The Twitter Circle is finally live…and other small business tech news this week


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Here are five things that happened in technology last week and how they will affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — Twitter Circle is finally live globally, meaning deep subtweets for all.

Twitter’s new feature – called Twitter Circle – is now available to users around the world. The feature gives you the option to select an audience to send restricted, individual tweets to. With Twitter Circle, you can create an exclusive group of up to 150 Twitter followers, and tweets shared within it will not be visible to users outside of your exclusive group. The feature is now available on desktop, Android and iOS. (Source: Mashable)

Why this is important to your business:

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

2 — New York City’s AI discrimination law is charting new territory for employers.

New York City’s AI Discrimination Law penalizes employers for discrimination found in any artificial intelligence hiring tools. These tools include algorithms used to suggest software that analyzes body language. The law is forcing companies to test and audit their AI tools before January 2023, if the law takes effect. (Source: Bloomberg Law)

Why this is important to your business:

It remains to be seen whether artificial intelligence tools for recruiting and interviewing — and many of them are pushing the market — will be biased. But it is a growing issue. I like to recommend these tools to my clients because the idea is to help reduce bias in the interview process. But then again… they’re written by people, right? New York’s law, I’m betting, will be the first of many new regulations requiring employers to review the tools they’re using for HR and not just that they’re free of internal bias.

3—ROBE Array can allow small companies to use popular 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 array” — uses an algorithm that greatly reduces the size of DLRM’s memory structure. This means that those who don’t have access to the engineering expertise or high-end hardware required for larger systems can still benefit from the models. (Source: Science Daily)

Elon Musk lamented last year how difficult it would be to create autonomous vehicles because of the incredible amount of in-car computers to make split-second decisions. The ROBE array could help solve this problem and make it easier for hardware to handle more AI processing, and thus more powerful AI applications for small businesses in the near future.

4 — Instacart is launching a Big and Big fulfillment solution for retailers.

Instacart is rolling out a new feature called Big & Bulky. Big and bulky items — like home office supplies, outdoor furniture and electronics — can be delivered the same day they’re ordered on the Instacart app. Some of the first retailers to partner with Instacart include Office Depot, Staples, Spirit Halloween, Mastermind Toys, The Convenience Store and Big Lots. (Source: Retail Technology Innovation)

Why this is important to your business:

Big box stores are obviously the first to do this. But smaller chains and individual retailers may be next in line. If your store ships products to customers via Instacart, I think the Big & Buy solution may be important to you.

5—Back-to-school consumers are borrowing more ‘buy now, pay later’

A recent TransUnion survey found that nearly 40 percent of consumers use BNPL to purchase back-to-school supplies. This number shows that only 2 percent of consumers who responded to the TransUnion 2021 Consumer Holiday Shopping Survey said they use BNPL. Inflation appears to be a major factor behind the increase in BNPL usage, with 55 percent of survey participants saying they expect to spend more on back-to-school supplies this year. (Source: The Street)

Why this is important to your business:

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


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