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Shopify almost completely eliminates work meetings

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Many meetings could be replaced by one or more emails. Many are clear about this, and are aware that endless meetings, in many cases, take time away from employees to do effective work. Therefore, in Shopify they have decided to end the vast majority of them. To do this, since this month of January, the Canadian company has communicated to its employees that it is going to carry out what it has described, according to Bloomberg, as a “calendar purge”. that’s why he’s going to delete all recurring meetings of more than two people forever.

It is not the only measure that it is going to take, since, among other things, it has also prohibited meetings of any kind from being held on Wednesdays. Meetings of more than 50 people that cannot be deleted and are truly relevant will have to be held within a six-hour time window on Thursdays, and only one such meeting can be held per week. In addition, Shopify managers have encouraged their employees in a message to reject other meetings, and to leave internal work groups in which there are many people.

According to Tobi Lutke, CEO of Shopify«the best founders can do is subtract. It is much easier to add things than to remove them. If you say yes to something, you are saying no to anything else you could have done in that period of time. As people add things, the set of things that can be done gets smaller. So you end up with more and more people who are just maintaining the status quo.«.

According to the company, there will be a bot that is in charge of reinforcing this new policy that they have decided to adopt. Among other things, its mission will be to remind meeting organizers of the new rules starting this coming day 5. Kaz Nejatina, Vice President of Product and COO of Shopifyhas sent a message by email in response to various questions that have arisen in this regard, in which he states that «Over the years, we’ve seen too many meetings creep into our day-to-day lives. We don’t know of anyone who logged into Shopify to participate in meetups.«.

The meetings purge is the latest experiment that Shopify is doing with their template. In May 2020, shortly after the start of the pandemic, the company went “digital by design,” allowing all of its employees to work from anywhere indefinitely.

Last year, amid major industry volatility that had a notable negative impact on tech stocks, Shopify changed its workers’ compensation practices to let workers choose how much of their salary they wanted in cash and how much in stock. instead of letting company management decide the combination.

These changes come after an increase in spending cuts at the company, which allows sellers to create websites to sell their products online, allowing them to have inventory management and payment processing, as well as various tools for in-store purchases. .

It was among the most attractive stocks in Canada in the pandemic, when online shopping soared. It even became the country’s highest-valued company, but its shares plummeted last year, losing 75% of their value. As a result, Shopify laid off about 1,000 employees of its 10,000-strong workforce last summer, and Lutke was left with no choice but to admit that he had overestimated the impact of the pandemic on e-commerce.

Adopting no-meeting policies can boost productivity as well as reduce stress among workers, according to some research. Of course, the company is not going to eliminate them completely, as we have seen. Only the important ones will be held, and there will also be a waiting period to be able to reorganize a canceled meeting: two weeks. This is the minimum amount of time that will elapse in Shopify from when a meeting is suspended until it can be called again.

In addition, the company has decided that Slack will only be used for internal IM from now on. Large chat groups, which are very difficult to manage, will only be used for making announcements.

Long and unproductive meetings have become a scourge for hybrid work and remote work, which has led more than a few companies to take measures to limit it. In Meta or Twilio, for example, it has already been decided that there are certain days when meetings cannot be held. Employees spend many hours in them, and according to some studies, only less than 15% of them refuse to participate in them. Of course, more than 30% would prefer to do so. And begrudgingly going to a non-critical meeting also makes big companies lose $100 million a year or so.


Microsoft increases the staff of its artificial intelligence center in Barcelona by a hundred

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Microsoft aumenta en un centenar la plantilla de su centro de inteligencia artificial en Barcelona

After the company announced a total of 10,000 layoffs worldwide, representing 5% of its workforce, Microsoft is now announcing the hiring of 100 new employees for its artificial intelligence (AI) center in Barcelona. This new wave of hiring, which contrasts with the economic recession and job cuts in the technology sector, adds to the 80 people who have joined the center in recent months.

That Microsoft hires 100 new employees for its AI center is not trivial, since since its opening in September 2021 its activity and productivity based on the development of models on artificial intelligence have not stopped growing. And it is that this space, attached to the division WebXT (Web Experiences Team), works to improve services such as Azure, Bing or Windows.

Microsoft seeks to strengthen its technology hub in Barcelona by attracting talent in new vacancies for specialists in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Software Development and Data Science.

With implementations in software engineering, data science, and machine learning, new AI models and innovative web experiences can be developed. The goal is to create a diverse work team in gender, culture and nationalities.

The president of Microsoft Spain, Alberto Granadoshas appeared during an event organized by the New Economy Forum and has stated that the employment adjustment plan will not affect the data center projects that exist in our country, although they will give priority to certain areas in order to face new challenges and projects .

However, he values ​​the global layoffs as a conservative and positive lineafter having increased its workforce by more than 50% in recent years.

Granados has assured that the layoffs from Microsoft will neither reach Spain nor will they affect the construction of data centers in Madridas well as the launch of his cloud region. Similarly, it ensures that the data centers of Meco, Algete and San Sebastián de los Reyes will have a impact of 15,000 million euros in the national economy and will generate 50,000 jobs.

A clear commitment to AI

The AI ​​center in Barcelona is the fourth that Microsoft has opened in Europe, after those in London, Paris and Munich, the eighth in the world and the first in Spain. It must be taken into account that AI does not stop growing and that, in addition to having been declared ‘the word of the year’ by the FundéuRAE, it is expected to that ends up being fully integrated into the business structure and assuming a brutal transformative effect on the economy.

Since Microsoft announced its investment in Open AI, its commitment to the integration of all Technologys (such as ChatGPT) in its products is complete. Thus, it is sought that it can be applied in Azure or Power Point so that users could generate texts or images organically. The objective of the company in Spain, in the words of Granados himself, is to Mark new opportunities with various Ibex 35 companies.

The WebXT organization It works as a start-up environment where you work on challenges that allow you to improve the consumer experience through optimal products and services such as Bing, Edge and MS News.

Spain, core of digital talent

To speak of Spain is to do it one of the ten countries that most attract and retain digital talent, being the fourth country in Europe, after the United Kingdom, Germany and France, in number of professionals and developers in the cloud. All this represents 10% of professionals certified in advanced Technologys in Europe.

With its new AI center in Barcelona, ​​Microsoft seeks to make Spain and Catalonia a reference in the sector. His plan is to continue working in partnership with universities, research centers and technology companies to promote training in AI and Machine Learning Technologys.

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OpenAI launches a tool to catch those who use ChatGPT and other AIs to generate texts

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OpenAI has announced the launch of a tool to distinguish between human-generated texts and the created by Artificial Intelligence systems, such as ChatGPT and GPT-3. Is named OpenAI AI Text Classifier, and for now it is not excessively accurate, since it has a success rate of 26%. However, according to OpenAI, if used in combination with other systems, it can be useful in preventing users of text-generating AI systems from abusing them.

Until now, mostly because students were starting to cast texts created with ChatGPT as part of their homework. They have also used them in other areas, which has led various institutions to prohibit the use of ChatGPT on their networks and equipment. This is the case of several schools in the United States. They have done so out of fears of the impact they may have on student learning.

Among the entities that have banned ChatGPT is Stack Overflow, whose managers have decided that their users cannot share content generated with ChatGPT, alleging that Artificial Intelligence makes it very easy for users to flood their discussion forums with more than dubious answers to the questions posed.

In other words, their mission will be to help discover those who use texts generated by Artificial Intelligence, ensuring that they have written them, or any other human. Of course, as the company points out, it is best to use it as a complement to other systems for identifying the text source, instead of using it as a primary tool to identify if it is written by humans.

In addition, it is a classification tool considered initial by OpenAI, although the company has decided to launch it to obtain information from its users about its utility. In OpenAI they also assure that they hope to share improved systems in the future, although without specifying.

As with ChatGPT, OpenAI AI Text Classifier is an Artificial Intelligence language model trained with a multitude of publicly available text examples on the web. But unlike said tool, it is tuned to predict the probability that the text it analyzes is generated by any Artificial Intelligence model capable of generating text.

Specifically, OpenAI has trained this tool with text from 34 text generation systems from five different organizations, including OpenAI. This text was matched with somewhat similar human-written text on Wikipedia, websites pulled from links shared on Reddit, and a set of human-written samples compiled by an older OpenAI text generation system.

Text Classifier does not work, yes, with any type of text. You need me to have a minimum of 1,000 characters, or between 150 and 200 words. In addition, it does not detect plagiarism, and according to the company, it is more likely to fail to detect texts written by an AI if the text is written by children or in a language other than English. The latter is mainly due to the fact that the data with which the tool has been trained is fundamentally in English.

The tool, when analyzing a text, displays a response, which determines the probability that the text is or is not generated by Artificial Intelligence. Thus, it will classify it as “very unlikely” that it is generated by an AI when it believes that this probability is less than 10%; “unlikely”, when the probability of this being the case is between 10% and 45%; “not clear” if the probability that it was not written by a human is between 45% and 90%; “possibly” generated by AI if it has between 90% and 98% probability that it is so, and “probably” generated by an AI if the percentage probability exceeds 98%.

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Did you miss the webinar? Find out how to reduce your environmental impact here

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Sustainability in IT operations and data centers has become one of the main challenges that companies face. Being sustainable makes it easier for companies to minimize their carbon footprint, reduce their costs, increase their productivity and improve their brand image among consumers who are increasingly concerned about the future of the planet. However, to be sustainable in an efficient and sustained way over time, it is essential to have the right partner.

A few days ago we held our webinar “How VMware helps you reduce your environmental impact” in which experts from the American multinational told us why it is important for all companies to bet on technological sustainability, what initiatives and strategies the company is implementing. company for reduce your environmental impact and how organizations can use VMware solutions to reduce their carbon footprint

Throughout this virtual meeting we have the participation of Lluis Altés, Senior Business Solutions Strategist at VMware, Clara Arbide
Iberia Regional Business Manager-Cloud Management at VMware and Carlos CarballeiraCloud Management Lead Solution Specialist at VMware, who told us about initiatives like “VMware Zero Carbon Committed” a program to catalyze and accelerate the transition to zero carbon clouds through the company’s associated data centers that are powered by renewable energy sources; or how VMware Aria helps companies become more sustainable, thanks to a cloud management solution that unifies applications, infrastructure and services in private, public and hybrid clouds, from a single platform, with a single data model.

If you missed the webinar or if you want to review some of the most interesting moments of this technical session, you can now do so by clicking on the following link. Do not think twice and discover how you can advance on the path of sustainability.

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