Jeff Bezos To Step Down, India To Ban Crypto And More In This Week’s Top News

According to reports, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is making plans to introduce an official digital currency for the country. According to the rumored Cryptocurrency and Regulation of Official Digital Currency Bill, Indian government can ban private cryptocurrencies in India. This means that all the Indian nationals holding bitcoin reserves will have a hard time with this new bill. “India is on the verge of banning a trillion dollar industry instead of using it to strengthen its national security, economy, currency, technology, and foreign policy,” wrote angel investor Balaji S. Srinivasan on India’s decision to ban cryptocurrencies.

While India has decided to going against the global crypto tide, it’s AI ambitions however, are aligned with its contemporaries. In the latest budget announcements, Indian Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman, revealed that the government will be setting up a high-class fintech hub in Gujarat International Finance Tec (GIFT) city. She has also announced the usage of artificial intelligence and deep analytics to track and analyse the tax evasion problem in GST along with its application in eGovernance and to ease compliance burden. 


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Also Read: Budget 2021: Reactions From The Tech Industry

Amazon Gets A New CEO

Jeff Bezos, the man who made ecommerce a household name, has announced that he would be stepping down as the company’s CEO in the third quarter. Andy Jassy who has been leading AWS will take up the chief’s role of running the trillion dollar behemoth. Jassy’s success with AWS is no secret. The cloud service rules the market has recently returned tremendous profits in the last quarter. Bezos will now pursue his passions Day 1 Fund, the Bezos Earth Fund, Blue Origin, The Washington Post going forward.Bezos explained how consuming and deep a responsibility it is to be a CEO. “When you have a responsibility like that, it’s hard to put attention on anything else. I’ve never had more energy, and this isn’t about retiring. I’m super passionate about the impact I think these organizations can have,” wrote Bezos in an email to his employees.  

UiPath And Databricks Land Big

On Monday, UiPath and Databricks became two of the most valuable privately held tech companies in the U S. The latest funding rounds rocketed their valuation to $60 billion combinedly. UiPath and Databricks are rumored to go public in 2021 through a direct listing.

UiPath, an RPA startup, has announced that the company has raised a $750 million funding in Series F round at a post-money valuation of $35 billion. Whereas Databricks, the Data and AI company announced a $1 Billion investment in a Series G funding, led by new investor Franklin Templeton, which puts Databricks at a $28 billion post-money valuation. Surprisingly, Databricks is backed by rivals Amazon, Microsoft and Salesforce who have their own cloud offerings. Today, more than 5,000 of organizations worldwide — including Comcast, Condé Nast, Nationwide, H&M, and over 40% of the Fortune 500— rely on Databricks’ unified data platform for data engineering, machine learning and analytics. It is founded by the original creators of Apache Spark, Delta Lake and MLflow.

More Trouble For NVIDIA-ARM Deal

According to reports, Microsoft-backed Graphcore has created more roadblocks to the $40 billion NVIDIA-ARM deal, which was made last year. Arm has been the poster child of the UK’s tech innovation. Today more than 95% of smartphones in the world house Arm’s architecture.  Acquisition of ARM propels NVIDIA’s already superior position in the chip industry. But, ARM’s co-founder Hermann Hauser wasn’t impressed with this deal. Last year, Hauser even went ahead and wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Boris Johnson urging to block the deal, and help to take Arm public on the London Stock Exchange.

This week, Hermann Hauser, told CNBC that Graphcore has opposed the deal in a “major submission” to the U.K.’s Competition and Markets Authority. This week, Hermann Hauser, told CNBC that if Nvidia can merge the Arm and Nvidia designs in the same software then that locks out companies like Graphcore from entering the seller market and entering a close relationship with Arm. Hauser is an investor in Graphcore through his venture capital firm Amadeus Capital. 

Microsoft Backs Up Australia Following Google’s Threat

“While other tech companies may sometimes threaten to leave Australia, Microsoft will never make such a threat,” wrote Brad Smith, taking a jibe at Google’s recent feud with the Australian government over a proposed law that would require Google to pay the publishers. Google Australia’s MD, Mel Silva told a parliamentary committee Google is mulling service abandonment in the country if the “pay to publishers” law were to be passed without changes. “If this version of the code were to become law it would give us no real choice but to stop making Google Search available in Australia,” she said.

Microsoft on the other hand, extended full support to the proposals of the Australian government. “Microsoft fully supports the News Media Bargaining Code. The code reasonably attempts to address the bargaining power imbalance between digital platforms and Australian news businesses,” read the statement released by Microsoft.

Elon Musk Puts A Chip In A Monkey

Image credits: Neuralink

Last year, Elon Musk, Neuralink’s founder demonstrated their device by planting it on a pig. Now the Tesla chief has stepped up the game. In a recent clubhouse meet, he said that a monkey has been wired up to play video games with its mind. Neuralink put a computer chip into the monkey’s skull and used “tiny wires” to connect it to its brain, Musk said. The whole objective of Neuralink, according to Musk, is to chart out a way to coexist with advanced artificial intelligence(AI) and achieving some kind of AI symbiosis where an AI extension of one’s self is like a tertiary layer above the limbic system and cortex 

Also Read: 10 Mind Bending Applications Of Neuralink

Apple To Make Cars With Hyundai-Kia 

According to CNBC, Apple is close to finalizing a deal with Hyundai-Kia to manufacture an Apple-branded autonomous electric vehicle at the Kia assembly plant in West Point, Georgia. The trillion dollar mobility market lure overshadows the profits churned by Apple from its hand held gadgets. Apple has the tech expertise to assist Kia and Hyundai in building up the Apple car, which is expected to go into production by 2024.

Canada Rules Clearview AI’s Actions As Unlawful

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has concluded that the New-York-based technology company violated federal and provincial privacy laws. Facial recognition tech startup Clearview AI scraped billions of images of people from across the Internet, which according to Canada, represented mass surveillance and was a clear violation of the privacy rights of Canadians, an investigation has found.

The Canadian watchdog further stated that Clearview AI’s technology allowed law enforcement and commercial organizations to match photographs of unknown people for investigation purposes. Commissioner’s office found that this puts individuals with no previous criminal track record at risk. 

“The investigation found that Clearview had collected highly sensitive biometric information without the knowledge or consent of individuals. Furthermore, Clearview collected, used and disclosed Canadians’ personal information for inappropriate purposes, which cannot be rendered appropriate via consent,” read the statement.

Google Cloud Gets A New India Head 

This week, Google Cloud has appointed Bikram Singh Bedi as its new MD for India business. Bedi has played a key role in setting up AWS in India during his six years tenure as the head of India and South Asia. Bedi’s arrival coincides with Google Cloud’s failure to churn more profits compared to its rivals AWS and Azure. According to the recent earnings report released by Alphabet, the company’s cloud arm has suffered operating loss of $5.61 billion in 2020. However, Ruth Porat, CFO of Google and Alphabet, expressed optimism with Google’s overall performance. “Our strong fourth quarter performance, with revenues of $56.9 billion, was driven by Search and YouTube, as consumer and business activity recovered from earlier in the year. Google Cloud revenues were $13.1 billion for 2020, with significant ongoing momentum, and we remain focused on delivering value across the growth opportunities we see,” she said.

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Ram Sagar
I have a master's degree in Robotics and I write about machine learning advancements.

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