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When Will Chatbots Become Better Than Humans? – ReadWrite

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Nate Nead


How often do you have full conversations with chatbots? It might happen more than you think. 

These days, millions of businesses are employing chatbots for sales, customer service, and dozens of other functions, giving people the fluidity and directness of conversation without requiring an actual human agent to step in

Some of the advantages of this move are obvious; if a chatbot can automatically answer basic customer questions, you don’t have to hire a person for the role. You may also see a faster response time, greater consistency, and no fatigue or frustration. 

But if your intuitions are in line with the average person’s, you’ll instinctively feel like chatbots aren’t quite at the human level yet. 

So is this intuition true? And if not, could chatbots ever become better than humans? When can they do it? 

What Constitutes “Better”? 

These are complicated questions. They’re hard to answer in part because the utility of chatbots is so diverse; you can use chatbots to field customer service questions, generate leads, or even provide direct services to paying clients in some cases. 

But these questions are also difficult because we need to acknowledge what we mean by “better.” What makes a chatbot better than a human? 

There are several dimensions in which a chatbot could hypothetically be better than a human being, and in some of those dimensions, chatbots are already objectively superior. 

Consider: 

  • Cost efficiency. In terms of overall cost efficiency, there’s no comparison. Chatbots are irrefutably more cost efficient than their human counterparts. You’ll need to pay people hourly, or pay them an annual salary, for them to execute conversational tasks for 8 hours a day – plus, you’ll need to pay to train them. While chatbots do carry upfront costs (especially if you’re building a chatbot from scratch), they easily pay for themselves since they function automatically, 24/7. 
  • Availability. The availability factor is another consideration. Human beings get tired. They get hungry. They get emotionally exhausted. But this isn’t so with chatbots. True, you can compensate for human limitations by keeping people on rotating shifts, but there’s no true substitute for the 24/7 coverage that chatbots can provide. 
  • Range of service. When it comes to range of service, human beings are real contenders. Modern chatbots can be trained to cover a wide range of topics and help customers with a wide range of issues – but it all needs to be programmed and it all needs to be predictable. Human beings are still much better at handling unexpected situations and improvising; the artificial intelligence (AI) that dictates chatbot behavior isn’t general enough to support this. 
  • Range of emotion. The emotionlessness of chatbots can be an advantage; they never become frustrated, offended, or impatient. However, many people want genuine compassion or empathy when they’re engaging with an agent – especially in certain applications. For now, human beings are better at expressing emotion and giving people a genuine, “human” experience. 
  • Training and preparation. We also need to consider the training and preparation required to get a human being or chatbot up to speed. To prepare a human for a role in customer service, sales, or a similar area, you’ll likely need to spend a few days, or even a few weeks training them. Programming a chatbot can take even longer, especially if you’re designing one from scratch; but with the chatbot, you’ll never have to worry about turnover or retraining new people. Additionally, you may have to train an entire team of human beings, but you’ll only have to train one chatbot. 
  • Communication skill. Communication skill is often at the heart of this debate. Are chatbots capable of understanding what their conversational partners are saying? Can they respond articulately and completely? The short answer is yes. As we’ll see, modern chatbots are incredibly semantically advanced. 
  • Consumer preference. Currently, consumers overwhelmingly prefer speaking to a human over a chatbot. While consumers do prefer self-service most of the time, most people don’t like the idea of trying to express their thoughts and concerns to a robot. For this reason, human beings are still better – and will likely keep this advantage for the foreseeable future. 
  • Secondary benefits. There are secondary benefits to both human beings and chatbots. For example, human beings can learn from their conversations with customers and provide qualitative feedback you can use to improve your business. But with chatbots, it’s very simple to gather data directly from conversations, and analyze those data to form objective conclusions about your business’s position. 

The Turing Test and Eugene Goostman 

For many consumers, the true test of whether a chatbot is better than a human being is whether it’s at least indistinguishable from a human. In other words, are its linguistic capabilities strong enough that they could be mistaken for an actual human? 

This is, essentially, the Turing test – a test of a machine’s ability to demonstrate intelligent behavior, devised by Alan Turing in 1950. A machine is said to “pass” the test if humans consistently struggle to distinguish between a real human and a sufficiently competent machine. 

Chatbots have been capable of passing the Turing test as early as 2001, when the chatbot known as Eugene Goostman was developed. The Goostman bot emulated a 13-year-old Ukrainian boy, and could carry out simplistic, yet linguistically diverse conversations. Participants were unable to distinguish the bot as being a machine, though there are some limitations to consider here – for example, 13-year-olds aren’t expected to carry out conversations as sophisticated as fully grown adults. 

That said, we’ve technically had chatbots that rival human conversational ability for 20 years. Is this enough to qualify them as “better” than human, given their other advantages? 

The State of AI-Based Chatbots

The most advanced chatbots of the modern era are robust and highly useful. Microsoft and Google have demonstrated technology capable of understanding human speech on par with human error rates. The latter has also demonstrated a chatbot that can literally make phone calls and make rudimentary small talk when carrying out basic tasks like setting appointments. 

Other chatbot platforms showcase their advanced nature with customizability; businesses and individual customers can use the chatbot platform to build the perfect chatbot for their needs, training it and testing it to hone it to perfection. 

Exploitability and Visible Weaknesses

There are also some major weaknesses in chatbots that we need to consider. For example, many chatbots have built-in bias from their developers, which prevent them from providing service equally to all your customers.

Other chatbots are programmed to learn from real people; they’re adaptive, and they evolve by studying the speech patterns of others. While this can be a source of major strength, it’s also exploitable. For example, Microsoft’s Tay chatbot functioned similarly when it was released in 2016, and antagonistic trolls were quick to “teach” it how to wield racist and sexually charged language. 

Finding a way to preserve advantages without opening exploitable loopholes is a challenge that humans don’t generally have to contend with. 

Can Humans Ever Be Replaced? 

It’s clear that chatbots are already better than humans in some regards, and they’re not far behind in others. If we hold this true, the big question becomes: can humans ever truly be replaced? 

Even if chatbots became so perfect that they were unquestionably better than human conversational counterparts (with no exploitable weaknesses), there would be a portion of the population who always prefers speaking with humans over bots. There’s no guarantee chatbots will ever get to this point, but it remains a realistic possibility. 

In short, chatbots are already better than we would have thought possible just 20 years ago. Another 20 years could make chatbots indistinguishable from humans even to the most perceptive conversationalists. But for now, it doesn’t look like humans will ever be completely out of the picture for conversational needs. 

Nate Nead

Nate Nead is the CEO & Managing Member of Nead, LLC, a consulting company that provides strategic advisory services across multiple disciplines including finance, marketing and software development. For over a decade Nate had provided strategic guidance on M&A, capital procurement, technology and marketing solutions for some of the most well-known online brands. He and his team advise Fortune 500 and SMB clients alike. The team is based in Seattle, Washington; El Paso, Texas and West Palm Beach, Florida.

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Gabb Wireless Raises $14M in Series A Funding Led by Sandlot Partners and Taysom Hill – ReadWrite

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Deanna Ritchie


Gabb Wireless Raises $14M in Series A Funding Led by Sandlot Partners and Taysom Hill

Gabb Wireless™ set itself apart from the crowd in 2018 when Founder and CEO, Stephen Dalby said, “enough is enough,” and began his journey to provide the only safe phones-for-kids.

LEHI, UTAH – APRIL 20, 2021

 

Dave Jensen, Managing Partner of Sandlot Partners, announced today that, “Sandlot Partners is investing and partnering with Gabb Wireless not only because of its impressive growth and positioning to lead the $30 billion smartphones-for-kids market — but also because it is providing solutions to address the significant screen time addiction problem in our society.”

Gabb Wireless™ is the first of its kind — a company determined to protect children by providing a safe cellular network for kids and their phones. Gabb created the only safe phones-for-kids serving this underserved demographic. Gabb announced this week that it closed a $14 million round of Series A, led by Sandlot Partners and New Orleans Saints quarterback, Taysom Hill.

“As an investor, Gabb checked all the boxes with its impressive growth, founding team and total addressable market. But it’s so much more than that for me. It’s the emotional side of the investment. I love the idea that we can help build something to help save kids in an area with so much need and demand. My wife Emily and I try to be pretty selective of who we tie our brand to — and when considering the chance to invest and partner with Gabb, it was a no-brainer for us and something that we are extremely excited about,” said Saints quarterback, Taysom Hill.

Stephen Dalby, Gabb Founder & CEO, announced the partnership with Sandlot Partners and Taysom Hill. “We’re excited to announce our partnership with Sandlot Partners and Taysom Hill, who share our passion for driving impact and providing solutions to the growing screen addiction among adolescents.”

“Sandlot has a strong track record of fueling growth and adding value to their portfolio companies. Taysom’s accomplishments as a BYU and Saints quarterback are well documented, and he’s also very impressive off the field and will be a great brand ambassador for the younger demographic Gabb is targeting.”

Gabb Wireless

Kids need to be protected — and Gabb resolved on an action to do just that. Gabb set itself apart from the crowd in 2018 with a steadfast purpose to get safe, effective phones into the hands of parents who want to protect their children from inappropriate content and disturbing practices on social media and games, and other screen-time issues on the internet.

For some time, it’s been known that social media is affecting our youth with cyberbullying and other societal ills. The average child or pre-teen spends about four to seven hours a day of screen time. This disproportionate amount of time in front of a screen has caused depression, anxiety, and even sexual abuse among young adolescents.

Gabb said, “enough is enough,” and began its journey as a mobile virtual network operator, creating the safest technology available for children today. Gabb offers age-appropriate products to give kids the freedom to explore and their parent’s peace of mind. Children can enjoy their first phone experience with the affordable, $100 phone that protects them from internet dangers. Learn more at www.gabbwireless.com.

Gabb has had an unprecedented year of 471% growth and will use the proceeds from the Series A financing to accelerate efforts to provide safe phones for kids and expand its product lines — increasing Gabb’s total addressable market with these safe alternatives for parents of kids ages five to 15.

Sandlot Partners

Sandlot Partners is an independent private investment firm partnering with noteworthy management owners and founders. Sandlot Partners help maximize the growth potential of businesses by providing companies with growth capital, strategic guidance, and partial liquidity. Sandlot leverages its network of founders and operators, identifies growth opportunities, helps structure, and offers additional strong risk-adjusted private investment opportunities. Sandlot investors also include family offices, strategic individuals, and like-minded institutions seeking strong alignment and providing patient capital.

Cooley, LLP, and VLP Law Group provided legal services for this transaction.

Deanna Ritchie

Managing Editor at ReadWrite

Deanna is the Managing Editor at ReadWrite. Previously she worked as the Editor in Chief for Startup Grind and has over 20+ years of experience in content management and content development.

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How to Build a Startup Team With an Entrepreneurial Mindset – ReadWrite

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Nate Nead


Much of your startup’s success will depend on the quality and integrity of the team you put together. With talented, committed, hardworking people, even a merely decent idea can turn into something groundbreaking. Conversely, even a great idea can struggle to survive if it doesn’t have a solid team in place to support it. 

Obviously, you’ll need to work hard to choose the right people for your team – individuals with a solid experiential background, proof of ample talent, and genuine passion for the business. But beyond that, you’ll need to work actively to equip your team with the right mindsets and philosophies to guide them to productive, innovative work. 

While there are conflicting opinions for what type of company culture works “best,” there’s no denying that your company can (and likely will) benefit from building a team with an “entrepreneurial mindset.” But what is this mentality, and how can you construct it from scratch? 

What Is an “Entrepreneurial Mindset?” 

Let’s start with a description of the “entrepreneurial mindset.” This is an internalized mentality, philosophy, and approach to working within the members of your team that mimics what the most ambitious entrepreneurs tend to feel. 

The mindset includes: 

  • Creativity. Entrepreneurs are creative types. They want to create new ideas, modify existing ones, and come up with inventive new ways to deal with problems. They’re not afraid to think outside the box and try out new concepts – even if they don’t work out. They also like to encourage and promote creative ideas from other people, providing feedback, direction, and motivation to their teammates. 
  • Autonomy and independence. The entrepreneurial mindset also prioritizes autonomy and independence. Entrepreneurs in a business environment don’t wait for someone else to tell them what to do, and they generally don’t have to run their ideas through a bureaucratic chain of command to take action. Instead, they trust themselves, they operate decisively, and they remain agile. In an entrepreneurial environment, your employees will function autonomously in most cases as well. 
  • Change and growth. To be an entrepreneur is to accept the importance of change and growth. The only way for your business to reach more people and make more money is to evolve; that means adding new products and services, changing internal processes, and sometimes, pivoting the entire brand. 
  • Experimentation and adaptation. You probably already know how important it is to remain flexible and adaptable when growing your business. It’s also important for your workforce. With an entrepreneurial mindset, your team of employees will be much more likely to experiment with different approaches and adapt to new scenarios. 
  • Ambitious problem solving. Successful business owners are primarily ambitious problem solvers; they understand there’s some weakness or challenge in the world and are driven to “fix it.” With this mentality, your employees will be more likely to show enthusiasm when solving problems and rising to meet challenges. 

The Value of an Entrepreneurial Team 

So what’s the real value of an entrepreneurial team? 

For starters, you can cut back on direct management and oversight. When all members of your team feel like they have a direct impact on their work environment, and when they’re empowered to do their best, they don’t need as much direction or supervision. Instead of looking over their shoulder, giving them project details, or micromanaging your employees, you can set priorities for them, trust that they’re going to work toward them, and shift your attention to more important matters. This lends itself to a less stressed, more inviting workplace – and allows you to be more productive while tackling the most important projects for your startup

An entrepreneurial mindset also leads to a diversity of thought. When individuals are encouraged to have their own ideas, thoughts, and opinions, they tend to speak more openly in a collaborative environment. They’re more willing to volunteer ideas, offer constructive criticism, and provide meaningful feedback to each other. Such an environment makes it much easier to identify and get rid of bad ideas (before it’s too late), while simultaneously establishing the groundwork for the presentation of highly ingenious concepts. 

Additionally, startups need to keep adapting if they’re going to stay alive. Over time, your target market might change, you might face new competition, and new challenges will threaten your previous approaches. The only way forward is to adapt, incorporating new systems and processes and changing your infrastructure. Ordinarily, teams of employees are reluctant to adapt – after all, most of us don’t particularly like change. However, when the team accepts the importance and value of ongoing adaptability, they’ll be much more likely to be onboard with your latest changes and experiments. 

How to Build a Startup Team With an Entrepreneurial Mindset

Now for the big question – how can you build an entire startup team with a baked-in entrepreneurial mindset? 

  • Create the culture. Everything stems from your company culture. Before you employ any of the following strategies, make sure you have a solid idea for what you want your company culture to be. What are your core values? What is the “ideal” employee mindset? How should this mindset be fostered? What rules exist, if any, to enforce this? Document your company culture guidelines first. 
  • Choose the right candidates. With a culture document in place, you’ll find it much easier to interview candidates – and find out whether they’re a good fit for this environment. Even if they have a lot of talent and experience, they may not thrive in an entrepreneurial workplace; figure this out early, before you hire someone. 
  • Lead by example. You’re the leader, so set the tone. People will follow your example. Whatever habits you want your employees to practice, incorporate them into your own daily work. 
  • Nurture from the top down. You’re not the only leader within your organization, so make sure you select and support strong leaders who can embody and spread your desired entrepreneurial culture from the top down. 
  • Encourage independent management and decision making. Sometimes, employees will have to run their idea “up the ladder” before taking action. But as much as possible, it’s important to encourage autonomy and independent decision making. Empower your employees to make their own decisions, set their own goals, and devise their own approaches to work.  
  • Stimulate creativity. Creativity is vital for an entrepreneurial mindset to thrive. Use creative brainstorming sessions, music, art, and other exercises to encourage your team to think in novel ways. 
  • Get everyone to contribute in meetings. Encourage every member of your team to contribute in your meetings. More contributors will foster an environment of openness and collaborative sharing; it will also help you ferret out the best ideas, which otherwise might be held back by nervous participants. 
  • Reward good ideas. When a member of your team comes up with a good idea or solves a complex problem, reward them and publicly praise them. It will encourage further idea generation in the future and motivate other team members to volunteer their own ideas. 
  • Respect bad ideas. It’s not just about good ideas; it’s also important to tolerate and even respect bad ideas. When someone volunteers a questionable idea or makes a poor decision, show your support. Feel free to offer feedback and criticism, but don’t make the person feel bad for trying to do something inventive or helpful. You don’t want to punish people for trying something new. 
  • Remain adaptive. The most innovative, disruptive businesses are the ones that can adapt. Encourage your team members to remain similarly adaptable, keeping an open mind for new ideas and being willing to change when necessary. 

Once your team is full of people thinking and acting like entrepreneurs, your company will be much more flexible, innovative, and productive. And best of all, this entrepreneurial culture tends to be self-sustaining; your employees will naturally spread it to new recruits and continue to foster this creative, efficient environment. 

Nate Nead

Nate Nead is the CEO & Managing Member of Nead, LLC, a consulting company that provides strategic advisory services across multiple disciplines including finance, marketing and software development. For over a decade Nate had provided strategic guidance on M&A, capital procurement, technology and marketing solutions for some of the most well-known online brands. He and his team advise Fortune 500 and SMB clients alike. The team is based in Seattle, Washington; El Paso, Texas and West Palm Beach, Florida.

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Will AI dominate in 2021? A Big Question – ReadWrite

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Faraz Qureshi


In 2020, AI had rapid transformations and unexpected developments along with excellent innovations. We, as humans have entered into the most digitalized era of all times.

Due to the pandemic of coronavirus, technology has become the central focus like never before. Internet and social media witnessed a tremendous boost as well. No doubt but the COVID-19 brought about massive success to most technological fields.

Will AI dominate in 2021? A Big Question

With progressive developments and advanced modifications in technology, Artificial Intelligence needs no introduction. This groundbreaking technology has been so promising for the past several years and is moving at an advanced pace.

We are Captivated by Artificial Intelligence

Agreeing with the fact that the technologies are captivating us completely with their interesting innovations and gadgets. From Artificial intelligence to machine learning, IoT, big data, virtual and augmented reality, Blockchain, and 5G; everything seems to take over the world way too soon.

Keeping it to the topic of Artificial Intelligence, this technology has expanded its grip on our lives without even making us realize that fact. In the days of the pandemic, the IT experts kept working from home and the tech-grounds kept witnessing smart ideas and AI-driven innovations.

Artificial Intelligence is also the new normal.

Artificial Intelligence is going to be the center of our new normal and it will be driving the other nascent technologies to the point towards success. Soon, AI will be the genius core of automated and robotic operations.

In the blink of an eye, Artificial Intelligence can be seen adopted by companies so rapidly and is making its way into several sectors. 2020 has seen this deployment on a wider scale as the AI experts were working from home but the progress didn’t see a stop in the tech fields.

For the year 2021, Artificial Intelligence is expected to level up to a great extent and is going to deliver phenomenal AI implementation.

Artificial Intelligence in 2021

Even if we talk about the days before the pandemic, AI and ML were already causing drastic changes and widespread disruption in all sectors and industries. Now after the whole year that is passed in the quarantine, in 2021 — we are expecting everything to resume back to normal.

Artificial intelligence and related technologies are going to be the biggest key components that would be impacting almost every sector. Yes, this impact is definitely going to be highly positive so we don’t have to look at the darker side — yet.

With the passing of time, AI would become a key trend that will reshape our home, personal, and work life. This can be pretty alarming right away but soon you will find the advantages that AI will bring.

-The global artificial intelligence software market is estimated to grow speedily in the coming years and would reach up to $126 billion by 2025, a recent report reflected.

In this article, I will show you the impact of Artificial Intelligence on the whole world. With the below-written trends, you will be able to gain an insight into how Artificial Intelligence is reshaping every sector.

It is predicted that whoever leads artificial intelligence in 2030 will continue to rule the world in 2100.

Trends in Artificial Intelligence for 2021

Will AI dominate in 2021? It is the hottest topic and the biggest question running through everybody’s mind.

Hyperautomation:

Artificial Intelligence is going to bring a huge change in the industry and in almost all sectors. We are looking forward to seeing Hyperautomation in every field. This is basically the idea of embedding everything with the automated processes. The repetitive tasks must be done with automation.

AI-powered solutions will help businesses a lot over here and would help these businesses to be redefined. Intelligent technologies will also reshape workplaces with phenomenal capabilities.

AI-driven dynamic operating models:

Most industries are going to adopt Artificial Intelligence for data-driven strategies and to come up with smart technologies and solutions. Due to the pandemic, almost every business has witnessed a loss. Now, everybody is pretty clear that their future plans need to be smoothed out, via Artificial intelligence.

Also, Artificial intelligence is going to bring rapid changes in decision-making as well. Companies look forward to saving their time and cost both and this would be enabled by using the AI.

Autonomous operations for increased efficiency:

In almost every sector, management looks for options that can help the company to be efficient and more secure than ever. AI will bring a boost and the businesses will implement the technology to bring autonomous operations on the stage that will enhance efficiency and the processes will get simplified.

Multiple technologies will play a significant role and the AI will become the center of the activities. Taking care of all the operations and making them more simplified and enhanced, AI will play a vital plank.

AI Engineering:

The field of Artificial intelligence engineering is on the rise. People look forward to pursuing their career paths in the niche of AI to get a secure job future. CEOs and IT leaders of the company are looking forward to deploying new artificial intelligence systems that are maintained and more simplified.

AI is also becoming the core of education and we are going to witness a huge change in the education field knowing as the personalized learning in the form of ML or machine learning. Companies are also going to go for robust engineering strategies to enhance performance.

Convergence of AI into AIoT:

The AI and IoT are turning old concepts into the new concept of AIoT — and it’s on the rise. The internet of things and artificial intelligence are being combined to come up with a newer form of technology. Adding AI into the IoT would help the AIoT to complete the tasks and to learn the data without the involvement of humans.

AIoT will be a lot more defined and will dominate the tech industry. Up to 21% of homes will become smart homes in 2021. AIoT will also be able to adjust in the cities and buildings.

Edge AI:

Another amazing concept is brought about by Artificial intelligence and the technology of the internet of things. Edge-AI is the technology of moving the decision-making process seamlessly and the provision of secure and analyzed data is the responsibility of edge AI as well. This is the pure blend of edge computing and artificial intelligence.

With the help of edge-AI, the smart devices would use AI algorithms and edge computing to come up with the data processing. This will be deployed to every smart gadget and device including mobiles, laptops, drones, robots, self-driven cars, and cameras, etc.

The total cost of AI:

Earlier, it was considered as only the tech giants can use the AI technology but now the startups and the small software initiatives can also look out for the deployment of Artificial intelligence. It is now more accessible to all the companies and they can use the tools of their choice along with the frameworks.

The projects that are powered by AI and ML are expected to grow tremendously. The companies are looking forward to integrating AI into their systems and making their processes go seamless.

Explainable AI:

Explainable AI is going to be in the trend of 2021 and is going to dominate for sure. The explainable AI would help the data scientists to create trust across all the companies and the merchandise that are dealing with the AI and ML projects. The model explainability will also be kept in front of AI experts.

The biggest artificial intelligence vendor, Google, has also offered the development tools and frameworks revolving around the concept of explainable AI. We are looking forward to seeing some more interesting projects that are based on the explainable modules of AI.

Quantum computing on rise:

If we say AI is here to stay — then it would definitely not be wrong. As we can see that along with AI, quantum computing is also on the rise. Here AI will combine with the quantum theory that revolves around the concept of computer technology and its principles. Both the technologies together are going to bring drastic changes.

With the increased demand for computer science and technology, artificial intelligence and quantum computing are the most thriving technologies of the industry.

AI as the service:

The demand for AI is rapidly increasing. People are looking for the experts of AI and the professionals who can create custom AI projects so this is indirectly helping the artificial intelligence experts to rise in demand. These professionals are working to provide IT services as well.

Artificial intelligence will continue to thrive for a very long so if the students are going to opt for this career field, they are definitely going to land a bright future.

Parting Shot:

Artificial Intelligence will continue to dominate the world in 2021. It will soon take over every sector and industry and will continue to thrive.

Faraz Qureshi

Faraz Qureshi is one of the most eminent and exceptional content writers, who has been a part of the writing industry for quite some time now. He has also been associated with assignmentmaster.co.uk as a research analyst. He has the skills to mold the words that impress others immediately.

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