Netherlands and Belgium will not get Activision Blizzard’s latest big title, Axon to stop its Taser drone project following ethics board resignations, and Microsoft drops its non-compete clauses against its staff.
That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now, welcome to Hashtag Trending. It’s Friday, June 10, and I’m your host, Tom Li.
Diablo Immortal, a video game by Activision Blizzard, didn’t launch in the Netherlands and Belgium due to laws that restrict gambling in video games. Activision Blizzard said that “the current operating conditions in these countries” is the reason for the decision not to launch it. Additionally, a statement by a Blizzard employee posted in the game’s Reddit forum said that unless gambling restrictions change, the game will not be released in either country, according to a Game Reactor report. The post also went a step further to add that Blizzard cannot guarantee that anyone who plays the game in these countries won’t be banned for doing so because of this rule.
Source: Game Reactor
Axon, known for developing the Taser, said it’s now halting plans to develop a Taser-equipped drone after most of its ethics board voted against it. According to an NPR report, Axon’s founder Rick Smith said the company’s announcement, which drew criticism from its artificial intelligence ethics board, was meant to “initiate a conversation on this as a potential solution.” Smith said the ensuing discussion “provided us with a deeper appreciation of the complex and important considerations” around the issue. A few weeks ago, the board voted 8 to 4 against the project’s pilot program that essentially deploys weaponized drones in over-policed communities. On Monday this week, nine members of the ethics board resigned, attributing that they had “lost faith” in the company’s ability to be a responsible partner.
Employees at Microsoft will now be able to look for jobs at other big tech companies, such as Google and Amazon, after the company said it would no longer enforce non-compete clauses (NCCs). NCCs are sometimes used to stop employees from moving to companies that are direct competitors. As of Wednesday this week, Microsoft is removing clauses from employee agreements, and from now on, will not enforce existing clauses in the U.S., Business Insider reported. This is one of four updates announced in a Microsoft blog post. The other updates include plans to stop non-disclosure agreements, conduct a civil rights audit of its existing workplace policies, and commit to providing salary ranges on all internal and external job descriptions.
Source: Business Insider
Google Cloud has set a new record by calculating the mathematical constant Pi to 100 trillion digits, beating a previous record of 62.8 trillion. For years mathematicians have been increasing its accuracy and Google has now added an additional 37.2 trillion digits. In order to calculate the 100 trillion digits of Pi, Google Cloud used an n2-highmem-128 machine running Debian Linux 11. Calculating 100 trillion digits of Pi is not a quick task. In fact, Google began running the program in October 2021 and it finally finished computing in March of 2022. The total compute time was 157 days, 23 hours, 31 minutes, and 7.651 seconds. According to PCMag, during that extensive time, a total of 82 petabytes of data was read and written by the machine.
Source: PC Mag
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