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Amazon to Open Cashierless Whole Foods Stores Next Year

Amazon plans to open two “Just Walk Out” Whole Foods stores in 2022, in Washington D.C. and Sherman Oaks, California, leveraging the same technology used in its Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh stores. The company also offers the technology for sale to other retailers. This marks the first time that Amazon is using its cashierless technology at the 500-store Whole Foods, which it bought in 2017. Shoppers enter and leave the store by scanning a QR code in Amazon or Whole Foods apps and motion sensors track their shopping choices. Read more

Intel Announces Plans to Build Two Chip Factories in Europe

Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger announced plans to build two semiconductor factories in Europe valued up to $95 billion, as part of an effort to ease the current worldwide chip shortage. Gelsinger added that Intel could expand the investment over a decade to the equivalent of “as much as €80 billion.” At an auto event in Munich, Gelsinger said, “this new era of sustained demand for semiconductors needs bold, big thinking.” Meanwhile, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. also plans to spend $100 billion in the next three years to increase chip production and Samsung is making similar moves. Read more

NBC Sets New Record for Price of Super Bowl Commercials

NBCUniversal announced that it has been selling 30-second ad spots for the NFL’s Super Bowl LVI for as much as $6.5 million, marking an 18 percent increase over the last Super Bowl and establishing a new rate record. Notably, the ad rate suggests that advertiser demand remains strong for the live broadcast despite shrinking audiences. The game is slated for February 13, 2022, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. In addition, NBC has nearly sold out its advertising for the Beijing Winter Olympics, also scheduled for February. The Super Bowl and Winter Olympics have a schedule overlap for the first time. Read more

Apple’s Autonomous Vehicle Chief Accepts New Post at Ford

Tesla veteran Doug Field joined Apple in 2018 to lead the tech giant’s self-driving car initiative. Now, his abrupt departure to join Ford Motor Company as its chief advanced technology officer brings the future of Apple’s project into question, including the progress it has made thus far. Field is Apple’s fourth executive to lead the project in its seven-year history. Other notable manufacturers pursuing autonomous vehicles — including Tesla, Alphabet’s Waymo and Uber Technologies — have had a difficult time advancing the technology. Read more

Federal Judge Rules AI-Enabled Machines Are Not Inventors

U.S. District judge Leonie Brinkema just ruled that an artificial intelligence-enabled computer cannot be listed as an inventor on patents and that only humans can be inventors under U.S. law. That’s because, according to Federal law, an “individual” must take an oath that he/she is the inventor and the term “individual” is legally defined as a natural person. The ruling was in response to University of Surrey law professor Ryan Abbott’s effort, the Artificial Inventor Project, to get a computer listed as an inventor. Read more

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