approve law to limit use of AI

Companies such as OpenAI that produce powerful, complex and widely used AI models will also be subject to new disclosure requirements under the law…reports Asian Lite News

European Union lawmakers on Wednesday gave final approval to a landmark law governing artificial intelligence (AI) to limit its use in businesses and organizations in Europe for everything from health care decisions to policing.

The first-of-its-kind law imposes blanket-bans some “unacceptable” uses of the technology while enacting stiff guardrails for other applications deemed “high-risk.”

The EU AI Act outlaws social scoring systems powered by AI and any biometric-based tools used to guess a person’s race, political leanings or sexual orientation.

It also bans the use of AI to interpret the emotions of people in schools and workplaces, as well as some types of automated profiling intended to predict a person’s likelihood of committing future crimes.

The law further outlines a separate category of ‘high-risk’ uses of AI, particularly for education, hiring and access to government services, and imposes a separate set of transparency and other obligations on them.

Companies such as OpenAI that produce powerful, complex and widely used AI models will also be subject to new disclosure requirements under the law.

It also requires all AI-generated deepfakes to be clearly labelled, targeting concerns about manipulated media that could lead to disinformation and election meddling.

The sweeping legislation, which is set to take effect in roughly two years, highlights the speed with which EU policymakers have responded to the exploding popularity of tools such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT.

The legislation approved by a plenary vote in the European Parliament this week is the result of a proposal that was first introduced in 2021, which gave lawmakers a head start when the release of ChatGPT spurred an investment boom and public frenzy. (ANI)

ALSO READ-EU agrees €5 bn package to fund arms for Ukraine

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The Rise of AI in Wellbeing

Self-care will continue to headline as a defining wellness trend in 2024. Millennials spend twice as much on self-care as Baby Boomers, and 9 out of 10 Americans say they practice self-care, with a third increasing their activities recently…reports Asian Lite News

AI, mental health, and longevity are global trends driving the ever-expanding wellbeing space in 2024. “In the face of environmental, public health, and economic challenges, it’s crucial for us to reflect on our role in creating a safer, more sustainable world. We must all strive to be mindful of our consumption and adopt practices that promote individual and community wellbeing, all while preserving the natural world for future generations,” says Sunny Gurpreet Singh, founder of the Roundglass Living app and philanthropist. The wholistic wellbeing app, forecasts that personalised wellbeing will continue to be an area of growing importance with a sharper focus on science-backed approaches that leverage technology and biometric data, like wearable devices. 

Here are some of the top wellbeing trends to watch out for, according to Dr. David Vago, a neuroscientist and Research Lead at Roundglass Living, and his team:

AI and Wellbeing: AI has entered the wellbeing arena, with healthcare apps, virtual assistants, chatbots, and remote patient monitoring all growing rapidly. AI is leveraging biometric data to offer personalized insights and advanced analytics, allowing for tailored mental and physical wellbeing solutions.

Biometric Monitoring: Wearable devices are swiftly becoming 2024’s must-have accessories. Equipped with sensors that track health indicators (like sleep quality, blood glucose levels, and even stress through cortisol levels), these wearables are giving consumers unprecedented insights into their day-to-day wellbeing. XR (extended reality), VR (virtual reality), and AR (augmented reality) devices, like the new Apple Vision Pro, show both an increase in usage and strong interest in further adoption. “Health data from these devices can be responsibly mined to create personalized solutions for employee wellbeing,” says Dr. Vago.

Cold Plunges: Videos of people taking cold plunges in frozen lakes or specially designed tubs have taken over social media. It’s not just a health fad—new research supports the health benefits of exposure to extreme cold and heat, leading to a surge in adoption of thermal stress practices like cold plunges, cryotherapy, and saunas. Already, celebrities like actor Bradley Cooper, singer Harry Styles and NBA athlete LeBron James have popularised cold-water plunges in the media. Research shows that manageable stress created by sudden contact with extremely cold water can improve heart, vascular, and endothelial function, reduce the risk for dementia and stroke, and improve depressive disorders. In 2024, a team of researchers in the United Kingdom will conduct the largest, randomized controlled trial (involving over 400 people) to understand the impact of using cold-water exposure to treat anxiety disorders and depression. 

Climate-Focused Wellness: An uptick in extreme weather events across the globe has climate change at the forefront of many people’s minds. As a result, “climate-focused wellness” is poised for a meteoric rise. Environmental considerations will become increasingly important to both businesses and consumers. Expect to see more emphasis on promoting sustainability and reducing environmental impact. Businesses are increasingly aligning with a nature-positive mission, promoting global biodiversity framework goals and focusing on enhancing ecosystem health and resilience. “AI is anticipated to play a key role in protecting consumers and managing resources like water more efficiently. These trends underscore a growing recognition of the interconnectedness of climate change, biodiversity, and human wellbeing,” says Dr. Vago.

Sleep Aids: Good sleep never goes out of style—and it continues to be a major focus within the wellness industry. The market for sleep supplements (including melatonin and other natural sleep aids) has grown substantially, while high-tech sleep solutions (like thermoregulated mattresses, sleep trackers, and sound therapy practices) are gaining traction.

Self-care: Self-care will continue to headline as a defining wellness trend in 2024. Millennials spend twice as much on self-care as Baby Boomers, and 9 out of 10 Americans say they practice self-care, with a third increasing their activities recently. 

While trends capture the zeitgeist, healthy living is about making positive life choices every day—eating healthy, moving your body, getting adequate sleep at night, living mindfully, and tending to your relationships. Focus on putting the foundations in place and use these trends as inspiration to find what works for you.

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