Thirty-five organizations want to ban facial recognition tech in stores, Bitcoin’s carbon footprint is bigger than we thought and Twitter says goodbye to Fleets.
It’s all the biz/tech news that’s popular right now. Welcome to Hashtag Trending! It’s Thursday, July 15 and I’m your host, Tom Li.
A call for the removal of facial recognition has been made by the “Ban Facial Recognition in Stores” campaign. More than 35 organizations are urging top retailers to stop using facial recognition to identify customers and employees. Lowe’s, Apple and Macy’s are examples of stores that use the technology. The campaign is being led by a non-profit called Fight for the Future. Many believe that facial recognition can take a psychological toll on certain communities, especially when they know that every one of their moves is being monitored by a racially biased AI. For example, a black man in Detroit was wrongfully arrested in 2020 for federal larceny after he was misidentified by the Police Department’s facial recognition software. Research has repeatedly shown that facial recognition technology is biased toward people of colour and often leads to major errors such as this one.
Bitcoin has made headlines over the past few months because of the environmental effects that come with mining it. A report from Business Insider India says that a single bitcoin transaction has a larger carbon footprint than watching 100,000 hours of YouTube videos. One bitcoin transaction can consume over 1700 kilowatts hours of electricity. China has already banned cryptocurrency for this reason and Tesla has also stopped accepting bitcoin for car payments. However, there is some progress being made in finding clean ways to mine bitcoin. El Salvador, which will start accepting bitcoin as legal tender, is looking to use the country’s volcanoes as a source of energy for miners. The crypto industry announced the creation of the Crypto Climate Accords to help develop sustainable solutions for cryptomining.
And lastly, Twitter is shutting down its Fleets feature less than a year after its launch. The row of tweets that expire after 24 hours will part from the app in August. Instead, users will get active “Spaces”, Twitter’s live audio chat room feature. Fleets was a take on the Instagram or Snapchat story in order to get users to Tweet more rather than hopping onto another platform. But the feature didn’t take off as expected and Twitter broke the news to app users Wednesday afternoon. So say goodbye to Fleets, although not many people will miss it.
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