NY-AG: Amazon Safety ‘Inadequate;’ Google Wireless Pixel Buds; Co’s Use AI to Track Social Distancing; Rise of Skywalker Streams on ‘Force Day’

The New York Attorney General’s office says Amazon may have violated federal safety standards at its New York warehouses, by providing ‘inadequate’ protections. NPR got a copy of a letter from the AG to Amazon with information pointing to this, and additionally, stating that the company may have broken the state’s whistleblower law in firing a warehouse worker who helped organize a protest in Staten Island. the letter also says the state is investigating “other cases of potential illegal retaliation.” An Amazon spokesperson named Rachael Lighty put out a statement saying the company respects workers’ rights to protest, “however, these rights do not provide blanket immunity against bad actions, particularly those that endanger the health, well-being or safety of their colleagues.” Workers had previously called for Amazon to temporarily shut down warehouses where COVID-19 outbreaks occurred in order to do deep sanitization…which Amazon to date has refused to do.

Google has rolled out V 2.0 of its truly wireless Pixel Buds. According to 9to5google.com, they are available right now at the US Google Store. These buds don’t have a connecting cord between buds, so really are ‘truly wireless.’ In addition, they have a claimed 5 hours listen time or 2.5 hours talk time on a charge, and the charging case gives you 24 hours or use. A 10 minute charge will get you two hours of listening time. They are $179, and come in Oh So Orange, Clearly White, Quite Mint, and Almost Black. Note that the part that goes into the ear is black for all colors. They will be available soon at AT&T, Best Buy, Target, T-Mobile, US Cellular, Verizon, and Walmart.

Even Orwell couldn’t have predicted this….some companies, in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus, but still get back to work, are equipping cams with artificial intelligence software that tracks compliance with health guidelines like social distancing and mask wearing. Reuters says the companies claim the tools will only be used for a few months to a year, until a vaccine is widely available. Even at that, there is a lot of privacy concern over such use of AI cams in the workplace. Other uses may extend the AI driven cams…Al Gidari, a law professor at Stanford says “Video in the store today to ensure social distancing remains to identify shoplifters tomorrow.” At present, there are no less than 16 video analytics companies that have added some version of AI to security cam systems.

The Forth will be with you, and big time. Disney has announced that ‘Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker’ is coming to Disney + streaming on ‘Star Wars Day,’ May 4th. The House of Mouse moved the date up by two months due to all the shelter in place going on. Expect a sizable number of employees working from home to get a little less done on the 4th…and for the truly hard core, this means you can binge through every single movie in the 9 flick saga on Star Wars Day if your eyes can hold up!


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