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The European Union is considering an AI ban

Salesforce’s Vala Afshar said it best: “In the last 20 years, software ate the world. In the next 20 years, AI will eat software.” Artificial Intelligence (AI) may well chomp away, but not without first being put on a diet. The EU is considering a partial AI ban that will be formally announced April 21, according to a draft proposal picked up by Politico. The proposed ban is the first of its kind Europe’s legislative body will...

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Health care is the latest Big Tech battleground

It’s no secret that America spends on health care. In 2019, that spending reached $3.8T ($11.6k per person). By 2028, it’s projected to hit $6.2T. To the folks in Big Tech, any number with a “T” means one thing: opportunity. This week, Microsoft showed it’s serious about the space The company announced the $19.7B acquisition of Nuance Communications, known for its AI transcription tools for health care professionals. Nuance...

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The skyrocketing cost of lumber, explained

Wood is typically used for building roofs. Now it’s known for blasting through them. Lumber prices are up nearly 260% since April 2020, following a perfect storm of surging demand and diminished supply. And it all started with a simple backlog… At the start of the pandemic, sawmills anticipated weak demand and limited production by up to 30%. To their surprise, demand turned out stronger than ever: DIY boom: While the US economy...

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How Kim Kardashian West entered the 3-comma club

Keeping Up With the Kardashians may be ending, but Kim Kardashian West is just getting her show on the road. Forbes estimates Kardashian West is now worth $1B, up from $780m in October. How’d she shape into the billionaire she is today? Shapewear. A whole lot of shapewear. In 2019, Kardashian West launched Skims. Today, the not-even 2-year-old brand is on fire: Skims did $145m in sales last year and predicts $300m in 2021 The brand...

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The state of social media, by the numbers

Findings from a new Pew Research Center survey on America’s social media use make 2 things clear: Older folks have a thing for Mark Zuckerberg (50% of Americans 65+ are on Facebook) America is obsessed with YouTube The video site towers over the social platforms Among US adults, 81% report using YouTube, up 8% year-over-year. YouTube was the only platform other than Reddit that saw significant growth since 2019. (This is Pew’s...

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US Army eyes the future, awards Microsoft $21.9B contract for AR headsets

You know Microsoft is up to something interesting when its newest gadget feels straight out of “Call of Duty.” This week, the US Army said it’s dishing out a massive contract to the tech company to supply advanced mixed reality headsets for soldiers. It’s not Microsoft’s first foray into national defense: In 2018, the Army landed a $480m deal with Microsoft to build prototypes of the Integrated Visual Augmented System...

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OpenAI is open for business

Last year, San Francisco-based AI lab OpenAI released GPT-3, its latest attempt at a program that writes like humans. To do this, the program is trained using 175B parameters. For context, all of the English Wikipedia is estimated to make up just 0.6% of the training data. Now, OpenAI is looking to bring in the dough The lab was founded as a nonprofit in 2015, but created a for-profit offshoot in 2019 to help drive funding, including a...

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The EV delivery market is charging up

Photo: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images In just a few short months, 2021 has witnessed a push for electric vans that shows no signs of running low on power. Between the pandemic’s ecommerce boom and broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions, the EV delivery market is getting hot. Nearly all major players are putting the pedal to the metal: Amazon is buying 100k Rivian-built vans FedEx recently promised an all-electric fleet by 2040 UPS...

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The short-lived era of extremely cheap travel is coming to an end

Photo: SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP via Getty Images Last summer, transport-related expenses saw historic dips: The average domestic airline ticket plummeted to $135 — a 32% decline from 2019 and the lowest price in 2 decades. Average daily hotel rates fell ~40%, to $80. Oil prices dropped to below $0 per barrel — yes, $0 — for the first time in history, and gas hovered around $2/gallon. But per CNBC, we may soon see these rock-bottom...

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The White House confirmed its FTC appointee, and she’s coming for Big Tech

From 1980 through 2019, the top 5 stocks in the S&P 500 averaged 13% of the index’s total market value. Today’s top 5 — Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, and Google — represent over 20%. That could soon change. Earlier this week, the Biden administration confirmed plans to appoint antitrust scholar Lina Khan to a commissioner role at the FTC. Biden wants to properly execute antitrust regulation… … because last time...

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Snap’s latest story: An acquisition to power up its ecommerce apparatus

Snaps may start and finish in a matter of seconds, but the company’s growth is likely to remain steady for quite some time. Snap now boasts 265m daily users (+22% year-over-year) — and on average those users open the app 30 times per day to collectively snap 5B+ photos. Now, Snap’s looking to monetize its users through an acquisition of Berlin-based retail tech startup Fit Analytics. Snap is making an ecommerce push Fit Analytics...

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Big Tech loves using Wikipedia. Now, the free site is planning an enterprise product.

Chances are, you use Google to find answers. Chances also are, Google uses Wikipedia to find answers to your questions. Partly because of this — and other cases like it — Wikipedia’s site traffic has remained static for years. That’s a problem for the Wikimedia Foundation — a nonprofit that relies on site traffic to drive donations that support its existence. And Big Tech is the main culprit  Google, Microsoft, Facebook,...