Saturday, September 23, 2023

Twitter Circle is finally live…and other tech news for small businesses this week

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Shreya Christina
Shreya has been with for 3 years, writing copy for client websites, blog posts, EDMs and other mediums to engage readers and encourage action. By collaborating with clients, our SEO manager and the wider team, Shreya seeks to understand an audience before creating memorable, persuasive copy.

Here are five technology things that happened in the past week and how they’re impacting your business. Did you miss them?

1 —Twitter Circle is finally live globally, which means there are deeper subtweets for everyone.

Twitter’s new feature called Twitter Circle is now available to users around the world. The feature gives you the ability to select an audience to send limited, individual tweets to. Twitter Circle allows you to create an exclusive group of up to 150 Twitter followers and tweets shared in it will not be visible to users who are not part of your exclusive cohort. The feature is now available on desktop, Android, and iOS. (Source: mashable)

Why this is important for your business:

This is an interesting feature for small businesses that are active on Twitter. You can create your own “brain trust” or groups of customers, partners, suppliers or others in your industry and then share thoughts with each other without the general public seeing.

2 — New York City’s AI bias law charts new territory for employers.

New York City’s AI bias law will penalize employers for bias detected in artificial intelligence hiring tools. These tools include algorithms used to pinpoint ideal candidates for body language analysis software. The law will make companies scramble and audit their AI tools before January 2023, when the law goes into effect. (Source: Bloomberg’s Law)

Why this is important for your business:

Whether artificial intelligence tools for recruiting and interviewing — and there are many coming to the market — are biased remains to be seen. But it is a growing problem. I happily recommend these tools to my clients as they are intended to help minimize bias in the interview process. But then again… they were written by humans, right? I bet the New York law will be the first of many new regulations requiring employers to evaluate the tools they use for HR and not just assume they have no inherent bias.

3 —ROBE Array could give small businesses access to a popular form of AI.

Rice University computer scientists are working to make deep-learning recommendation models (DLRM) accessible to small businesses. ROBE Array — Rice’s “random offset block embedding array” — uses an algorithm that significantly shrinks the memory structure of DLRM. This means that those who don’t have access to the technical expertise or high-end hardware needed for larger systems can still take advantage of the models. (Source: Science Daily)

Elon Musk last year complained how difficult it is to create autonomous vehicles because of the incredible amount of AI processing that must go on inside a car’s computer to make split-second decisions. The ROBE Array can help solve this problem and make it easier for hardware to handle more AI processing, and as a result more powerful AI applications for small businesses in the not too distant future.

4 — Instacart launches the Big & Bulky fulfillment solution for retailers.

Instacart is rolling out a new feature called Big & Bulky. Big & Bulky ensures that large items such as home office supplies, outdoor furniture and electronics are delivered the same day as ordered via the Instacart app. Some of the first retailers to partner with Instacart include Office Depot, Staples, Spirit Halloween, Mastermind Toys, Container Store, and Big Lots. (Source: Retail technical innovation)

Why this is important for your business:

It is clear that it is the major retail chains that do this first. But smaller chains and individual retailers are likely to be next. If your store sends products to customers through Instacart, I think the Big & Buy solution could become important to you.

5—Back-to-school shoppers are taking on more ‘buy now, pay later’ loans

A recent TransUnion survey found that about 40 percent of shoppers would use BNPL to buy supplies for back-to-school. This number is up from just 2 percent of consumers who responded to TransUnion’s 2021 Consumer Holiday Shopping Survey saying they would use BNPL. Inflation appears to be the main driver of the rise in BNPL use, with 55 percent of study participants saying they expect to spend more on school supplies this year. (Source: The street)

Why this is important for your business:

BNPL is becoming more common among retailers, even as big tech companies like PayPal and Apple jump in and existing BNPL leaders like Klarna and Affirm struggle. These solutions can be good consumer alternatives to credit cards, but they pose risks to consumers, especially if they don’t pay their bills on time. If you are a small retailer, I think you should offer BNPL as one of your payment options. But also warn your customers. It’s the right thing to do.

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