Files from Jori Negin-Shecter
Elon Musk disputes the Hertz deal, Zillow is backing out of the home buying market, and Facebook has shut down its face recognition.
It’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Thursday, November 4th, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.
Despite a reported deal between Hertz and Tesla last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk emphasised in a tweet yesterday that “no contract has been signed yet.” The message comes despite Hertz telling outlets including the BBC that the cars were on their way and that deliveries had already begun. The deal, which is the largest of its kind for electric vehicles, would reportedly see Hertz acquire 100,000 Tesla Model 3s over the next year, with a network of charging stations also being built to support the changing infrastructure. Hertz declined to comment on Musk’s tweet, noting that it “did not discuss details of its business relationships or discussions.”
According to an article from The Verge, real estate app Zillow is attempting to sell nearly $3 billion in houses to investors after they had hoped to flip them. Zillow had reportedly found itself with an excess of houses, according to a report from Bloomberg, and had stopped buying houses despite telling investors it planned to ramp up its flipping business. The move is part of a broader shift from the organization to move away from house flipping entirely, as announced on Tuesday in its earnings report. The company is set to lose nearly half a billion dollars as a result, and is set to lay off a quarter of its employees, citing the volatility of the housing market as the primary reason for the move.
Finally, Facebook is planning to shut down its facial recognition program, according to a report from CNBC. The decision has been spurred by growing concerns from users and regulators, and will result in the deletion of over 1 billion individual faces. As a consequence, however, the change will also reportedly affect Facebook’s alt text technology used to describe images for those that are visually impaired.
And now for something a little bit different. The waterways of Amsterdam will have a new driver, with an autonomous boat taxi riding through the city. The self-driving boat, which has been aptly named the Roboat III, has been tested in various capacities since 2015, with its older sibling the Roboat II riding the waves last year as a “blocky, eyesore-yellow model, two meters in length, that was able to carry two passengers.” The new boat will feature a more stylish design, in addition to being able to carry up to five passengers and 1500 kg in cargo. The boat is also fully electric, with enough battery power to drive itself among the canals for 10 hours at a time.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire Newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. If you have a suggestion or tip, please drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thanks for listening, I’m Samira Balsara.