Is AI Technology Taking Over the World?

It’s no surprise that AI technology is slowly taking over all aspects of daily life, all around the world. According to The Guardian, almost 80 million jobs in the United States could be automated within the next decade. Although a step forward in technology, companies might start to cut down on their workforce to introduce more automated labor.

From everyday tasks to automating manual labor, AI technology is no force to be reckoned with. According to Forbes, almost 80% of enterprises all over the world use AI technology in production. Leading the AI domination is Asia-Pacific (48%), North America (39%) and Europe (31%).

Almost 95% of business leaders predict that AI will have some sort of impact on human jobs, maybe even the overall productivity of a company by 2030. There are many companies out there that have invested AI technology or are looking to expand on that idea. Let’s take a closer look how some of these companies implement this technology.

Amazon

Amazon (AMZN – Free Report) is always innovating and creating, and it’s no stranger to AI. The company uses a flywheel approach, which helps to keep innovation flowing and allows it to spread to other areas of the company. This approach allows different areas of the company to use the technology. According to Forbes, what is used in one part of the company impacts innovation throughout all of Amazon, hence acting as a catalyst for AI and other machine related technology.

Amazon was one of the first companies to implement AI technology and they have seen success with it. Amazon currently has three products that are powered by AI technology: Alexa, the Amazon Go store, and the Amazon recommendation engine. Through these three different aspects, Amazon has created a well put-together customer experience, mainly using AI technology. Even though each one of the products is part of a different division in the company, they are all able to work together to implement the technology sufficiently.

Google

Having acquired 14 AI startups over the past four years, Google parent company Alphabet (GOOGL – Free Report) is a clear leader with AI technology. The company’s largest acquisition of $600 million was U.K. based company Deep Mind. Alphabet has its own research and development branch dedicated to its AI applications called Google AI. The AI branch focuses on conducting research to find the best ways to implement AI to different apps and making it accessible to everyone.

At Google’s recent I/O conference, the company announced several new AI services including Google Duplex (part of Google Assistant) and many new updates to Gmail, Photos and Maps. What intrigued people the most was the company’s announcement on AI technology used with Google Duplex. Recently, Google has rolled out the software to Pixel users. According to Business Insider, with Duplex, users will be one step closer to never having to make a phone call themselves to book an appointment.

Volkswagen

When we think about AI technology, it doesn’t necessarily always have to be associated with Alexa or products and services like that. In a press release from the beginning of this year, Volkswagen (VLKAY – Free Report) announced that it would be working with Aurora, a leading self-driving system company to introduce machine learning and AI technology in Volkswagen Group’s vehicles. Johann Jungwirth, Chief Digital Officer, stated in the company’s press release that working with Aurora will give Volkswagen a giant leap forward to become the world’s leading provider of sustainable mobility, including self-driving vehicles.

Earlier this year, Volkswagen introduced its first concept car, a prototype of an autonomous vehicle called SEDRIC. The concept car requires no driver and can take you anywhere with the push of a button. The company has taken the first step towards the future of self-driving cars, using AI technology.

Bottom Line

Whether it’s a car company or tech giant, AI is being used all over many industries. It is already being implemented into our daily lives, so it is only a matter of time until it becomes a large part of our society. Companies are implementing and innovating new strategies one AI technology at a time.

[“source=forbes]

Renault names Ghosn stand-ins amid tension over Nissan probe

French carmaker Renault tapped its chief operating officer and a senior board member to fill in for embattled boss Carlos Ghosn, after an investigation by alliance partner Nissan led to his arrest on suspicion of financial misconduct.

Thierry Bollore, Ghosn’s operational second-in-command, will become deputy chief executive, while lead independent director Philippe Lagayette assumes the function of interim chairman, Renault said after a board meeting late on Tuesday.

But the board refrained from firing Ghosn while awaiting more detail on the allegations – in a decision that could also buy more time for an accelerated, permanent succession process.

“Mr. Ghosn, temporarily incapacitated, remains Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,” Renault said in a statement. “During this period, the board will meet on a regular basis under the chairmanship of the lead independent director.”

Ghosn, one of the car industry’s best-known leaders, was arrested on Monday after Nissan said he had engaged in years of wrongdoing, including personal use of company money and under-reported earnings. The Japanese company plans to remove him as chairman on Thursday.

The French government, Renault’s biggest shareholder, had begun to distance itself from Ghosn, calling for new interim leadership before the meeting, as the Japanese investigation expanded to include Renault-Nissan alliance finances.

“Carlos Ghosn is no longer in a position where he is capable of leading Renault,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said earlier in the day. “Renault has been weakened, which makes it all the more necessary to act quickly.”

Statements by Le Maire, Renault and its board all echoed French preoccupations over the future of the alliance first articulated by President Emmanuel Macron within hours of Ghosn’s arrest on Monday.

Following talks between Le Maire and his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko on Tuesday, the ministers reaffirmed their “shared wish to maintain this winning cooperation”.

But in a sign that Nissan may now seek to loosen its French parent’s hold on the partnership, the Japanese company informed Renault it also had evidence of potential wrongdoing at Renault-Nissan BV, the Dutch venture overseeing alliance operations under Renault’s ultimate control, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The private communication came from Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa, whose company is 43.4 percent-owned by Renault in a complex alliance forged by Ghosn over almost two decades.

MAJOR PLAYER

Close to bankruptcy when Renault bought its stake in 1999, Nissan has recovered to be the engine of an alliance that generates synergies for both companies and allows them to rival Volkswagen and Toyota Motor Corp on the global stage.

But there have long been tensions as Nissan, while almost 60 percent bigger than Renault by sales, remains the junior partner in their shareholding hierarchy with a smaller reciprocal 15 percent non-voting stake in Renault.

In its board statement, Renault invoked “principles of transparency, trust and mutual respect set forth in the alliance charter” to demand that Nissan provide “all information in (its) possession arising from the internal investigation.”

Renault shares closed 1.2 percent lower before the meeting, extending Monday’s decline of more than 8 percent. Nissan fell another 5.5 percent, while Mitsubishi Motors Corp , the third alliance member, ended down nearly 7 percent.

Mitsubishi Motors’ CEO Osamu Masuko said it could be hard to manage the alliance without the unifying figure of Ghosn.

“I don’t think there is anyone else on Earth like Ghosn who could run Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi,” he told reporters in Tokyo.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its rating on Renault to “neutral” from “buy”, while Exane BNP Paribas moved to “neutral” from “outperform”.

[“source=cnbc”]

Renault names Ghosn stand-ins amid tension over Nissan probe

French carmaker Renault tapped its chief operating officer and a senior board member to fill in for embattled boss Carlos Ghosn, after an investigation by alliance partner Nissan led to his arrest on suspicion of financial misconduct.

Thierry Bollore, Ghosn’s operational second-in-command, will become deputy chief executive, while lead independent director Philippe Lagayette assumes the function of interim chairman, Renault said after a board meeting late on Tuesday.

But the board refrained from firing Ghosn while awaiting more detail on the allegations – in a decision that could also buy more time for an accelerated, permanent succession process.

“Mr. Ghosn, temporarily incapacitated, remains Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,” Renault said in a statement. “During this period, the board will meet on a regular basis under the chairmanship of the lead independent director.”

Ghosn, one of the car industry’s best-known leaders, was arrested on Monday after Nissan said he had engaged in years of wrongdoing, including personal use of company money and under-reported earnings. The Japanese company plans to remove him as chairman on Thursday.

The French government, Renault’s biggest shareholder, had begun to distance itself from Ghosn, calling for new interim leadership before the meeting, as the Japanese investigation expanded to include Renault-Nissan alliance finances.

“Carlos Ghosn is no longer in a position where he is capable of leading Renault,” Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said earlier in the day. “Renault has been weakened, which makes it all the more necessary to act quickly.”

Statements by Le Maire, Renault and its board all echoed French preoccupations over the future of the alliance first articulated by President Emmanuel Macron within hours of Ghosn’s arrest on Monday.

Following talks between Le Maire and his Japanese counterpart Hiroshige Seko on Tuesday, the ministers reaffirmed their “shared wish to maintain this winning cooperation”.

But in a sign that Nissan may now seek to loosen its French parent’s hold on the partnership, the Japanese company informed Renault it also had evidence of potential wrongdoing at Renault-Nissan BV, the Dutch venture overseeing alliance operations under Renault’s ultimate control, three people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The private communication came from Nissan Chief Executive Hiroto Saikawa, whose company is 43.4 percent-owned by Renault in a complex alliance forged by Ghosn over almost two decades.

MAJOR PLAYER

Close to bankruptcy when Renault bought its stake in 1999, Nissan has recovered to be the engine of an alliance that generates synergies for both companies and allows them to rival Volkswagen and Toyota Motor Corp on the global stage.

But there have long been tensions as Nissan, while almost 60 percent bigger than Renault by sales, remains the junior partner in their shareholding hierarchy with a smaller reciprocal 15 percent non-voting stake in Renault.

In its board statement, Renault invoked “principles of transparency, trust and mutual respect set forth in the alliance charter” to demand that Nissan provide “all information in (its) possession arising from the internal investigation.”

Renault shares closed 1.2 percent lower before the meeting, extending Monday’s decline of more than 8 percent. Nissan fell another 5.5 percent, while Mitsubishi Motors Corp , the third alliance member, ended down nearly 7 percent.

Mitsubishi Motors’ CEO Osamu Masuko said it could be hard to manage the alliance without the unifying figure of Ghosn.

“I don’t think there is anyone else on Earth like Ghosn who could run Renault, Nissan and Mitsubishi,” he told reporters in Tokyo.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch cut its rating on Renault to “neutral” from “buy”, while Exane BNP Paribas moved to “neutral” from “outperform”.

DIFFICULT TIME

The end of Ghosn’s leadership poses questions and risks for an alliance he had pledged to consolidate with a deeper tie-up, before eventually stepping back from its operational leadership.

It comes at a difficult time for the industry, already grappling with tighter emissions regulations, a diesel sales collapse and big investments in electric and self-driving cars.

Ghosn’s alleged improprieties also raise questions over governance at the alliance, over which he presided relatively unchecked as chairman of all three partners’ boards.

Japan’s Nikkei business daily, citing unidentified sources, said Ghosn had received share price-linked compensation of about 4 billion yen ($36 million) over a five-year period to March 2015, but it went unreported in Nissan’s financial reports.

The financial reports also did not mention annual compensation of 100 million to 150 million yen Ghosn received from the automaker’s overseas subsidiaries, the newspaper said.

Nissan declined to comment on the report.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK also said Nissan had paid billions of yen to buy and renovate homes for Ghosn in Rio de Janeiro, Beirut, Paris and Amsterdam, citing unnamed sources. The properties had no business purpose and were not listed as benefits in compensation filings to the Tokyo bourse, NHK said.

There has been no comment from Ghosn on the allegations, and Reuters could not contact him for comment.

A French diplomatic source said the country’s ambassador in Tokyo had seen Ghosn on Tuesday as part of usual procedures for a French citizen being held in Japan.

[“source=cnbc”]

Focus shifts to Sheryl Sandberg as Facebook battles critics over practices, lack of oversight

For the past decade, Sheryl Sandberg has been the poised, reliable second-in-command to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, helping steer Facebook’s rapid growth around the world, while also cultivating her brand in ways that hint at aspirations well beyond the social network. But with growing criticism over the company’s practices or lack of oversight, her carefully cultivated brand as an eloquent feminist leader is showing cracks.

Questions these days aren’t so much about whether she’ll run for the Senate or even president, but whether she ought to keep her job at Facebook.

Though the chances of an ouster are slim, the fact that it has even come up shows the extent of Facebook’s — and Sandberg’s — troubles.

“Her brand was being manicured with the same resources and care as the gardens of Tokyo,” said Scott Galloway, a New York University marketing professor.

“And unfortunately a hurricane has come through the garden.”

Facebook has been dealing with hurricanes for the past two years : fake news, elections interference, hate speech, a privacy scandal, the list goes on.

The company’s response — namely, Zuckerberg’s and Sandberg’s — has been slow at best, misleading and obfuscating at worst, as The New York Times reported last week.

That report, and one from The Wall Street Journal , underscored Sandberg’s influence at the company, even as Zuckerberg has borne much of the criticism and anger.

As chief operating officer, Sandberg is in charge of Facebook’s business dealings, including the ads that make up the bulk of the company’s revenue. She steered Facebook from a rising tech startup into a viable global business expected to reap $55 billion in revenue this year. The company is second only to Google in digital advertising.

But she’s also gotten the blame when things go wrong, including Facebook’s failure to spot Russian attempts to influence US elections by buying US political ads — in rubles.

Though Sandberg has denied knowing that Facebook hired an opposition research firm to discredit activists, she created a permissive environment through what the Times called an “aggressive lobbying campaign” against critics. Facebook fired the firm, Definers, after the Times report came out.

Facebook declined to comment on Sandberg or make her available for an interview.

A representative instead pointed to Zuckerberg’s remarks that overall, “Sheryl is doing great work for the company. She’s been a very important partner to me and continues to be, and will continue to be. She’s leading a lot of the efforts to improve our systems in these areas.”

Sandberg, 49, who was hired away from Google in 2008, has been a crucial “heat shield” for Zuckerberg, as Galloway put it, as lawmakers and the public crank up criticism of the 34-year-old founder.

In September, Facebook sent Sandberg to testify before the Senate intelligence committee, eliciting a warmer response than her boss did three months before.

Sandberg, former chief of staff for treasury secretary Larry Summers, appears more comfortable in Washington meeting rooms than Zuckerberg, who can seem robotic.

Her profile is high enough that lawmakers don’t feel stilted when she shows up. She’s written (with help) two books, including 2013’s “Lean In” about women and leadership.

Her second book, “Plan B,” is about dealing with loss and grief after her husband died unexpectedly. She was the lone chief operating officer among a who’s who of tech CEOs — including Apple’s Tim Cook and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos — to meet with Donald Trump a month after his election.

“It’s both who she is and how bereft Silicon Valley is of strong, powerful female voices,” crisis management expert Richard Levick said.

“She has positioned herself as one of those strong voices with ‘Lean In.'” But her high profile also makes her more susceptible to criticism.

The chorus for Sandberg to leave is getting louder. CNBC commentator Jim Cramer predicted Monday that Facebook’s stock would rise if Sandberg leaves or gets fired. NYU’s Galloway believes both Sandberg and Zuckerberg should be fired for allowing Facebook to turn into an entity that harms democracy around the world.

“Every day executives are fired for a fraction of infractions these two have committed,” he said.

Besides elections interference, Zuckerberg and Sandberg have been criticized for their slow response to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, in which the data-mining firm accessed millions of users’ private information without their permission.

The pair were silent for days after the news came out. According to the Journal, Zuckerberg told Sandberg this spring that he blamed her and her teams for the “public fallout” over Cambridge Analytica.

Citing unnamed sources, the newspaper said Sandberg at one point wondered if she should be worried about her job (though that appears to no longer be the case, based on Zuckerberg’s public support).

Because of the way Facebook is set up, firing Zuckerberg would be all but impossible. He controls the majority of the company’s voting stock, serves as its chairman and has — at least publicly — the support of its board of directors. Essentially, he’d have to fire himself.

Firing Sandberg would be the next logical option to hold a high-level executive accountable, but Galloway also doesn’t see this happening.

For one thing, he said, it would look bad to fire one of the only top female executives in an industry where women “face inordinately high obstacles to get to leadership positions.” Beyond that, Sandberg has also been a positive force on Facebook.

[“source=cnbc”]