Pakistani stylist packs bags for big Bollywood break in Bangkok

Dubai-based Pakistani stylist Nabila is going to lead the vanity at IIFA — replacing giant company MAC. (Photo courtesy: Nabila)
Updated 11 June 2018
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Pakistani stylist packs bags for big Bollywood break in Bangkok

  • Nabila’s Zero makeup and other two flagship brands have replaced MAC Cosmetics, which managed IIFA for 16 years
  • First time a Pakistani artist will be managing the IIFA vanity

DUBAI: Veteran Pakistani stylist and image consultant Nabila Maqsood and her team are getting ready for their first major Bollywood break. Her brands Zero Makeup, N-Gents and Nabila are now the official makeup and hairstylists in the prestigious International Indian Film Academy [IIFA] awards 2018.
The biggest celebration of Indian cinema is heading to Bangkok, Thailand, on June 22-24.
Nabila has replaced MAC Cosmetics, which was the IIFA official makeup and stylist partner for more than 16 years.
Speaking exclusively to Arab News, Nabila said the selection was unexpected but she and her team are very excited. “I am overwhelmed. It is a very big honor that for the first time a Pakistani hair stylist and makeup artist will be doing this world-class event. It is a complement that such a grand event, which Mac was doing successfully for 16 years, will now be managed by us. It is very exciting.”
Bollywood stars such as Karan Johar, Shahid Kapoor, Anil Kapoor, Vidya Balan, Radhika Apte, Huma Qureshi, Dia Mirza, Ayushmann Khurana, Ritesh Deshmukh, Varun Dhawan, Ranbir Kapoor, Shahid Kapoor, Arjun Kapoor and Kriti Sanon will be participating and performing during the awards ceremony.
“The project is huge. It will involve fashion shows, an awards ceremony, dance performances and lots of other activities where loads of celebrities of MIP [most important people], VVIP [very, very important people] and VIP [very important people] level are participating and we will be doing makeup and styling for all them. It is a huge task,” she said.
Although this is Nabila and her team’s first gig in Bollywood, she is confident that her team is trained enough to manage the pressure. “We have been doing all the awards shows and fashion weeks [in Pakistan] for over 16 years now. My team can handle the entire celebrities and dance performances and other event.
“I know India has much bigger canvas and they have more superstars. But we are focused on our work. We are confident that we will do it well. My team is trained and professional enough to deal with all kinds of pressure. Moreover, we invest in our products and hence we are equipped enough to deal with such huge projects [as IIFA].”
She said her team had worked with Indian stars who had visited Pakistan over the past decade or so. However, this will be the first time that they have dealt with the entire Bollywood under one roof.
Nabila finds that Indian aesthetics, especially those with Bollywood, are larger than life. “The Indian aesthetics, especially dances, are slightly larger than life. So everything has to look very glamorous and sexy, which is very beautiful.”
Nabila’s personal favorite Bollywood hero is Shahid Kapoor. “I like Shahid Kapoor’s style only because he keeps reinventing himself and keeps on changing his looks. For men, hair and beards make all the difference. At N-Gents, I am really looking forward to set up the barbering section which hasn’t been done before.”
Having said that, Karan Johar is the Bollywood personality that Nabila is really eager to meet and work with. “Though there is a fantastic lineup of top movie stars, I am really looking forward to working with Karan Johar. I know we will become very good friends.”


Amazon’s ‘collaborative’ robots offer peek into the future

A woman works at a distribution station at the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, on February 5, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 32 sec ago
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Amazon’s ‘collaborative’ robots offer peek into the future

  • Amazon now counts more than 25 robotic centers, which chief technologist for Amazon Robotics Tye Brady says have changed the way the company operates

NEW YORK: Hundreds of orange robots zoom and whiz back and forth like miniature bumper cars — but instead of colliding, they’re following a carefully plotted path to transport thousands of items ordered from online giant Amazon.
A young woman fitted out in a red safety vest, with pouches full of sensors and radio transmitters on her belt and a tablet in hand, moves through their complicated choreography.
This robot ballet takes place at the new Amazon order fulfillment center that opened on Staten Island in New York in September.
In an 80,000 square-meter (855,000 square-foot) space filled with the whirring sounds of machinery, the Seattle-based e-commerce titan has deployed some of the most advanced instruments in the rapidly growing field of robots capable of collaborating with humans.
The high-tech vest, worn at Amazon warehouses since last year, is key to the whole operation — it allows 21-year-old Deasahni Bernard to safely enter the robot area, to pick up an object that has fallen off its automated host, for example, or check if a battery needs replacing.
Bernard only has to press a button and the robots stop or slow or readjust their dance to accommodate her.

Amazon now counts more than 25 robotic centers, which chief technologist for Amazon Robotics Tye Brady says have changed the way the company operates.
“What used to take more than a day now takes less than an hour,” he said, explaining they are able to fit about 40 percent more goods inside the same footprint.
For some, these fulfillment centers, which have helped cement Amazon’s dominant position in global online sales, are a perfect illustration of the looming risk of humans being pushed out of certain business equations in favor of artificial intelligence.
But Brady argues that robot-human collaboration at the Staten Island facility, which employs more than 2,000 people, has given them a “beautiful edge” over the competition.
Bernard, who was a supermarket cashier before starting at Amazon, agrees.
“I like this a lot better than my previous jobs,” she told AFP, as Brady looked on approvingly.
What role do Amazon employees play in what Brady calls the human-robot “symphony?“
In Staten Island, on top of tech-vest wearers like Bernard, there are “stowers,” “pickers” and “packers” who respectively load up products, match up products meant for the same customers and build shipping boxes — all with the help of screens and scanners.
At every stage, the goal is to “extend people’s capabilities” so the humans can focus on problem-solving and intervene if necessary, according to Brady.
At the age of 51, he has worked with robotics for 33 years, previously as a spacecraft engineer for MIT and on lunar landing systems of the Draper Laboratory in Massachusetts.
He is convinced the use of “collaborative robots” is the key to future human productivity — and job growth.
Since Amazon went all-in on robotics with the 2012 acquisition of logistics robot-maker Kiva, gains have been indisputable, Brady says.
They’ve created 300,000 new jobs, bringing the total number of worldwide Amazon employees up to 645,000, not counting seasonal jobs.
“It’s a myth that robotics and automation kills jobs, it’s just a myth,” according to Brady.
“The data really can’t be denied on this: the more robots we add to our fulfillment centers, the more jobs we are creating,” he said, without mentioning the potential for lost jobs at traditional stores.

For Brady, the ideal example of human-robot collaboration is the relationship between “R2D2” and Luke Skywalker from “Star Wars.”
Their partnership, in which “R2D2” is always ready to use his computing powers to pull people out of desperate situations “is a great example of how humans and robots can work together,” he said.
But despite Brady’s enthusiasm for a robotic future, many are suspicious of the trend — a wariness that extends to the corporate giant, which this month scrapped high-profile plans for a new New York headquarters in the face of local protests.
Attempts by Amazon employees to unionize, at Staten Island and other sites, have so far been successfully fought back by the company, further fueling criticism.
At a press briefing held last month as part of the unionization push, one employee of the facility, Rashad Long, spoke out about what he said were unsustainable work conditions.
“We are not robots, we are human beings,” Long said.

Many suspect Amazon’s investment in robotics centers aims to eventually automate positions currently held by humans.
For Kevin Lynch, an expert in robotics from Northwestern University near Chicago, the development of collaborative robots is “inevitable” and will indeed eventually eliminate certain jobs, such as the final stage of packing at Amazon for instance.
“I also think other jobs will be created,” he said. “But it’s easier to predict the jobs that will be lost than the jobs that will be created.”
“Robotics and artificial intelligence bring clear benefits to humanity, in terms of our health, welfare, happiness, and quality of life,” said Lynch, who believes public policy has a key role to play in ensuring those benefits are shared, and that robotics and AI do not sharpen economic inequality.
“The growth of robotics and AI is inevitable,” he said. “The real question is, ‘how do we prepare for our future with robots?“