National Australia Bank (NAB) has announced plans that it will be closing its physical bank branches in parts of the country as more customers choose to bank online. While the bank has not disclosed how many branches will be closed or when, it noted that "in some areas" branches will no longer exist. Instead, the company plans to focus its attention on its digital platform. NAB executive retail Krissie Jones revealed in a statement that NAB will be adding more 280 staff to assist customers with phone and digital banking enquiries, and into operations roles. An additional 134 new small business bankers are also being recruited to be based in regional locations, including Warragul, Victoria; Albany, Western Australia; Lismore, New South Wales; Rockhampton, Queensland; Toowoomba, Queensland, she added. The recruitment of additional small business bankers will be in addition to 130 operational support team members who are currently being recruited in regional and rural Australia, … [Read more...] about NAB announces plan to shut down more branches in the wake of online banking
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Editor's take: Spotify’s in-car smart assistant hardware has graduated from a limited-release device designed to help the company learn about listening habits in vehicles to a limited-release consumer product. Spotify still insists it is focused on becoming the world's top audio platform rather than producing hardware, but a successful run with Car Thing could change the company's tune. Dubbed Car Thing, the smart player is essentially a mini infotainment system for your vehicle, although Spotify is quick to note that it is not meant to compete with such systems. Instead, the company said it noticed that many of its users were “missing out on a seamless and personalized in-car listening experience.” Indeed, if you’re driving an older vehicle, your stereo likely isn’t equipped with the sort of functionality that Car Thing can deliver. Front and center is a touchscreen display that shows what’s playing and what’s in your queue along with basic controls. Users can interact … [Read more...] about Spotify’s in-car infotainment system for older vehicles gets a limited launch in the US
It seems that NFTs (non-fungible tokens) are everywhere right now, with more companies jumping on the NFT bandwagon to offer one-off digital assets for sale. Special feature Special report: How blockchain will disrupt business (free PDF) This ebook, based on the latest ZDNet/TechRepublic special feature, looks at how blockchain is shaking up the economy and changing the way individuals and enterprises conduct business. Read More Non-fungible tokens are used to verify unique items such as digital art and digital ownership of other items. Now, NFTs can be used to verify ownership of physical items. Several stories have recently caught my eye, as companies scramble to lead the way with unusual NFT sales and auctions. But do Americans view the emerging concept of NFTs positively, or do they think the impact on climate change means that celebrities should act responsibly when offering NFTs for sale? Celebrities such as Jack Dorsey, Beeple, and the Kings of … [Read more...] about Are NFT collectibles the new trading cards or a hype bubble soon to burst?
Google has worked for years to position itself as a responsible steward of AI. Its research lab hires respected academics, publishes groundbreaking papers, and steers the agenda at the field’s biggest conferences. But now its reputation has been badly, perhaps irreversibly damaged, just as the company is struggling to put a politically palatable face on its empire of data. The company’s decision to fire Timnit Gebru and Margaret Mitchell — two of its top AI ethics researchers, who happened to be examining the downsides of technology integral to Google’s search products — has triggered waves of protest. Academics have registered their discontent in various ways. Two backed out of a Google research workshop, a third turned down a $60,000 grant from the company, and a fourth pledged not to accept its funding in the future. Two engineers quit the company in protest of Gebru’s treatment and just last week, one of Google’s top AI employees, a research manager named Samy Bengio who … [Read more...] about Google is poisoning its reputation with AI researchers
A large, passenger van-sized spacecraft sidled up to an active, 6-ton satellite on Monday afternoon about 36,000 km above the Earth's surface. Slowly, ever so slowly, the distance between the two vehicles closed. There was nothing wrong with the satellite, which is 17 years old and owned by Intelsat. All the while on Wednesday, it continued actively delivering broadband and other media services across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. But it was running desperately low on fuel to maintain its position, and Intelsat would have soon had to send the vehicle to a "graveyard" orbit. And so Intelsat contracted with Northrop Grumman to test its new life extension services. That led to the launch of Northrop's "Mission Extension Vehicle-2" last year, which used fuel-sipping electric propulsion to approach the orbit of Intelsat 10-02 and dock with the active satellite on Wednesday. As a result of this pairing, the satellite will now live on for five more years. Jean-Luc Froeliger, vice … [Read more...] about The era of reusability