Amazon Debuts Wellness Program to Curb Workplace Injuries

With the goal of lowering workplace injuries 50 percent by 2025, Amazon introduced its WorkingWell safety and injury prevention program. Chief executive Jeff Bezos has long focused on common warehouse manual labor injuries, especially MSDs (musculoskeletal disorders), most recently in his annual letter to shareholders. WorkingWell will offer employees with physical, mental and nutritional support in every U.S. operation by the end of 2021. The program, which comes as Amazon looks to hire 75,000 new workers, targets “recordable incident rates,” an OSHA measurement for worker injury and illness. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Wellness Program to Curb Workplace Injuries

Facebook Is Rebuffed in Bid to Block Irish High Court Ruling

Ireland’s High Court dismissed Facebook’s procedural efforts to block a draft decision of the country’s Data Protection Commission to suspend its data flow between the European Union and the United States. The European Union decision was intended to protect the privacy of European users, whose data was being sent to U.S. computer servers, and Facebook contended that the Data Protection Commission, which issued its preliminary decision in August, gave it too little time to respond. The court originally stayed the decision in September. Continue reading Facebook Is Rebuffed in Bid to Block Irish High Court Ruling

Rotten Tomatoes to Debut Channel on Roku, Peacock, Xumo

Rotten Tomatoes has been synonymous with movie scores since it was cooked up by three UC Berkeley undergrads in 1998. The site aggregates reviews from professional critics and provides a “Tomatometer” that averages out the reviews with a Fresh rating when 60 percent or more are positive or Rotten if it goes below that threshold. It also provides an audience score, based on what Rotten Tomatoes users think. Now, the company is debuting an ad-supported OTT service called the Rotten Tomatoes Channel, currently on Roku, to offer nonstop content and a lifestyle brand. Continue reading Rotten Tomatoes to Debut Channel on Roku, Peacock, Xumo

USC Researchers Find Bias in Deepfake Detectors’ Datasets

The advent of deepfakes, which replace a person in a video or photo by likeness of someone else, has sparked concern that the ease of using machine learning tools to create them are readily available to criminals and provocateurs. In response, Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft sponsored the Deepfake Detection Challenge, which resulted in several potential tools. But now, researchers at the University of Southern California found that the datasets used to train some of these detection systems demonstrate racial and gender bias. Continue reading USC Researchers Find Bias in Deepfake Detectors’ Datasets

Shortage of Integrated Circuits Will Drive Up Cost of Displays

Sales of televisions, laptops, tablets and other electronic devices have soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, as people switched to working and learning online. It also sparked a shortage of semiconductors that is now predicted to last until 2023. NPD reported that, also as a result of the shortage, prices of larger TV sets have skyrocketed about 30 percent year-over-year from last summer, and some manufacturers of tablets and other devices relying on chips are warning about imminent price increases due to shortages. Continue reading Shortage of Integrated Circuits Will Drive Up Cost of Displays

South Korea Invests Big to Build Out Advanced Chip Industry

South Korea plans to invest about $450 billion in semiconductor manufacturing over the next decade in an effort to establish dominance in this key technology sector. One hundred fifty-three companies will follow a national blueprint devised by President Moon Jae-in’s administration, led by Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix, which raised their investment to 510+ trillion won in semiconductor research and production from now until 2030. The U.S., China and Europe are all building up their semiconductor manufacturing capacity. Continue reading South Korea Invests Big to Build Out Advanced Chip Industry

Early Results of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Roll-Out

Two weeks ago, as part of the iOS 14.5 update, Apple instituted its App Tracking Transparency feature which requires apps to ask users’ permission to be tracked. So far, an estimated 13 percent to 40 percent of users are agreeing to that proposition, and some Facebook advertisers revealed their ad campaigns are being negatively impacted by losing access to users’ Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA). In addition, ad buyers revealed they are having problems with Facebook’s advertising tools including Ads Manager and Audience Network. Continue reading Early Results of Apple’s App Tracking Transparency Roll-Out

Amazon Wins Appeal Against European Commission Decision

A European Union court struck down a 2017 European Commission decision ordering Amazon to pay $300 million (250 million Euros) in taxes, saying that regulators failed to prove the company had an illegal advantage and that its analysis was “incorrect in several respects.” The Commission’s executive vice president Margrethe Vestager has spearheaded a campaign against several Big Tech companies, including Apple and Google. It was her second recent defeat after the General Court overturned a 2016 decision against Apple. Continue reading Amazon Wins Appeal Against European Commission Decision

YouTube to Reward Creators of Shorts with $100 Million Fund

YouTube unveiled its $100 million YouTube Shorts Fund, which rewards creators who post the most engaging clips on its new “TikTok-style” feature. The program will debut in Fall 2021 and continue into 2022. Shorts was introduced in India before debuting in the U.S. in March. Regarding monetization, YouTube plans to experiment, including testing ads, sometime this year. YouTube Shorts director of global partnership enablement Amy Singer said the company will “reach out” to thousands of creators every month. Continue reading YouTube to Reward Creators of Shorts with $100 Million Fund

U.S. Will Remove Chinese Phone Maker Xiaomi From Blacklist

The U.S. Defense Department removed Xiaomi from a blacklist preventing U.S. investment in the Chinese tech company, an action taken during the Trump administration that alleged the company had ties with the Chinese military. Two months ago, in a Washington D.C. court, a judge criticized the rationale behind the blacklisting and ordered a temporary halt against its enforcement. Xiaomi shares rose 6.1 percent in Hong Kong following the news. TikTok and WeChat also found redress against Trump-era actions against them. Continue reading U.S. Will Remove Chinese Phone Maker Xiaomi From Blacklist

Industry Alliance Promotes Secure, Royalty-Free IoT Standard

The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), an industry group spearheaded by Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google and SmartThings and focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), has debuted Matter, an interoperable, secure connectivity standard for the future smart home. Formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance, CSA came together with those key Big Tech companies in 2019 to develop and promote an open IoT standard. Matter is a royalty-free unified IP-based connectivity protocol built specifically for IoT systems that enable communication among smart devices. Continue reading Industry Alliance Promotes Secure, Royalty-Free IoT Standard

IBM CodeNet Enables AI Translation of Computer Languages

During its Think conference this week, IBM debuted Project CodeNet, an open-source dataset for benchmarking around AI for code. Project CodeNet consists of 14 million code examples, which makes it about 10 times larger than the most similar dataset, which has 52,000 examples. Project CodeNet also offers 500 million lines of code and 55 programming languages including C++, Java, Python, Go, COBOL, Pascal and Fortran, making it a Rosetta Stone for AI systems to automatically translate code into other programming languages. Continue reading IBM CodeNet Enables AI Translation of Computer Languages

ByteDance’s TikTok Tests E-Commerce and Job Search Tools

In Europe, TikTok is working with streetwear label Hype and other brands to test in-app sales, a first step towards competing with Facebook in the e-commerce arena. Parent company ByteDance’s China-only app Douyin did $26 billion in e-commerce in its first year of operation. Sources reported that TikTok is already working with vendors in various European markets including the United Kingdom. TikTok is also working on another pilot program to connect people hunting for jobs with companies looking for employees. Continue reading ByteDance’s TikTok Tests E-Commerce and Job Search Tools

Amazon Is Busy Fighting Counterfeit Goods and Fake Reviews

In its first Brand Protection Report, Amazon revealed that it “seized and destroyed” 2+ million counterfeit products sent to Amazon warehouses in 2020 and “blocked more than 10 billion suspected bad listings before they were published in our store.” The products were destroyed so they would not be “resold elsewhere in the supply chain.” This number, however, only represents products from sellers that used Amazon fulfillment services. Amazon also removed tech accessory brands linked to fake review schemes. Continue reading Amazon Is Busy Fighting Counterfeit Goods and Fake Reviews

Amazon and Apple Expand the Capabilities of Mesh Networks

Wireless bandwidth emitted by our Amazon and Apple devices is being used by other nearby devices to supplement existing Wi-Fi. Now, Amazon and Apple are expanding those programs. Amazon Sidewalk is adding post-2018 Echo devices including Echo speakers, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Plus and Echo Spot devices and newer Ring Video Doorbell Pro models to communicate on the Sidewalk network via Bluetooth. Apple’s new AirTag device also sends out a wireless signal that can be used by iPhones, iPads and Macs in the area. Continue reading Amazon and Apple Expand the Capabilities of Mesh Networks