Research

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  • The talented Mr. Robot: The impact of automation on Canada’s workforce
    The talented Mr. Robot: The impact of automation on Canada’s workforce
    Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and advanced robotics, have the potential to fundamentally change our work and daily lives. In recent years, the understanding of how these technological trends will impact employment has been at the forefront of many recent public debates. Each week there seem to be more and more articles being released about how “robots are taking our jobs.” For the most part, this rich discussion has been driven by the work of many prominent academics and researchers. Unsurprisingly, there are many competing viewpoints. Some argue that disruptive technology will be the driving force behind massive unemployment. Others posit that any potential job loss will likely be offset by productivity increases and employment growth. Despite the extensive literature, this discussion is largely taking place without the use of Canadian data. Although, we know that Canadians are not immune from the effects of automation, and that technological trends will likely have enormous implications for many Canadian industries. But the gap in Canadian-specific knowledge often means that we lack the tools to understand the impact of automation within our own borders. This limits our ability to begin to plan for potential disruption. We therefore felt that it would be useful to apply the findings from the existing literature to the Canadian workforce. To do so, we used methodologies both from both Oxford professors Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne and from management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which have been employed in other jurisdictions, and applied them both to Canadian data for the first time. It is our goal to help Canadians better understand the effects that automation can have on our labour force. Overall we found that nearly 42 percent of the Canadian labour force is at a high risk of being affected by automation in the next decade or two. Individuals in these occupations earn less and are less educated than the rest of the Canadian labour force. While the literature suggests that these occupations may not necessarily be lost, we also discovered that major job restructuring will likely occur as a result of new technology. Using a different methodology, we found that nearly 42 percent of the tasks that Canadians are currently paid to do can be automated using existing technology. But the data does not paint an entirely negative picture. Using the Canadian Occupation Projection System (COPS), we found that the occupations with the lowest risk of being affected by automation are projected to produce nearly 712,000 net new jobs between 2014 and 2024. As with any type of forecasting exercise, there are always going to be uncertainties associated with the predictions. However, we do hope that this study provides a tool to help guide future decision-making., Lamb, C. (2016). The talented Mr. Robot: The impact of automation on Canada’s workforce. Toronto, Ontario: The Brookfield Institute for Innovation Entrepreneurship.
    The trainees' perspective on developing an end-of-grant knowledge translation plan
    The trainees' perspective on developing an end-of-grant knowledge translation plan
    Implementation Science 2010, 5:78. doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-78, BACKGROUND: Knowledge translation (KT) is a rapidly growing field that is becoming an integral part of research protocols.METHODS: This meeting report describes one group's experience at the 2009 KT Canada Summer Institute in developing an end-of-grant KT plan for a randomized control trial proposal.RESULTS: Included is a discussion of the process, challenges and recommendations from the trainee's perspective in developing an end-of-grant KT plan.CONCLUSION: New researchers should consider developing an end-of-grant KT plan with strategies that move beyond passive dissemination to incorporate innovative means of collaboration with the end user to craft the message, package the information and share the research findings with end users.
    The validity of self-reported cancer screening history and the role of social disadvantage in Ontario, Canada
    The validity of self-reported cancer screening history and the role of social disadvantage in Ontario, Canada
    Background Self-report may not be an accurate method of determining cervical, breast and colorectal cancer screening rates due to recall, acquiescence and social desirability biases, particularly for certain sociodemographic groups. Therefore, the aims of this study were to determine the validity of self-report of cancer screening in Ontario, Canada, both for people in the general population and for socially disadvantaged groups based on immigrant status, ethnicity, education, income, language ability, self-rated health, employment status, age category (for cervical cancer screening), and gender (for fecal occult blood testing). Methods We linked multiple data sources for this study, including the Canadian Community Health Survey and provincial-level health databases. Using administrative data as our gold standard, we calculated validity measures for self-report (i.e. sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratios, positive and negative predictive values), calculated report-to-record ratios, and conducted a multivariable regression analysis to determine which characteristics were independently associated with over-reporting of screening. Results Specificity was less than 70% overall and for all subgroups for cervical and breast cancer screening, and sensitivity was lower than 80% overall and for all subgroups for fecal occult blood testing FOBT. Report-to-record ratios were persistently significantly greater than 1 across all cancer screening types, highest for the FOBT group: 1.246 [1.189-1.306]. Regression analyses showed no consistent patterns, but sociodemographic characteristics were associated with over-reporting for each screening type. Conclusions We have found that in Ontario, as in other jurisdictions, there is a pervasive tendency for people to over-report their cancer screening histories. Sociodemographic status also appears to influence over-reporting. Public health practitioners and policymakers need to be aware of the limitations of self-report and adjust their methods and interpretations accordingly., Lofters, A., Vahabi, M., & Glazier, R. H. (2015). The validity of self-reported cancer screening history and the role of social disadvantage in ontario, canada. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 28-28. doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1441-y
    Theism, Possible Worlds, and the Multiverse
    Theism, Possible Worlds, and the Multiverse
    This paper appears in Philosophical Studies 147 (2010): pp.355-368. The published version can be found online at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/821k362025475266/fulltext.pdf
    Theistic Replies to the A Priori Argument for Atheism
    Theistic Replies to the A Priori Argument for Atheism
    This paper first appeared in Philo 8 (2005): 22-36. It was subsequently reprinted as Chapter 13 of Wainwright, W. [Ed.] (2010) Philosophy of Religion: Critical Concepts in Philosophy, New York: Routledge, pp. 238-253., In the central chapter of Can God Be Free?, William Rowe offers what amounts to an a priori argument for atheism. In what follows, I first clarify this argument, and I then defend it against recent criticisms due to William Hasker. Next, however, I outline four ways in which theists might plausibly reply to Rowe's argument.
    Thermal and Fire Characteristics of FRP Composites for Architectural Applications
    Thermal and Fire Characteristics of FRP Composites for Architectural Applications
    This paper discusses the main challenges of using fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs) in architectural applications. Architects are showing increased interest in the use of FRPs in modern buildings thanks to FRPs’ ability to allow cost effective realization of unique shapes and flexible aesthetics, while accommodating architectural designs and needs. The long-term durability, weathering resistance, and the exceptional mechanical properties have recently suggested the adoption of FRPs for building façade systems in an increasing number of buildings worldwide. However, some challenges for a wider adoption of FRPs in buildings are represented by the environmental and thermal aspects of their production, as well as their resistance to the expected “fire loads”. This last aspect often raises many concerns, which often require expensive fire tests. In this paper, the results of cone calorimeter tests are compared with software simulations to evaluate the possibility of designing FRPs on the computer as opposed to current design practice that involves iterative use of fire testing. The comparison shows that pyrolysis simulations related to FRPs are still not an effective way to design fire safe FRPs for architectural applications., Berardi, U., & Dembsey, N. (2015). Thermal and fire characteristics of FRP composites for architectural applications. Polymers, 7(11), 2276-2289. doi:10.3390/polym7111513
    Thinking through the basics: What we shouldn't take for granted about devices and networks delivering digital health services
    Thinking through the basics: What we shouldn't take for granted about devices and networks delivering digital health services
    • This presentatIon outlines some questIons and observatIons to encourage critIcal thought about what how digital technologies can be brought into healthcare. • The context is the use of smartphones and applicatIons to support patIent engagement with the healthcare system., Thinking through the basics: What we shouldn't take for granted about devices and networks delivering digital health services. Digital Potentials For Health: Narrowing The Divide. Canberra. May 2016.
    Through a lens darkly: how the news media perceive and portray evangelicals
    Through a lens darkly: how the news media perceive and portray evangelicals
    Studying news is a guarantee against running out of research ideas. Who could have predicted the uproar over the behaviour of a Canadian prime minister at a Catholic funeral for a former Governor General? Perhaps only David Haskell, author of a new book, Through a Lens Darkly: How the News Media Perceive and Portray Evangelicals, that examines how Canadian journalists report on evangelical Christians., Smith, J. (2010). Through a Lens Darkly: How the News Media Perceive and Portray Evangelicals. Canadian Journal Of Communication, 35(1). Retrieved from http://www.cjc-online.ca/index.php/journal/article/view/2270/2153, Through a Lens Darkly: How the News Media Perceive and Portray Evangelicals. By David M. Haskell. Toronto: Clements Academic, 2009. 289 pp. ISBN 9781894667920
    Throughput Maximization Based on Optimal Access Probabilities in Cognitive Radio System
    Throughput Maximization Based on Optimal Access Probabilities in Cognitive Radio System
    Well-established fact shows that the fixed spectrum allocation policy conveys to the low spectrum utilization. The cognitive radio technique promises to improve the low efficiency. This paper proposes an optimized access strategy combining overlay scheme and underlay scheme for the cognitive radio. We model the service state of the system as a continuous-time Markov model. Based on the service state, the overlay manner or/and the underlay manner is/are used by the secondary users. When the primary user is not transmitting and only one secondary user has the requirement to transmit, the secondary system adopts the overlay scheme. When the primary user is transmitting and the secondary users want to transmit simultaneously, an underlay scheme with an access probability is adopted. We obtain the optimal access probability in a closed form which maximizes the overall system throughput, M. Elalem and L. Zhao, "Throughput Maximization Based on Optimal Access Probabilities in Cognitive Radio System," Communications and Network, Vol. 5 No. 3, 2013, pp. 204-210. doi: 10.4236/cn.2013.53024.
    TiO2 Nanofibrous Interface Development For Raman Detection of Environmental Pollutants
    TiO2 Nanofibrous Interface Development For Raman Detection of Environmental Pollutants
    Sensor development has been reliant on planar Au and Ag nanoparticle research. The current findings explored a unique 3-D network of crystalline TiO2nanoparticles linked as nanofibers. In addition to the favorability of using TiO2 for chemical and bio-molecular sensing, the nanofiber network provides molecular diffusion control and an increased confocal volume signal. Controlled femtosecond laser synthesis is also demonstrated that directly impacts surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy detection of two common environmentally harmful chemicals: bisphenol A and diclofenac sodium salt. These findings assert that 3-D nanofibrous network porosity optimization is crucial for Raman monitoring of drinking water.
    Time-varying window length for correlation forecasts
    Time-varying window length for correlation forecasts
    Forecasting correlations between stocks and commodities is important for diversification across asset classes and other risk management decisions. Correlation forecasts are affected by model uncertainty, the sources of which can include uncertainty about changing fundamentals and associated parameters (model instability), structural breaks and nonlinearities due, for example, to regime switching. We use approaches that weight historical data according to their predictive content. Specifically, we estimate two alternative models, ‘time-varying weights’ and ‘time-varying window’, in order to maximize the value of past data for forecasting. Our empirical analyses reveal that these approaches provide superior forecasts to several benchmark models for forecasting correlations. Keywords: model uncertainty; variance and correlation forecasts; time-varying window length, Jeon, Y., & McCurdy, T. (2017). Time-Varying Window Length for Correlation Forecasts. Econometrics, 5(4), 54., (This article belongs to the Special Issue Volatility Modeling)
    Timing for delivering individualized patient education intervention to coronary artery bypass graft patients: an RCT
    Timing for delivering individualized patient education intervention to coronary artery bypass graft patients: an RCT
    Background: The primary focus of this study is on the timing of the delivery of education to patients who had CABG surgery. Aim: To determine the efficacy of an individualized telephone patient education intervention, delivered at two different points in time (1–2 days pre-discharge versus 1–2 days post-discharge) in enhancing the CABG patient's knowledge of self-care behaviours, performance of self-care behaviours, and symptom frequency. Method: A randomized clinical trial that included a convenience sample of first time CABG patients. Individuals who received education pre-discharge were compared to individuals who received education post-discharge on the outcomes. Results: Results indicated no statistically significant difference in outcomes between the two time points. As well, anxiety levels were found to be significantly higher in the pre-discharge group than the post-discharge group. Conclusions: The individualized nature of the educational intervention may have accounted for non-significant findings reported in outcomes between the two time points. Practice implications: Nurses may consider assessing anxiety levels prior to delivery of educational interventions, implement interventions aimed at reducing anxiety levels, and provide individualized teaching., Fredericks, S. (2009). Timing for delivering individualized patient education intervention to coronary artery bypass graft patients: An RCT. European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, 8(2), 144-150.