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Archivo del Autor: Belen De Leon

China’s Didi teams up with state-owned BAIC to deepen electric vehicle push

Didi Chuxing, China’s largest ride-hailing startup which claims over 550 million registered users, is deepening its focus on electric vehicles after it announced a joint venture with BAIC, a state-owned automotive giant.

‘Jingju’ — as the venture is called — is a partnership between Didi and BAIC affiliate Beijing Electric Vehicle that will develop “next-generation connected-car systems” using fleet management, AI and other tech, according to an announcement made today.

The exact scope of Jingju is not exactly clear from the details released so we’ve asked Didi for more information. We’ll update this post with more details as and when we get them.

Didi has long talked about plans to bring more environmentally-friendly vehicles into its fleet in line with efforts across China — Shenzhen, for example, has implemented electric taxis and buses. Back in late 2017, the company announced plans for its own EV charging network and, today, it claims that it has nearly 400,000 “new energy” vehicles on its platform. Didi says it clocked up 31 million registered drivers to date, so there’s obviously a lot of work to be done to raise the EV/hybrid representation.

But BAIC is an ideal partner to make that happen. Not only is it a key automaker in China but it has pledged to stop selling fuel-powered vehicles by 2025.

The joint venture is likely to tie into Didi’s existing driver services business, which helps drivers get access to services that include leasing and purchase financing, insurance, repairs, refueling, car-sharing and more. Essentially, with its huge army of drivers, Didi can get preferential rates from service providers, which means better deals for its drivers.

That, in turn, is helpful for recruiting new drivers and growing the business which is under threat because of new regulations that look set to limit the number of people who can drive for Didi.


Source: TechCrunch

BuzzFeed employees demand it pay out earned PTO to all laid-off U.S. staffers

A group of current and former BuzzFeed employees are asking the company to pay out paid time off to all recently laid-off staff. In response, Lenke Taylor, BuzzFeed’s human resources lead, said it wants to meet with staff and is “open to re-evaluating” its decision on PTO.

In an open letter to Smith, BuzzFeed’s CEO Jonah Peretti, and editor in chief Ben Smith, and signed by more than 400 employees so far, the BuzzFeed News Staff Council wrote “BuzzFeed is refusing to pay out earned, accrued, and vested paid time off for almost all U.S. employees who have been laid off.” The BuzzFeed News Council, which describes itself as “a group of employees appointed to open up the lines of communication between News employees and company management,” added that BuzzFeed is only paying out PTO to employees in California, where it is required by law.

BuzzFeed announced last week that it is laying off 250 employees, or 15 percent of its workforce. In an employee memo, Peretti said the lay offs were done to help BuzzFeed sustain growth without seeking additional rounds of funding. The company has raised almost $500 million over the past decade, including a $200 million flat round in 2016.

“This is paid time that employees accrued by choosing not to take vacation days, and instead do their work at BuzzFeed,” the letter read. “Many of the employees who have been laid off had the most difficult jobs in terms of scheduling—such as the breaking and curation teams on BuzzFeed News who regularly worked weekends and holidays, or managers who weren’t able to use vacation time because they were expected to be available to their teams.”

“For many people, paying out PTO will be the difference between whether or not bills and student loans will be paid on time and how their families are supported,” it continued. “It is unconscionable that BuzzFeed could justify doing so for some employees and not others in order to serve the company’s bottom line.”

BuzzFeed’s laid-off employees received a severance of a minimum 10 weeks pay, and benefits through April. Taylor’s response to the petition’s organizers said the company wants to meet with staff to discuss the issue:

“We would like to have a dialogue with the news staff council and staff from other departments on PTO payout. We are open to re-evaluating this decision but we think it is important for everyone to understand the tradeoffs in changing the PTO practice, how we came to the decision to offer everyone a minimum of 10 weeks salary, and the ways we’ve adjusted our severance to be fair and competitive in every state we operate,” she wrote.

Taylor added that the company will follow up with employees by the end of Monday to schedule a meeting.


Source: TechCrunch

Star Wars Resistance episode 14: The Doza Dilemma raises the stakes – CNET

Kidnapping and a big twist bring delicious levels of danger.
Source: CNET

Elon Musk jokes about Rick and Morty defense system for Teslas – Roadshow

Let’s just say other drivers will think twice before denting your car.
Source: CNET

Bill and Ted sequel 'hilarious,' Steven Soderbergh says at Slamdance – CNET

The long-awaited Bill and Ted Face the Music could be released at Christmas. No way!
Source: CNET

Privacy Groups Claim Online Ads Can Target Abuse Victims

Complaints filed in Europe claim internet companies categorize users based on potentially sensitive browsing habits, and then use those labels to target ads.
Source: Wired

Crear bebés superinteligentes, además de inmoral, es imposible

Tres expertos en edición genética afirman que, aunque están deseando usar CRISPR para curar mutaciones en embriones y creen que será posible muy pronto, nuestra capacidad actual para editar los genes para mejorar la inteligencia es prácticamente nula 
Source: MIT

La IA que evalúa a delincuentes perpetúa la injusticia hacia las minorías

Cada vez más voces denuncian los algoritmos de inteligencia artificial basados en datos históricos para predecir el riesgo de reincidencia de un acusado. Estos datos reflejan patrones estadísticos pero no son las causas de delito, lo que refuerza un circulo vicioso contra algunos grupos
Source: MIT

Samsung SmartThings still hasn’t earned my trust in the smart home – CNET

The SmartThings platform may have expanded, but Samsung’s smart home company still has a lot of kinks to work out.
Source: CNET

At Sundance's New Frontier, VR and AR go epic, weird and theatrical – CNET

Virtual live improv theater? Karaoke with digital puppets? Synesthetic VR food fests? The tech-driven show lets artists test their limits.
Source: CNET

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