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Weekly Tech Roundup: October 6

DeepMind announces ethics group to focus on problems of AI

Google’s London-based research team has launched a new unit dedicated to exploring the social and ethical questions being raised by advances in artificial intelligence. This new initiative intends to “help technologists put ethics into practice, and help society anticipate and direct the impact of AI so that it works for the benefit of all.”

Facebook’s Watch videos are being viewed an average of 23 seconds

Following Facebook’s launch of its Watch vertical this summer, early data suggests that viewers are spending more time watching video content on the platform — average viewing time is up to 23 seconds, while the average News Feed video viewing time in June was less than 17 seconds.

Instagram expands shoppable photos to thousands of merchants

Shopify and Instagram are integrating shoppable photos and making them available to thousands of retailers on the visual social network, following extensive tests this year. Merchants have until  October 16th to request approval to use this new feature.

Mattel cancels plans for a kid-focused AI device amid privacy concerns

This week, Mattel announced that it will no longer be moving forward with plans for Aristotle, its smart hub aimed at children. The device was designed to be used in a child’s bedroom, with the ability to switch on a night light to soothe a crying infant, among other tasks. However, concerns about data privacy (and the unclear implications of tech use in early childhood) have driven the company to shelf Aristotle.

Google is working on its own version of Snapchat Discover

Ahead of the launch of Stamp, its own multimedia platform in the vein of Snapchat’s Discover, Google is paying publishers to get involved. Current media companies on board the mobile project include Time Inc., CNN, Vox Media, The Washington Post and Condé Nast.

Instagram Stories launches cross-posting with Facebook Stories

Much like you can simultaneously post images to Facebook from Instagram, soon users will be able to do the same with their ephemeral photos and videos. After a trial period in Portugal, Instagram’s parent company Facebook is now rolling out the ability to post simultaneous Instagram and Facebook Stories.

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