Hashtag Trending Jan. 11 – Panasonic’s four day work week; Clean energy fund to raise $15 billion; Facebook accused of inciting violence

Files from Tom Li

Panasonic announces a four-day work week in Japan, a clean energy fund aims to raise $15 billion, and Facebook is hit with accusations of inciting violence.

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That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Tuesday January 11, and I’m your host, Samira Balsara.

Panasonic has announced plans to adopt a four day work week for two reasons: to improve productivity and create a better working environment. The latter of which will help to attract more talents, according to a report from Gizmodo. The report didn’t specify if employees will now need to work longer days or actually get a full day off. Panasonic isn’t the first tech company to embrace a four-day work week in the country; when Microsoft Japan tried it in 2019, it reported seeing a 40 per cent increase in productivity. Of course, this change requires a lot of planning, and it remains to be seen if companies in the west would take the same approach.

A private-public fund started by Bill Gates is aiming to invest 15 billion into clean energy tech. The fund called Breakthrough Energy Catalyst, has already raised $1.5 billion from businesses and charity organizations. In order to reach its $15 billion goal, the organization plans to build innovative financial structures and partner agreements. Ultimately, the money raised will go towards investments in large sustainable energy projects that would otherwise be unfeasible.

Facebook was again hit with the accusation of inciting violence and crimes, this time from Angela Underwood Jacobs, sister of a federal officer murdered during the racial injustice protest of 2020. According to Jacobs, Facebook and its parent company Meta promoted extremist content that contributed to the death of her bother. She claimed that the platform connected people who planned violence against law enforcement officers. A Facebook spokesperson said these claims were without legal basis, highlighting the company’s efforts to monitor its platform when it banned 1,000 militarized social movements.

And now for something a bit different. Farming equipment company John Deere revealed a fully-autonomous tractor at CES 2022. The company says the tractor is designed to work autonomously in different weather conditions and soil variations. It features advanced technologies including six pairs of stereo cameras for obstacle detection, a deep neural network for image recognition, and a GPS guidance system. Once configured, the farmer will be able to monitor the tractor with a smartphone. The tractor will also continuously check its position against the planned routes to within an inch of accuracy. The company says the tractor will be available for purchase by the end of the year.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Add us to your Alexa Flash briefings or your Google Home daily briefing. Make sure to sign up for our Daily IT Wire newsletter to get all the news that matters directly in your inbox every day. Also, if you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Samira Balsara.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Samira Balsara
Samira Balsara
Samira is a writer for IT World Canada. She is currently pursuing a journalism degree at Toronto Metropolitan University (formally known as Ryerson) and hopes to become a news anchor or write journalistic profiles. You can email her at sbalsara@itwc.ca

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