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Businesses

Walmart Is Cutting 7,000 Jobs Due To Automation (yahoo.com) 256

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Yahoo: The clairvoyant folks over at the World Economic Forum warned of a "Fourth Industrial Revolution" involving the rise of the machine in the workforce, and the latest company to lend credence to that claim is none other than Walmart, which is planning on cutting 7,000 jobs on account of automation. But the Walmart decision may be a bit more alarming for those in the workforce. As the Wall Street Journal reports (Warning: may be paywalled), the most concerning aspect of America's largest private employer might be that the eliminated positions are largely in the accounting and invoicing sectors of the company. These jobs are typically held by some of the longest tenured employees, who also happen to take home higher hourly wages. Now, those coveted positions are being automated. The Journal reports that beginning in 2017, much of this work will be addressed by "a central office or new money-counting 'cash recycler' machines in stores." Earlier this year, the company tested this change across some 500 locations. "We've seen many make smooth transitions during the pilot," said Deisha Barnett, a Walmart spokeswoman.
Businesses

Seagate Fires 6,500, Or 14% of Workforce, Stock Soars (zerohedge.com) 224

turkeydance quotes a report from Zero Hedge: [Seagate] announced today an additional restructuring plan for continued consolidation of its global footprint across Asia, EMEA and the Americas. The plan includes reducing the Company's global headcount by approximately 6,500 employees, or 14% of its global headcount by the end of fiscal year 2017. The total pretax charges for the plan will be approximately $164 million in fiscal year 2017. The restructuring activities and global footprint consolidation underway should enable the Company to be operating within its targeted Non-GAAP product gross margin range of 27-32% by the December 2016 quarter. "Computer-memory specialist Seagate announced that its Q4 revenue would be $2.65 billion, beating expectations of $2.34 billion, and up from the $2.3 billion guidance given previously," reports Zero Hedge. "The company also reported gross margin of 25% and non-GAAP gross margin of approximately 25.8% for the fiscal fourth quarter 2016, up from the previous 23% forecast. Good news, and the stock is up 12% after hours as a result."
Robotics

Hostess Saves Twinkies By Automating, Fires 94% Of Their Workforce (washingtonpost.com) 474

An anonymous Slashdot reader writes: Where Twinkie once employed 22,000 workers in more than 40 bakeries, their workforce is now down to just 1,170, reports the Washington Post, relying mostly on robotic arms and other forms of automation. "This 500-person plant produces more than 1 million Twinkies a day, 400 million a year. That's 80% of Hostess' total output -- output that under the old regime required 14 plants and 9,000 employees."

"We like to think of ourselves as a billion-dollar startup," Hostess chief executive Bill Toler said Tuesday, announcing that Hostess Brands, which had twice filed for bankruptcy, now plans to become a publicly-listed company valued at $2.3 billion.

Robotics

Former McDonald's USA CEO: $35K Robots Cheaper Than Hiring at $15 Per Hour (foxbusiness.com) 1023

An anonymous reader shares an article on Fox Business: As fast-food workers across the country vie for $15 per hour wages, many business owners have already begun to take humans out of the picture. "I was at the National Restaurant Show yesterday and if you look at the robotic devices that are coming into the restaurant industry -- it's cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm than it is to hire an employee who's inefficient making $15 an hour (warning: autoplaying video) bagging French fries -- it's nonsense and it's very destructive and it's inflationary and it's going to cause a job loss across this country like you're not going to believe," said former McDonald's USA CEO Ed Rensi during an interview on the FOX Business Network's Mornings with Maria. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.3 million people earned the current minimum wage of $7.25 per hour with about 1.7 million having wages below the federal minimum in 2014. These three million workers combined made up 3.9 percent of all hourly paid workers.
Space

Canadian, UK Law Professors Condemn Space Mining Provisions of Commercial Space Act (examiner.com) 218

MarkWhittington writes: The Commercial Space Launch Act, which includes provisions allowing American companies the right to keep resources that they mine in space, was recently signed into law by President Barack Obama. While the act has been hailed as groundbreaking in the United States, the space mining title has gotten an angry reaction overseas. In an article in Science Alert, Gbenga Oduntan, Senior Lecturer in International Commercial Law, University of Kent, condemned the space mining provisions as environmentally risky and a violation of international law. Ram Jakhu, a professor at Canada's McGill University's Institute of air and space law, adds that space mining is a violation of the Outer Space Treaty and should not be allowed.
The Internet

ICANN Asks FTC To Rule On .sucks gTLD Rollout 108

DW100 writes: "ICANN, the body in charge of overseeing the management and rollout of new top level domains, has asked the FTC to investigate whether the registry running .sucks is acting illegally . ICANN's in-house legal team raised concerns that the registry was selling the domains to brand owners in a 'predatory' manner. "The issues relate to concerns brands wishing to buy the .sucks domain, which went on sale on 30 March for a three-month ‘clearing house' period, will have to pay $2,500 to register it for their brand. This is far in excess of the price that will be offered to the general public and the price of other top-level domains."
Businesses

Federal Court OKs Amazon's System of Suggesting Alternative Products 102

concealment writes "Many of us have had the experience of going to Amazon to buy one thing but checking out with a huge shopping cart of items that we didn't initially seek—or even know were available. Amazon's merchandising often benefits Amazon's customers, but trademark owners who lose sales to their competition due to it aren't as thrilled. Fortunately for Amazon, a California federal court recently upheld Amazon's merchandising practices in its internal search results."
Privacy

Think Tank's Website Rejects Browser Do-Not-Track Requests 362

alphadogg writes "The website for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) now tells visitors it will not honor their browsers' do-not-track requests as a form of protest against the technology pushed by privacy groups and parts of the U.S. government. The tech-focused think tank on Friday implemented a new website feature that detects whether visitors have do-not-track features enabled in their browsers and tells them their request has been denied. 'Do Not Track is a detrimental policy that undermines the economic foundation of the Internet,' Daniel Castro, senior analyst at the ITIF wrote in a blog post. 'Advertising revenue supports most of the free content, services, and apps available on the Internet.'"
Businesses

Retailers Dread Phone-Wielding Shoppers 725

Ponca City writes "The WSJ reports that until recently, retailers could reasonably assume that if they just lured shoppers into stores with enticing specials, the customers could be coaxed into buying more profitable stuff too. But now, marketers must contend with shoppers who can use their smartphones inside stores to check whether the specials are really so special. 'The retailer's advantage has been eroded,' says analyst Greg Girard, adding that roughly 45% of customers with smartphones had used them to perform due diligence on a store's prices. 'The four walls of the store have become porous.' Although store executives publicly welcome a price-transparent world, retail experts don't expect all chains to measure up to the harsh judgment of mobile price comparisons, and some will need to find new ways to survive. 'Only a couple of retailers can play the lowest-price game,' says Noam Paransky. 'This is going to accelerate the demise of retailers who do not have either competitive pricing or a standout store experience.'"
Businesses

Satellites Spy On Black Friday Shoppers 171

MojoKid writes "Those satellites in space don't just take spy pictures. On this Black Friday 2010, they actually took pictures of you, and your rush to Black Friday shopping deals. The research is being done to see what consumer demand this year means for retail stocks. The trend, so far, has been favorable. The companies involved in this are Remote Sensing Metrics and Digital Globe. Remote Sensing Metrics is a Chicago-based consulting firm that analyzes the satellite imagery. In turn, it purchases those images from Colorado-based company Digital Globe, which operates its own satellites."
The Media

Newspapers Cut Wikileaks Out of Shield Law 602

An anonymous reader writes "The US press has been pushing for a (much needed) federal shield law, that would allow reporters to protect their sources. It's been something of a political struggle for a few years now, and things were getting close when Wikileaks suddenly got a bunch of attention for leaking all those Afghan war documents. Suddenly, the politicians involved started working on an amendment that would specifically carve out an exception for Wikileaks so that it would not be covered by such a shield law. And, now, The First Amendment Center is condemning the newspaper industry for throwing Wikileaks under the bus, as many in the industry are supporting this new amendment, and saying that Wikileaks doesn't deserve source protection because 'it's not journalism.'"
Piracy

Swedish Pirate Party Launches ISP 356

WillDraven writes "Torrentfreak is reporting that the Swedish Pirate Party has launched an ISP. Starting with 100 residents in a housing organization in the city of Lund, Pirate ISP hopes to gain 5% of the market in Lund before spreading to other markets. Headed by longtime Pirate Party member Gustav Nipe (video interview in English), the company aims to provide Internet service with the sort of guarantees one would expect from the Pirate Party. Most notable are the promises to keep no logs of subscriber activity and thus to provide no data to law enforcement or private corporations."
Social Networks

MySpace To Sell User Data 199

OnlyJedi writes "Hot on the news of Netflix canceling its latest contest over privacy concerns, news has spread that MySpace is going in the opposite direction. Apparently, the one-time leading social network is now selling user data to third party collection firms. From the article, the data that InfoChimps has listed includes 'user playlists, mood updates, mobile updates, photos, vents, reviews, blog posts, names and zipcodes.' InfoChimps is a reseller that deals with individuals and groups, from academic researchers to marketers and industry analysts. So if you're worried about your data on MySpace being sold off to anybody with a few hundred dollars, now's the time to delete that little-used account."
The Almighty Buck

Rescued Banks Sought Foreign Help During Meltdown 749

theodp writes "An AP review of visa applications has found that major US banks sought permission to bring thousands of foreign workers into the country under the H-1B visa program, even as the banking system was melting down and Americans were being laid off. The dozen banks now receiving the biggest rescue packages, totaling more than $150 billion, requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years. (It's not known how many of these were granted; the article notes 'The actual number is likely a fraction of the... workers the banks sought to hire because the government only grants 85,000 such visas each year among all US employers.') The American Bankers Association blamed the US talent pool for forcing the move, saying they couldn't find enough Americans capable of handling sales, lending, and bank administration. The AP has filed FOIA requests to force the US Customs and Immigration Service to disclose further details on the bailed-out banks' foreign hires."
Businesses

"Cyber Monday" Expected To Draw Virtual Crowds 133

Anti-Globalism writes with this excerpt from PCWorld: "Last year, consumers spent $733 million on Cyber Monday, and it's expected to be even bigger this year. According to a survey by online shopping site Shopzilla for the National Retail Federation's Shop.org, nearly 84 percent of online retailers plan to have a Cyber Monday promotion on December 1. That's up from just 72 percent last year and zero percent in 2005, says Shop.org executive director Scott Silverman."

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