Welcome to Wednesday and the latest tech news
1. Home tweet home
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey has emailed staff to tell them that when the lockdown finally ends and everyone can return to work – he doesn’t think it will be before September – staff will be able to continue to work from home.
In a blog post on the company’s site, Twitter’s Vice President, People, Jennifer Christie, said: “We were uniquely positioned to respond quickly and allow folks to work from home given our emphasis on decentralization and supporting a distributed workforce capable of working from anywhere. The past few months have proven we can make that work. So if our employees are in a role and situation that enables them to work from home and they want to continue to do so forever, we will make that happen.”
2. Slack crashes
On the same day Altassian announced it was buying Slack-based startup Halp, the now indispensable work-from-home teams communication tool crashed for a few hours around 10am Sydney time, robbing workplaces of cat memes and banter and bosses the chance to check in on what their teams are up to.
You may be unable to connect to Slack at the moment. We're very sorry for the disruption and we're doing our best to get you back online as fast as we can. Please follow along here: https://t.co/WqzwGMsZaj
— Slack (@SlackHQ) May 13, 2020
3. Elon’s freedom fight
First he was going to up his HQ and leave the oppressive regime in California, now Elon Musk is restarting the Tesla line, reportedly in defiance of local lockdown laws.
Musk has the backing of the Trump administration and the California state governor, but he deferred to officials Alameda county, who said they’re working with Tesla to reopen the plant provided it meets a number of health steps, including screening procedures.
But they weren’t hammering out a deal fast enough for Musk, who announced on Tuesday that he was going to lead the resistance from the front line of his factory floor, claiming on Twitter that he’d been “singled out.
Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
Yes, California approved, but an unelected county official illegally overrode. Also, all other auto companies in US are approved to resume. Only Tesla has been singled out. This is super messed up!
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 11, 2020
4. Facebook pays $52m to traumatised content moderators
Facebook is paying US$52 million in compensation to content moderators suffering from PTSD after having to review traumatic videos and photos, such as murders, sexual assaults and suicides.
The Verge reports that the settlement in a California court involves 11,250 past and present moderators from 2015 to now, who will receive a minimum of US$1,000, as well as additional counselling, with $1500 for each related condition, such as depression and addiction to a maximum of $50,000 for anyone who sustained additional injuries.
5. AI-captioning service expands to US
Australian captioning, transcription and translation venture Ai-Media, which augments human capabilities with artificial intelligence to produce low-cost captioning for more than 2 million minutes of live and recorded video a month, has bought US captioning services company Alternative Communications Services (ACS) to accelerate its North American expansion.
The acquisition follows a A$10.3 million (US$6.6m) funding round from new and existing investors, including CVC Emerging Companies Fund and US-based technology investor Anzu Partners.
In January, Ai-Media provided 153 hours of live captioning for every the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, with live, simultaneous translations into six languages, as well as being part of the Zoom boom.
In the past three years, the proportion of Ai-Media’s revenue generated outside of Australia has risen from approximately 5% to more than 25 per cent, with the company confident this will pass 50 per cent by 2021-22.
Ai-Media Chair Deanne Weir said there are a number of tailwinds supporting Ai-Media’s ambition to build a global business.
“These include the rise of remote learning and working, the growing popularity of video as a communications medium and the increasing number of jurisdictions around the world mandating captioning to ensure access for all,” she said.
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