To get a roundup of TechCrunch's biggest and most important stories delivered to your inbox every day at 3 p.m. PDT, subscribe here. Welcome to Daily Crunch for May 25, 2021. Whether you are a developer, a startup fanatic or merely someone with wanderlust, we have something for everyone today. Well, except for disappointed investors in Lordstown Motors. They are stuck holding the bag today after the American electric vehicle company announced a pretty awful set of earnings.
COVID-19 has turned the world of work on its head, with many of us having spent most of 2020 separated from our colleagues and logging-in to greet each other every day from our bedrooms, living spaces, and other cobbled-together places of work. It's a year that has asked a lot of us all, and with 2021 now – somehow – on the horizon, many will be wondering what the next 12 months has in store. One thing seems certain: the new remote-working landscape hastily hammered out by 2020 won't be disappearing any time soon. In fact, working from home at least part of the time looks set to be the new way of doing things for the foreseeable future. And while organizations might have a better grasp on the technical challenges than they did at the start of the year, there is still a litany of issues to overcome if we want to make this "new normal" truly work.
For some, it will soon be a year since the last time they set foot in an office. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to sweep through countries, it is sometimes hard to remember that days were once punctuated by a daily commute, water cooler chats and afterwork drinks. But although the timeline is still unclear, offices will inevitably re-open in the future – leaving many wondering what kind of a workspace they will be stepping into on the day that they get to dust off their office shoes. Analysis firm CCS Insights predicts that in 2022 more than half of all office-based employees will still work mainly remotely. Whether you are team WFH, or increasingly desperate to return to the comfort of an office desk, one thing is for certain: with half of the workforce at home, at least on a semi-permanent basis, workspaces will no longer be designed to accommodate floods of employees coming in every morning for another nine-to-five shift.
Artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace has long been a sensitive topic. Many people see it as robots taking over their jobs, while some firms remain sceptical about the technology due to the costs. But, in the face of the coronavirus crisis many businesses have come around to the benefits of AI. According to a report by Forrester, AI adoption grew by 15 percentage points in 2020. Forrester suggests that firms will tackle all the negative ideas of AI in 2021. Forrester says that in 2021, "the grittiest of companies will push AI to new frontiers, such as holographic meetings for remote work and on-demand personalised manufacturing."
As many of us have moved to working from home and many companies have decided to keep remote working ... [ ] as a permanent option, the future of jobs looks like it will be increasingly digital but also increasingly focused on wellbeing and self-management. Human skills, not technology alone, will help us through the'double-disruption' of Covid and automation. A new report by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on the Future of Jobs has highlighted the need to build on self-management and critical thinking skills, so that we can harness an increase in automation and an impending Covid-triggered recession to usher in a new wave of jobs that take advantage of both automation and human creativity and adaptability. As the pandemic has pushed many people into working remotely and using many different technologies to work and relax, the importance of wellbeing as well as the utility of technology have come into stark focus, and created a unique foundation on which to build new jobs and a new way of working. For many years, automation technologies have been changing how we work, by taking on more of the mundane, repetitive tasks that they are designed for.
San Francisco-based Dropbox announced Tuesday that it will stop asking employees to come into its offices and instead make remote work the standard practice, even after the coronavirus pandemic ends. "Remote work (outside an office) will be the primary experience for all employees and the day-to-day default for individual work," the company said in a blog post. For employees who need to meet or work together in person, the company is setting up "Dropbox Studios" in San Francisco, Seattle, Austin and Dublin when it's safe to do so. The company extended its mandatory work-from-home policy through June 2021. "We'll have Studios in all locations we currently have offices--whether they're dedicated spaces in places we currently have long-term leases and a high concentration of employees (San Francisco, Seattle, Austin, and Dublin to start) or on-demand spaces in other geographies," the company said.
An ongoing health crisis and a global recession: even for the most attuned of analysts, the past months have brought in a load of unexpected events that have made the coming years especially difficult to envision. Yet research firm CCS Insights has taken up the challenge and delivered a set of 100 tech predictions for the years 2021 and beyond. The exercise is an annual one for the company, which last year anticipated, among many other things, that the next decade could see the rise of deep fake detection technology, or the adoption of domestic robots in some households. One year later, and many of those predictions have been affected in one way or another by the COVID-19 pandemic. "What we've seen in the last few months has completely transformed a lot of the areas we cover," Angela Ashenden, principal analyst at CCS Insights, told ZDNet.
An on-going health crisis and a global recession: even for the most attuned of analysts, the past months have brought in a load of unexpected events that have made the coming years especially difficult to envision. Yet research firm CCS Insights has taken up the challenge and delivered a set of 100 tech predictions for the years 2021 and beyond. The exercise is an annual one for the company, which last year anticipated, among many other things, that the next decade could see the rise of deep fake detection technology, or the adoption of domestic robots in some households. One year later, and many of those predictions have been affected in a way or the other by the COVID-19 pandemic. "What we've seen in the last few months has completely transformed a lot of the areas we cover," Angela Ashenden, principal analyst at CCS Insights, told ZDNet.
Google staff will work from home until at least July 2021. The company is the first technology company to publicly commit to keeping its remote working policies in place into 2021, in an attempt to give staff more clarity on how long they would be working from home. Other tech companies – including Facebook and Twitter – have committed to allow most employees to work remotely indefinitely, even after coronavirus-related shutdowns lift. But no other company of Google's scale has given such a long-term commitment that its offices would stay largely shut. Google's decision will affect "nearly all" of the roughly 200,000 full-time, contracted Google employees, the WSJ said. Sundar Pichai, Google's chief executive, took the decision after a call with executives last week, the paper claimed.
Blue Prism on Wednesday unveiled a revamped version of Blue Prism Digital Exchange (DX), its marketplace for enterprises looking for AI skills, connectors and functions. The new version makes it easier for Blue Prism partners and developers to list their intelligent automation capabilities. It also includes a private version of the marketplace for customers with rigorous security demands. The DX has more than 500 assets available to download from more than 100 active partners, Blue Prism says. The aim is to eliminate the need for robotic process automation (RPA) developers to build their own AI processes.