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News & Views

Weekly Tech Roundup: July 14

Prime Day 2017 could mark Echo and Alexa tipping point

Amazon has announced that it sold seven times as many Echo devices on Prime Day this week as it did this time last year, with the Echo Dot becoming the site’s number one selling product for the entire day. The Echo range is currently expected to control around 70 per cent of the voice controlled speaker market for 2017.

Robots and AI are going tom make social inequality even worse

Wealthy people will find it easier to adapt to automation, says a new report from Boston Consulting Group for the UK charity Sutton Trust. The decline of “stepping stone” administrative jobs, traditionally a vehicle for social mobility, will mean fewer opportunities for individuals unable to access a university education or professional qualifications, therefore widening the rich-poor divide. However, the extent to which automation will impact our lives is still very much up for debate.

Here’s what tech companies are doing to support net neutrality

This week saw Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat participate in “Day of Action,” an online protest aimed at raising awareness of the FCC’s proposed changes to existing net neutrality law. Twitter created a promoted hashtag to encourage conversation on its platform, while Reddit and Netflix ran banners on the subject.

Brands use workarounds to be found on Snapchat

Unlike other platforms, Snapchat requires you to know the exact username of the account you want to connect with — which can make it harder for consumers to find brands. While this exclusivity has always been part of Snapchat’s proposition, it poses a huge discoverability issue, which is why more and more brands are promoting their Snapchat channels on rival platforms.

Former Obama aides raise $2.5 million to improve Democrat digital tools

During her interview at Code Con last month, former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton spoke about the DNC’s relative lack of digital resources and expertise. Now, a group called Higher Ground Labs is in the process of investing in data, analytics and messaging capability for 2018 and beyond.

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