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6 things small business owners need to know in tech this week

Posted 4 years ago in Small business by
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  1. Artificial Intelligence, or machines that start to act like humans, is a technology segment which has come a long way in recent times. Think how much smarter Siri has become since her wobbly, early days. Last year Google spent £400 million acquiring AI company DeepMind and while the company’s CEO Demis Hassabis says machines with human-level intelligence are still a few decades off, their potential impact means the industry’s top minds need to start talking about ethics, now. An AI ethics meeting will be held at NYU in January. There’s more here.
  2. Could virtual reality one day be more ubiquitous than smartphones? Oculus Rift founder Palmer Luckey thinks so. Speaking at Web Summit it Ireland, he said “I’d be very surprised if 50 years from now we’re still all carrying around slabs in our pockets when you can just project a virtual environment.” The disruption forces which emerge from technological advancements still have a long way to run. There’s more at CNet.
  3. Facebook beat analyst expectations when it released its Q3 earnings this week. Revenue was up 41% year-on-year and its decision to make some big product investments have seen expenses rise 68% compared to the same period last year. R&D more than doubled over the same period to $US1.27 billion. But what’s amazing is the company now has more than a billion daily active users, up 17% year-on-year.
  4. Our half yearly results came out too. We blasted through $200 million in annualized monthly revenue, and we now have over 600,000 subscribers from 180 countries. The growth in revenue has allowed us to boost our investment in R&D, including product design and development. You can read Xero CEO, Rod Drury’s note on the results here.
  5. The payments sector is one that has been completely transformed by technology. So much so that nearly any vendor – regardless of size – can accept credit cards in lieu of cash and operate their business on the run. As Square prepares to IPO in the US, the payments sector has become very crowded. The Australian Financial Review has done a great breakdown of many of the mobile payments providers available to small businesses. You can find it here.
  6. The race to make driverless cars a widespread reality is on. Apple, Uber and Google have all been working on their own versions of autonomous technology and now, major car manufacturers are jumping in on the action.  Driverless cars won’t just make our lives more efficient, they will overturn the business models of the entire automotive industry.

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