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Tara Smith: Beauty begins at the roots

Tara Smith: Beauty begins at the roots

Tara Smith: Beauty begins at the roots

By Sydney Radclyffe for Box News

The beauty industry isn’t typically associated with ethical values, either social or environmental, but Tara Smith is guiding this particular market towards meaningful change.

The Hollywood institution-turned-entrepreneur’s eco-friendly, vegan line, Tara Smith Haircare, has redefined expectations of ethical beauty. Tara’s brand proves that consumers can be kinder to themselves and the planet while enjoying a high-quality product.

Box Media spoke with the 3rd-generation hairdresser to learn about her journey and the values which shaped it.

How things got started

The seed for her company was planted early in Tara’s life. Spending time in her grandmother’s salon as a child, she noticed how regular use of traditional, chemical-laden products aggravated the skin. Tara soon realised that this was happening to all our bodies on some level.

Decades later, this troubling knowledge would push her to start her own line of vegan hair products. Tara’s desire to drive change manifested in a company culture that doesn’t prioritise financial success or visibility. Instead, she genuinely champions industry and consumer responsibility for the health of individuals and the planet.

Foundations in Hollywood

For almost 20 years, Tara worked as lead and personal hairstylist on over 35 major film titles. During this time Tara formed connections with some of Hollywood’s most prominent creative names.

Although she started her career journey in a very different place, working in the film industry provided the foundation for Tara Smith Haircare. Tara’s wealth of experience helped to demonstrate the gap in the market for healthy, eco-friendly hair products delivering a world-class standard of quality. Based on the high demand she saw from this small group of professionals, Tara knew that the public would undoubtedly take an interest too.

Helping to start the ethical self-care revolution

Winning the 2006 Celebrity Hairdresser of the Year award gave Tara the momentum to finally launch her brand. At the time, the vegan movement was in its infancy and not quite yet a buzzword, let alone a widely-available option for everything from dairy to cleaning products.

In Tara’s words, “What you put on your body is just as important as what you put in your mouth.”

This quality formed the backbone of her business’ ethos, and in many ways presaged the ethical self-care movement. While many, at first, were sceptical of the appeal of vegan haircare, ethical products have since flooded the mainstream.

Others have, of course, realised the value of ‘vegan’ and ‘ethical’ as labels. But Tara has never approached this as a trend. For her, caring for oneself and the environment is vital to a healthy, happy existence.

Tara Smith Haircare is cruelty- and animal product-free and non-toxic. It won’t harm the ecosystem through the water supply, unlike the majority of beauty and cleaning products. Whether or not others share her commitment, Tara laid the groundwork for other vegan companies to grow. Tara was at the beginning of the movement to make ethical products more accessible and affordable for the average consumer, not a privileged few.

A lifelong commitment to doing good things with good people

The positive impact of Tara’s company is almost impossible to calculate, yet she never intended to become an innovator. Throughout her career, she’s stuck to the principle of “doing it from the heart”, whatever “it” might be. 

Tara’s radical, non-discriminating care for people and the planet has grown in tandem with her resources, and she believes in taking the opportunity to “pay it forward” whenever possible. 

Having worked in the past with actress and activist Patricia Arquette, Tara joined the board of GiveLove, an NGO headed by Arquette which is working to improve global sanitation. 

Above all, Tara is proof that you don’t have to choose between ethics and success in business. In fact, by uniting the two, you can make more of an impact than you ever thought possible. 

From this angle, the positive impact of Tara’s company is likely impossible to calculate, yet none of her work was thought up just to make waves, and she never intended to become an innovator; throughout her career she has stuck fast to the principle of “doing it from the heart”, whatever “it” may be. Her radical, non-discriminating care for people and the planet alike has only grown larger in tandem with her resources, and she is a firm believer in taking the opportunity to “pay it forward” whenever possible. Having worked in the past with actress and activist Patricia Arquette, she joined the board of GiveLove, an NGO headed by Arquette which is working to improve global sanitation.

Above all, Tara is proof that you don’t have to choose between ethics and success in businessin fact, by uniting the two, you might make more of an impact than you ever thought possible. 

Visit www.tarasmith.com and get to know Tara Smith Haircare.

Paul Daugherty: Technology is neutral

Paul Daugherty: Technology is neutral

Paul Daugherty: Technology is neutral

By Anna McDonald for Box News

AI and related technologies have already indicated positive outlooks for general quality of life and the future of work, health care and education. But, they’ve emerged as a potential locus of inequality, too, potentially leading to the increased power and wealth of a few.

Weighing up the risks and rewards

The most significant challenge in regulating the use and impact of new technologies is that the very same characteristics which offer the greatest benefits may also create the greatest risks. Neither outcome is necessarily more likely than the other, but represent a choice in how we engage with these technologies.

We have nothing to fear

Instead of fearing AI, we must recognise its essentially neutral character. To realise this is to understand the technology and ensure that its purpose aligns with our values. New technologies are only as ‘good’ as those who implement them, highlighting the need to responsibly re-skill employees to use the power of technology to ‘re-humanise’, not dehumanise, the workplace.

Paul Daugherty, CTIO of Accenture, says:

“Technology is neutral. Humans decide how to use it. You can use an axe to cut your crops or to kill your neighbour. The choice is yours, not the axe’s.”

Watch this short interview, and let us know what you think on Twitter. 

Milena Marinova: AI is only as dangerous as we are

Milena Marinova: AI is only as dangerous as we are

Milena Marinova: AI is only as dangerous as we are

By Sydney Radclyffe for Box News

By now, it’s clear to most people that Artificial Intelligence (AI) is essential. These days, the media seems to talk about little else, from the realm of automated technology to discussions about education and data security issues. But, it’s also apparent that many people are suspicious, worried, and simply uninformed about what AI is, what it does, and what it could do in the future.

Experts in the tech field (like Elon Musk), have warned of the possible dangers of AI, often using catastrophic language that provokes fear. To get a clearer picture of the situation, we sat down with Milena Marinova, Senior VP in charge of AI Products and Solutions at Pearson, a global company focused on bettering education.

Beware of bias, perception and hyperbole

Milena starts by explaining that biases are often partly shaped by pessimistic attitudes toward AI. Language and perception are critical when it comes to public opinion, and ‘Artificial Intelligence’, as it’s known by most, is usually called ‘machine learning’ within the industry. This difference is significant.

AI has often been shown by Hollywood and the media in an unfavourable or sinister light, leading to widespread negative connotations. In contrast, the friendlier-sounding ‘machine learning’ is a term fewer members of the public would recognise, yet both labels describe systems able to perform tasks requiring human-level intelligence.

Robots won’t be taking over the world – unless we ask them to

The public’s most significant worries about AI stem from fears of a loss of control, imagining an environment where humans put too much trust in intelligent machines and are eventually outsmarted, to be left at the ‘mercy of the robots’. Milena rejects the idea of AI as an out-of-control force separate from humanity. After all, a computer will only do what it’s programmed to by its creator. So, it’s entirely up to humans to create the AI systems we want to see in the world. These are human creations designed to solve human problems and not an imposing foreign force.     

AI isn’t as prevalent as some people think

The constant buzz around AI makes it seem as though it’s already in every part of our daily lives, with some taking this as proof that the first step of the ‘robot takeover’ is underway.

According to Milena, the number of practical applications for AI in consumer-facing products is still relatively low. Outside of personalisation in streaming services and virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, the average person is unlikely to interact with AI on a day-to-day basis.

AI systems are currently much less developed than many people assume, and fears over the impending arrival of dangerous, autonomous robots are, as of yet, conjecture.

The future is ours – and we have a responsibility to protect it

According to Milena, strong human leadership with an ethical grounding are of great importance as we look to the future of AI. Responsibility for these systems rests entirely with us, and the closer we get to creating artificial near-human intelligence, the higher the need will be for new codes of ethics and management.

As is pointed out in most conversations about AI, no matter how intelligent systems may become, they will always lack human compassion, emotion, and a moral compass. Greater cooperation between the public and private spheres will be of vital importance in the near future. Tech companies and corporations must be transparent in collaborating with governments to create legislation around AI.

Milena believes that a holistic understanding of the potential problems caused by AI, as well as solutions it could provide, is the most crucial step toward a safer future, in which the tools we rely on leave us more time to ‘be human’.