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This week's best deals: $20 off Google's Nest Audio and more

Engadget

This week brought a bunch of deals on new gadgets, including Amazon's rotating Echo Show 10 and Google's Nest Hub. The former dropped to a new all-time low while the latter remains 20 percent off at various retailers. AirPods Pro are more than $50 off right now, and Amazon Prime members can snag the Fire TV Stick Lite for only $20. Here are the best tech deals from this week that you can still get today. The Nest Audio smart speaker is still $20 off across the web, bringing to down to $80.


Walmart invests in GM-owned autonomous car startup Cruise

Engadget

Walmart is signaling its commitment to autonomous deliveries with a new investment in self-driving company Cruise. The two already have a cozy relationship, having recently worked together on a delivery pilot in Scottsdale, Arizona. Walmart was so impressed with Cruise's "differentiated business, unique tech and unmatched driverless testing" that it decided to take part in the GM subsidiary's $2.75 billion funding round. The investment will see Cruise become an important part of the retailer's "last mile delivery ecosystem" -- industry parlance for the final journey from warehouse to customer. Walmart has struck additional partnerships on driverless deliveries with companies including Google's Waymo, Ford and Udelv.


Adoption of AI and Cloud Computing by retailers to advance their Businesses

#artificialintelligence

Retailers are now applying AI, ML, and robotics in significant parts of the value chain. Above all, AI technologies could eliminate many manual activities in assortments, promotions, and supply chains. The three most remarkable opportunities in the short to medium term are promotions, arrangement, and replenishment. Significant retailers are trying different things with AI around these areas. "Digital native" e-commerce organizations are driving the way, using AI to anticipate trends, optimize advanced warehousing and logistics, set costs, and customize advancements and promotions.


AI and ML for Personal Customer Experiences (CX)

#artificialintelligence

In 2017, the Economist stated that the world's most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data. Four years later, this concept is only increasing in truth. Thanks to the revolutionary promises of 5G, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) possibilities are transforming the value of the data collected on consumers and our habits every single day. With 5G usage predicted to explode in coming years with over 1 billion 5G connections by 2023, the possibilities of AI and ML solutions are seemingly becoming limitless. Gone are the days when your mobile phone or laptop are the only devices collecting your data.


Protecting people from hazardous areas through virtual boundaries with Computer Vision

#artificialintelligence

As companies welcome more autonomous robots and other heavy equipment into the workplace, we need to ensure equipment can operate safely around human teammates. In this post, we will show you how to build a virtual boundary with computer vision and AWS DeepLens, the AWS deep learning-enabled video camera designed for developers to learn machine learning (ML). Using the machine learning techniques in this post, you can build virtual boundaries for restricted areas that automatically shut down equipment or sound an alert when humans come close. For this project, you will train a custom object detection model with Amazon SageMaker and deploy the model to an AWS DeepLens device. Object detection is an ML algorithm that takes an image as input and identifies objects and their location within the image.


Tech retailer Newegg finally scraps 15-year ban on the name 'Mohammad'

Mashable

Newegg users can now give their name as "Mohammad" when leaving reviews, because apparently they couldn't do that before. The online tech retailer is revising its language filter after it was called out for banning one of the most popular names in the world -- for 15 years. The issue was brought to light by Mohammad Al-Tayyar, a government worker in Kuwait, who discovered it after attempting to review one of the products on Newegg's website. "I was writing a review @Newegg and the system marked my name (Mohammad) as: "UNACCEPTABLE WORDS USED -- offensive language," Al-Tayyar tweeted on Wednesday, sharing a screenshot of the error message. "Is my name offensive @Newegg?" Other users were quickly able to duplicate this, indicating that Al-Tayyar's experience wasn't just an unfortunate bug. "Just verified this - I guess @Newegg wants your reviews unless you have the most common first name on Earth," tweeted game developer Rami Ismail. I was writing a review @Newegg and the system marked my name (Mohammad) as: "UNACCEPTABLE WORDS USED - offensive language". Is my name offensive @Newegg? Speaking to Mashable via DM, Al-Tayyar said he'd been trying to review a laptop and NAS storage he'd purchased for his 6-year-old daughter, who was using them for remote learning. He was shocked to see Newegg flag his name as potentially offensive "in a big red alert all in caps." For Al-Tayyar, the alert was yet another example of the damaging, pervasive nature of Islamophobia. Fear and hatred of Arab and Muslim people has caused even the most innocent elements of their culture to be regarded with suspicion, inflicting undeniable harm to these communities. "Every time I see a movie in the media or the video games...[a]ll the Arab/Muslims [are] displayed as the bad, evil, stupid thieves," said Al-Tayyar, noting that Arab people are often negatively depicted as "in the desert with the camels." "Now the system [is] telling me I have to change my name?" Our team looked into the list of words and looks like it was added in 2006. Words were added when used inappropriately on our site, so likely there was an incident back then that led to this. Regardless, we feel this is wrong and are updating the list as we speak. Al-Tayyar told Mashable he emailed Newegg about this issue, but has not yet received a response. However, Newegg did quickly respond on Twitter, apologising and stating that "Mohammad" has now been removed from its list of prohibited words. According to Newegg, the name had been on its banned list since it was first added in 2006. The company stated it had banned religious terms that were being misused, including "Jesus" and "God." "Words were added when used inappropriately on our site, so likely there was an incident back then that led to this," wrote Newegg's official Twitter account. "Regardless, we feel this is wrong and are updating the list as we speak.


AI-powered virtual assistants and the future of work

ZDNet

A decentralized company that is globally and intelligently connected, one whose employees can work from anywhere, whose customers and partners can succeed from anywhere, and whose definition of success includes all its stakeholders, is a boundless company. A boundless company has a new operating system that includes a shift in mindset and greater adoption of emerging technologies. This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet / TechRepublic special feature, helps business leaders understand the trends and technologies that will define the workplace over the next five years. The future of work has us moving away from a physical office and tethered workflow where you are chained to your desktop, laptop, or mobile device and advancing to a much more interactive experience through every digital channel -- smart speaker, webchat, messaging, SMS, and email. Many enterprise's end-customers are digital natives, as we see younger buyers who grew up in a digital omnichannel world.


How businesses can use AI to get personalisation right - Information Age

#artificialintelligence

Without doubt, personalisation has huge benefits. When done well, the return on investment is significant. Recent research conducted by Wunderman Thompson Technology revealed that 35% of consumers are willing to give more of their personal data to brands if it improves the online experience. They value their data being used to provide loyalty-based discounts (55%), to be shown products tailored to their requirements (36%) and to be served offers based on their preferences (33%). When first party data is willingly exchanged, providing customers with these kinds of personalised experiences clearly adds value.


This smart robot vacuum is back down to its Black Friday price of $99 at Walmart

Mashable

As of April 5, the ionvac SmartClean 2000 robot vacuum is on sale at Walmart for just $99 -- that's 45% off its usual retail price of $179.88. Buying a robot vacuum is truly a "get what you pay for" experience where the less you're willing to spend, the fewer bells and whistles you'll find among the options in your price range. Dip under the $200 mark, and your robot vacuum "is mostly going to act as a supplemental cleaning device" to a beefier upright model, writes Mashable shopping reporter Miller Kern. That's where the ionvac SmartClean 2000 is different: It's spec lineup is stacked with features like mobile app integration, smart assistant support, automatic charging, and a three-stage cleaning system with a whopping 2000pa of suction power -- more than double that of iRobot's entry-level Roomba 675 -- yet it retails for just $179.88. You can actually get it for even cheaper, if you're quick: Walmart had it on sale at its Black Friday price of $99 as of April 6 -- that's a whole 45% off (and an absolute steal).


MLSys 2021: Bridging the divide between machine learning and systems

#artificialintelligence

Machine learning MLSys 2021: Bridging the divide between machine learning and systems Amazon distinguished scientist and conference general chair Alex Smola on what makes MLSys unique -- both thematically and culturally. Email Alex Smola, Amazon vice president and distinguished scientist The Conference on Machine Learning and Systems ( MLSys), which starts next week, is only four years old, but Amazon scientists already have a rich history of involvement with it. Amazon Scholar Michael I. Jordan is on the steering committee; vice president and distinguished scientist Inderjit Dhillon is on the board and was general chair last year; and vice president and distinguished scientist Alex Smola, who is also on the steering committee, is this year's general chair. As the deep-learning revolution spread, MLSys was founded to bridge two communities that had much to offer each other but that were often working independently: machine learning researchers and system developers. Registration for the conference is still open, with the very low fees of $25 for students and $100 for academics and professionals. "If you look at the big machine learning conferences, they mostly focus on, 'Okay, here's a cool algorithm, and here are the amazing things that it can do. And by the way, it now recognizes cats even better than before,'" Smola says. "They're conferences where people mostly show an increase in capability. At the same time, there are systems conferences, and they mostly care about file systems, databases, high availability, fault tolerance, and all of that. "Now, why do you need something in-between? Well, because quite often in machine learning, approximate is good enough. You don't necessarily need such good guarantees from your systems.