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Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?
1 —Twitter Circle is finally live globally, meaning deeper subtweets for all.
Twitter’s new feature — called Twitter Circle — is now available to users worldwide. The feature gives you the option to select an audience to send restricted, individual tweets to. With Twitter Circle, you can create an exclusive group of up to 150 Twitter followers and tweets shared in it won’t be visible to users who aren’t in your exclusive cohort. The feature is now available on desktop, Android, and iOS. (Source: Mashable)
Why this is important for your business:
This is an interesting feature for small businesses active on Twitter. You can create your own “brain trust” or groups of customers, partners, suppliers or others in your industry and then share thoughts with each other without the general public seeing.
2 — The New York City AI bias law is charting new territory for employers.
The New York City AI bias law will penalize employers for bias detected in any artificial intelligence hiring tools. These tools include algorithms used to pinpoint ideal candidates to software that analyzes body language. The law is causing companies to scramble and audit their AI tools prior to January 2023, when the law goes into effect. (Source: Bloomberg Law)
Why this is important for your business:
Whether or not artificial intelligence tools for recruiting and interviewing – and there are many of them hitting the market – are biased remains to be seen. But it’s a growing issue. I like to recommend these tools to my clients because the idea is that they help to minimize bias in the interviewing process. But then again…they are written by people, right? New York’s law, I’m betting, will be the first of many new regulations that will require employers to evaluate the tools they’re using for HR and not just assume that they don’t have inherent bias.
3 —ROBE Array could let small companies access a popular form of AI.
Rice University computer scientists are working to make deep-learning recommendation models (DLRM) accessible to small businesses. ROBE Array — Rice’s “random offset block embedding array” — uses an algorithm that considerably cuts down the size of the memory structure of DLRM. This means that those without access to the engineering expertise or high-end hardware required for larger systems will still be able to benefit from the models. (Source: Science Daily)
Elon Musk last year lamented how difficult it is to create autonomous vehicles because to the incredible amount of AI processing that must happen inside a car’s computer to make split second decisions. The ROBE Array may help to solve this problem and may make it easier for hardware to handle more AI processing, and as a result more powerful AI applications for small businesses in the not-so-distant future.
4 — Instacart is launching the Big & Bulky fulfillment solution for retailers.
Instacart is rolling out a new feature called Big & Bulky. Big & Bulky will allow large items — such as home office supplies, outdoor furniture, and electronics — to be delivered the same day they’re ordered on the Instacart app. Some of the first retailers to partner with Instacart include Office Depot, Staples, Spirit Halloween, Mastermind Toys, Container Store, and Big Lots. (Source: Retail Tech Innovation)
Why this is important for your business:
Obviously it’s the big box stores who are doing this first. But smaller chains and individual retailers will likely be next in line. If your shop sends out products to customers through Instacart I think the Big & Buy solution may become important for you.
5—Back-to-school shoppers are taking more ‘buy now, pay later’ loans
A recent TransUnion study revealed that approximately 40 percent of shoppers would use BNPL to purchase supplies for back-to-school. This number is up from only 2 percent of consumers who responded to TransUnion’s 2021 Consumer Holiday Shopping Survey said they’d use BNPL. Inflation seems to be a main cause of the rise in BNPL use, with 55 percent of study participants saying they anticipate having to spend more on back-to-school supplies this year. (Source: The Street)
Why this is important for your business:
BNPL is becoming more common amongst retailers even as big tech companies like PayPal and Apple jump in and existing BNPL leaders like Klarna and Affirm are struggling. These solutions could be good consumer alternatives from credit cards but they come with risks for the consumer, particularly if they don’t pay their bills on schedule. If you’re a small retailer I think you should be offering BNPL as one of your pay options. But warn your customers too. It’s the right thing to do.