Amazon Tests Humanoid Robots in Warehouses. Nokia to Cut Up to 14,000 Jobs Amid Declining Profits and leaked documents show that Windows 11 has had a disappointing take-up.
All that and how AI can resurrect you from the dead, whether you like it or not.
These and more top tech stories on Hashtag Trending
I’m your host Jim Love, CIO of IT World Canada and Tech News Day in the US.
Amazon is experimenting with humanoid robots named “Digit” in its US warehouses, as it aims to automate more of its operations.
These robots, equipped with arms and legs, can move, grasp, and handle items similarly to humans.
Despite concerns about job losses due to automation, Amazon asserts that its robotic systems have actually created “hundreds of thousands of new jobs.”
Currently, the company has over 750,000 robots working alongside its human staff, primarily for repetitive tasks. Amazon Robotics’ chief technologist, Tye Brady, emphasized that people remain central to the fulfillment process.
Amazon claims this initiative is about “freeing employees up to better deliver for our customers.” However, the move has drawn criticism from unions, with the UK trade union GMB stating that Amazon has “been treating their workers like robots for years.”
Leaked reports show that Windows 11 is lagging in adoption rates, with recent data suggesting that the operating system’s active device usage has just surpassed the 400 million mark.
This figure, leaked from an internal Microsoft document, is significantly lower than Windows 10’s adoption rate at a similar stage in its lifecycle.
While Microsoft has not officially commented on these numbers, the trend aligns with other usage statistics. For instance, Statcounter data earlier this month showed Windows 11 trailing behind Windows 10. Notably, Windows 10 had overtaken its predecessor, Windows 7, within two years of its launch.
In contrast, Windows 11, which was released in October 2021, has not seen such success. One major factor contributing to this slow adoption could be Windows 11’s stringent hardware requirements, which have deterred many from upgrading.
On the bright side? It’s not Vista.
Sources: The Register
And in more bad news Nokia, a leading telecommunications equipment manufacturer, is set to cut up to 14,000 jobs following a significant drop in net profit. This decision comes as the company faces challenges from a slowing economy, rising interest rates, and hesitant customer spending.
Nokia’s Q3 sales amounted to 5.25 billion USD, marking a 20 per cent decrease year-on-year. Additionally, the company’s net profit plummeted by 69 per cent to 140.3 million. Nokia’s chief executive officer (CEO), Pekka Lundmark, expressed confidence in the long-term market potential but acknowledged near-future uncertainties. To address these challenges, Nokia aims to reduce expenses by 844 million to $1.27 billion over three years, targeting an operating margin of 14 per cent by 2026. The company’s workforce will be reduced to between 72,000 and 77,000, down from the current 86,000.
Sources: The Register
And even the mighty Apple’s hardware sales are falling.
Ming-Chi Kuo, a leading Apple analyst, reported on Wednesday that Apple’s MacBook shipments are expected to decrease by approximately 30 per cent year over year, amounting to 17 million units in 2023. The demand for the new 15-inch MacBook Air has notably declined following the back-to-school shopping season. Consequently, MacBook shipments during Apple’s fourth quarter are anticipated to be lower than in previous years. This quarter is typically significant for Apple due to holiday shopping. Kuo attributes the decline in MacBook shipments to reduced demand from remote workers and the diminishing consumer interest in Apple’s mini-LED and silicon. He also projected over a 20 per cent drop in shipments for the 15-inch MacBook Air this year. Kuo mentioned that Apple plans no new product releases in the fourth quarter, allowing the company to manage inventory and strategize for the upcoming year.
And I’m not sure if this is good news or not.
I read a story today about how generative AI tools, such as ChatGPT and Midjourney, are being used to create videos of deceased individuals, often without prior consent. This emerging trend offers solace to grieving relatives and fans, but it also brings up significant privacy and consent issues. Zelda Williams, daughter of the late comedian Robin Williams, recently labeled AI deepfakes of her father as “personally disturbing.” She voiced her concerns in support of the SAG-AFTRA actors’ strike, highlighting the ethical implications of using AI to recreate actors posthumously.
Kim Kardashian, on the other hand, talked on Twitter about how wonderful it was that Kanye gave her an AI hologram of her dead father for her birthday.
While it makes news to talk about the use of AI to “resurrect” celebrities, the use of AI to replicate the deceased introduces new challenges to society. Some find comfort in AI recreations, but others warn of the unforeseen consequences of blurring the lines between life and death. Is a chatbot version of you really a good thing for your grieving spouse? Who will maintain those systems over time?
On the other hand, Windows might be able to resurrect comedian Henny Youngman for their commercials. “Take Windows 11. Please.”
Just more things to think about in the new AI era.
Sources: Tech Crunch
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