July 14, 2020

  • Microsoft has laid off a considerable number of journalists working on news curation and replaced them with Artificial Intelligence (AI).  Although the company has denied any connections between this decision and the Covid-19 pandemic, it claims it is purely a business decision. Link

 

Why this is important : Having denied this is unconnected to the Covid-19 pandemic,  it then shows the drop in quality of unpaid news content.  Microsoft News shares same similarities with Google News which is purely a news aggregation service.  Following this,  is then, the question about other aspects of news productions like editing and investigative journalism. Are we going to see AI handle these delicate aspects of journalism in the near future?

Experts have argued that AI can get biased based on the premise that it acts based on data fed into it or trained with by humans. Are we entering  an era of journalism without accountability and morals?

 

  • Nigeria’s Tax collector,  the Federal Inland Revenue Service(FIRS) has announced a new and encompassing Stamp Duty regime. It covers printed ATM receipts,  SMS and email alerts,  transactions done on Instant Messaging platforms like Whatsapp and Telegram etc.  However,  tenancy agreement is pegged at 6%.  Link

 

Why this is Important :  This could unintentionally drive more people into cash transactions in bid to avoid this duty considering some items have a low profit margin as low as N100, thereby,  defeating the Cashless Policy initiatives of the Central Bank. Again, this could likely see the acceptance of cryptocurrency as a medium of payment receipt and business transactions all in a bid to avoid the reach of this new Stamp Duty Act.

 

  • Bytedance,  the parent company to the short video-sharing app Tiktok,  is quietly moving top management and research executives out of China.  Remember, just last week in the last editionof the RoundUp,  we considered the importance of hiring Kevin Meyer,  a top Disney’s executive to lead Tiktok US. Link

 

Why this is Important : There may have been a quiet deal in the background between US lawmakers and data protectors and Tiktok’s management.  This could also be an effort to become a bit ‘mediagenic’ and regulator-friendly as it grows.

Importantly,  it could signal a loosening grip of the China’s Communist Party on homegrown businesses that are finding fame beyond the Chinese market.

  • Walmart has announced a five-year partnership with Microsoft.  This,  according to Walmart will  ‘…further accelerate Walmart’s Digital Transformation in retail,  empower its associates and make shopping faster and easier… ‘.   This partnership entails the migration of activities of walmart.com, samsclub.com and  its enterprise business to Microsoft Azure and 365.  Link

 

Why this is Important :  This is a strong signal that  Walmart is gearing up for a serious push into e-commerce,  which means a squaring up against Amazon.  The recent shutdown of Jet.com acquired years ago is another pointer to this new focus. It also gives Walmart gift of duality: to serve its customers in the physical shops and on the internet.

For Microsoft,  this partnership solidifies its status as the leading provider of Cloud Infrastructure while at the same time helping Walmart dethrone its main rival,  Amazon.

 

You Should Read This:

Latest version of Google Chrome to support Augmented Reality with WebXR: Link

HBO Max and Blue Apron have gone into partnership:  Link

 

Numbers:

£50m: Marks and Spencer has shaved off £50m from its marketing budget on Clothing and Home.  Link

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