Hashtag Trending – French authorities investigating Apple for ‘planned obsolesence’; dancing robots at CES

Apple is being investigated by French prosecutors for allegedly designing iPhones to deliberately stop working after two years. People are talking about James Damore’s lawsuit against Google. And dancing robots at CES.

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From Facebook: The French government’s consumer protection agency is investigating Apple regarding allegations of “planned obsolescence”. In France it’s a crime to intentionally shorten a product’s lifespan to make customers replace it. And in December, Apple admitted that its software updates were deliberately slowing down older iPhone models, which the company said was to compensate for the device’s weakening batteries. Apple has since lowered the price for new batteries by two thirds and promised to be more transparent in the future.

A lawsuit filed on Monday by ex-Google engineer James Damore accusing his former employer of discriminating against white male conservatives like himself is trending on Reddit and YouTube, despite overwhelming evidence that A) Diversity is at least officially important to Google; and B) Despite the lip service, Silicon Valley remains overwhelmingly white and male. Damore, for those who have blessedly forgotten, wrote a viral memo last year arguing that women aren’t biologically suited to working in tech, conveniently ignoring studies such as Elephant in the Valley that highlight the region’s frat-house culture as the leading reason many women leave.

And today at CES: Twitter is buzzing over a series of exotic robot dancers with surveillance cameras for heads installed by British artist Giles Walker…

…While Facebook users have fallen in love with Toyota and Pizza Hut’s new automated pizza delivery trucks…

…When they’re not pointing out that the concept is literally straight out of Black Mirror.

Finally, Google Trends is gaga over Aibo, Sony’s AI-powered robotic dog which ignored its CEO’s commands onstage; SanDisc, which unveiled the world’s smallest 1 TB flash drive; and LG, which showed off a 65-inch TV screen that can be rolled up like a canvas.

That’s what’s trending today. Hashtag Trending is produced by IT World Canada. Today’s episode is brought to you by SAS, the world leader in advanced analytics and Official Analytics Partner of the Canadian Olympic Team.

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former IT World Canada associate editor turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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