Hashtag Trending June 10 – Diablo Immortal not launching in Belgium or the Netherlands; Axon halts Taser drone project; Microsoft drops NCCs

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.

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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.

Source: NPR

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

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, catch the next episode of Hashtag Tendances, our weekly Hashtag Trending episode in French, which drops every Thursday morning. If you have a suggestion or a tip, drop us a line in the comments or via email. Thank you for listening, I’m Tom Li.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT Business. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected].

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