Saturday, April 20, 2024

Morning business headlines – Nov. 6, 2023

by BIZ Magazine

Inspired by online dating, AI tool for adoption matchmaking falls short for vulnerable foster kids

Former social worker Thea Ramirez has developed an artificial intelligence-powered tool that she says helps social service agencies find the best adoptive parents for some of the nation’s most vulnerable kids. But an Associated Press investigation has found that the Family-Match algorithm has produced limited results in the states where it has been used, raising questions about the ability of artificial intelligence to solve such enduring human problems. Virginia and Georgia dropped the algorithm after trial runs, noting its inability to produce adoptions. Tennessee scrapped the program before rolling it out, saying it didn’t work with their system, and social workers reported mixed experiences in Florida. Ramirez said in an email that “Family-Match is a valuable tool.”

Does an AI tool help boost adoptions? Key takeaways from an AP Investigation

An artificial intelligence-powered tool meant to help social service agencies in adoptions was inspired by online dating. Ex-social worker Thea Ramirez says the algorithm developed by two former eharmony researchers helps social service agencies find the best adoptive parents for some of the nation’s most vulnerable kids. Ramirez has won support from public figures and says Family-Match is a valuable and helpful tool. Ramirez got her start building a website meant to bring prospective adoptive parents together with mothers giving up their babies for adoption. An Associated Press investigation finds the Family-Match tool has produced limited results. Virginia and Georgia dropped Family-Match trial runs. Tennessee killed a pilot program before rollout.

AT&T offers managers a rare benefit: paid time off to care for loved ones

NEW YORK (AP) — AT&T management employees are entitled to up to 15 days off caregiver leave, which allows them to care for ailing children or other relatives without eating into their vacation or personal sick days. Paid caregiver time off is a rarity in the U.S., which has no federal law requiring employers to offer paid sick or family leave. AT&T’s Vice President of Global Benefits Juli Galloway said the company decided to offer caregiver leave, as well as expanding its parental leave, to help its management employees balance their personal and professional lives in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fortnite maker challenges Google’s ability to take a cut of in-app purchases

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Google on Monday will try to protect a lucrative piece of its internet empire at the same time it’s still entangled in the biggest U.S. antitrust trial in a quarter century. The latest threat will unfold in a San Francisco federal court, where a 10-person jury will decide whether Google’s digital payment processing system in the Play Store that distributes apps for phones running on its Android software has been illegally driving up prices for consumers and developers.

Stock market today: Wall Street holds steadier and drifts after last week’s big swings

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are drifting in early trading as Wall Street’s wild recent moves calm a bit. The S&P 500 was up 0.1% in its first trading after careening from months of sharp losses to its best week of the year. The Dow rose 29 points, and the Nasdaq composite was up 0.4%. The flashpoint for the stock market’s movements in both directions has been what the bond market is doing, and it was regressing a bit Monday following its own extreme moves. Crude prices rose after big oil-producing countries said they’d keep production cuts in place.

Washington Post names veteran media executive Will Lewis as its new publisher and CEO

NEW YORK (AP) — The Washington Post has named veteran media executive Will Lewis to serve as its new CEO and publisher. Lewis is joining the newspaper at a moment when one of the American news industry’s most storied outlets is struggling against the economic headwinds facing U.S. media companies. News of Lewis’s appointment was announced by the Post on Saturday. Lewis is currently the founder, CEO and publisher of The News Movement, a social-first media business targeting a Gen Z audience. He served as CEO of Dow Jones and publisher of The Wall Street Journal from 2014 to 2020, and was chief creative officer of News Corp. and group general manager there.

‘Amtrak Joe’ Biden is off to Delaware to give out $16 billion for passenger rail projects

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is promoting new cash for Amtrak. Biden is off to Bear, Delaware, on Monday to announce more than $16 billion in new funding that will go toward 25 passenger rail projects between Boston and Washington. The Democratic president’s remarks will be held at the Amtrak Bear Maintenance Shops, where trains are maintained and repaired. The White House says investments will help trains run faster, cut delays and create union jobs. And the money comes from Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure law, which is one of several legislative accomplishments he will tout during his reelection campaign.

Trump takes the stand in New York civil case alleging financial fraud

NEW YORK (AP) — Former President Donald Trump has begun testifying in a civil fraud lawsuit that accuses him of dramatically inflating his net worth. Trump took the stand Monday in Manhattan Supreme Court, where he’s expected to face hours of questions from lawyers. The testimony creates a rare spectacle of a former president and current candidate being called to the witness stand in the middle of a campaign. In a social media post before his arrival, Trump attacked the judge and the state attorney general’s office that brought the case, as he’s done repeatedly.

Walt Disney Co. names PepsiCo’s Hugh Johnston as chief financial officer

The Walt Disney Co. on Monday named 34-year PepsiCo veteran Hugh Johnston as its new chief financial officer. Johnston, who has been PepsiCo’s CFO since 2010, will replace Kevin Lansberry effective Dec. 4. Lansberry was appointed Disney’s interim CFO earlier this year. Johnston has served a variety of roles at PepsiCo beginning in 1987. He left to become the CFO at Merck & Co. from 1999 to 2002, then returned to the Purchase, New York snack and beverage giant. Johnston will report to Disney CEO Bob Iger, who returned to the Burbank, California entertainment giant just less than a year ago.

Humanoid robots are here, but they’re a little awkward. Do we really need them?

Building a robot that’s both human-like and useful is a decades-old engineering dream inspired by popular science fiction. The latest artificial intelligence craze has sparked another wave of investments in the quest to build a humanoid, but most of the current prototypes are clumsy and impractical. They tend to look better in staged performances than in real life. That hasn’t stopped a handful of startups from keeping at it. One of them, Agility Robotics, has caught the attention of Amazon, which is testing out its Digit robot for warehouse work.

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