Intel CEO resigns after probe of relationship with employee

Intel CEO resigns after probe of relationship with employeeKrzanich led Intel as rival chipmakers ate away at its dominance in the technology over several decades and he also presided over a series of high-level executive departures. The change in leadership comes as Intel expands beyond personal computers and servers into areas such as artificial intelligence and self-driving cars, where smaller competitors including Nvidia Corp (NVDA.O) are strong. The board named Chief Financial Officer Robert Swan as interim CEO and said it has begun a search for a permanent CEO, including internal and external candidates.


YouTube introduces channel memberships, merchandise and premieres

YouTube creators are gaining a number of new tools to generate revenue from their videos outside of traditional advertising, as well as those that will help them better engage their fans, according to news the video streaming site announced today at the VidCon conference in Anaheim, California. This includes the rollout of channel memberships, merchandising, marketing partnerships via FameBit and the launch of “Premieres,” which offers a middle ground between pre-recorded, edited video and live streaming.

Memberships

Before today, YouTube had offered a Twitch-like “Sponsorship” model on YouTube Gaming. This gave fans the ability to sponsor a channel for $4.99 per month, which also gave them access to exclusive digital goods, like a custom badge and emoji.

YouTube started testing this program across its larger video network last fall, it said. Those tests led to YouTube channel memberships.

Unlike on YouTube gaming, Channel memberships have additional requirements.

Creators will need to have 100,000 subscribers or more, be over 18 and be members of the YouTube Partner Program.

However, the price point for backing a creator’s channel remains the same: $4.99 per month, and includes the custom badges and exclusive emoji.

It will also allow subscribers to gain access to members-only posts in the Community tab where creators will share custom perks from time to time, like access to an exclusive live stream, additional videos, shout-outs, news of upcoming events, early access to ticket sales and other things.

YouTube says it will vet these perks manually, to ensure they meet YouTube’s guidelines and are something the creator can actually deliver.

“This tool set is fairly powerful, so we want to make sure that they don’t put products out there, that they really can’t commit to,” explains Director of Product Management, Rohit Dhawan, who heads alternative monetization at YouTube.

He says the perks can be almost anything the creator wants to offer, within YouTube’s guidelines.

“It’s kind of like a blank canvas…it’s us giving the creators the tools to customize their membership offering and provide whatever perks that they feel is going to be valuable to the fans,” he says.

This feature launched in January for select creators, who have already been generating revenue. It will soon arrive for all who are eligible.

Comedy creator Mike Falzone more than tripled his YouTube revenue, thanks to memberships, says YouTube. Spanish gaming channel elrubiusOMG now has six times the number of members as it did sponsors on YouTube Gaming alone. And Wintergatan is making over 50 percent of revenue from Channel Memberships.

Overall, the number of creators earning five figures a year is up 35 percent, and the number of those earning six figures is up by 40 percent, YouTube says.

Similar to sponsorships, YouTube retains 30 percent of sponsorship revenue after local sales tax is deducted, but covers all transaction costs, including credit card fees.

Merchandise

In addition to memberships, creators will also be able to sell to fans directly, starting today.

In a shelf directly below the video itself, creators with more than 10,000 subscribers can offer merchandise like tee-shirts, hats, phone cases or any one of over 20 different merchandise items that make sense for their channel.

For example, the creator of Lucas the Spider turned his character into a plushie, and sold more than 60,000 units, making over $1 million in profit in just 18 days.

This new program is being launched in partnership with custom merchandise platform Teespring.

YouTube says that Teespring will retain a cut of the merchandise, which varies per item. Effectively, the way this works is that there’s a flat price per item sold that goes back to Teespring, but the creator can mark up the item to whatever price they want, then keep the upside.

For example, a single t-shirt’s base price is $10.22, but creators typically sell them for $22. However, if the creators sells 200-499 t-shirts, the base price drops to $9.82, so the creator makes more money.

But YouTube has also negotiated a deal with Teespring where it receives a commission on those sales — a small flat percentage, we’re told — the majority of which is returned to the creator. This is meant to incentivize the creator to sell merchandise through YouTube, as they’ll receive more thanks to this returned commission than if they sold direct.

This is also a massive win for Teespring, which only a few years ago was restructuring its business and laying off staff.

During beta testing, Teespring says there was an 82 percent success rate for YouTubers using the merchandise service, and conversions from views to sales were testing at 2.5 times higher than with standard description links. This led to an average of 25 percent more units sold per user, among early adopters.

In addition, creators who have been connected directly with brand sponsorships via FameBit, the company it acquired in fall 2016, will also be able to use the merchandise shelf to point fans to whatever they’re selling — like video games, apparel or any other product sold online. This feature was announced at VidCon, but hasn’t rolled out at this time.

Premieres

Finally, YouTubers who want to leverage the revenue generation possibilities that come with Live video will have a way to do so without having to actually go live.

Instead, they can use a new YouTube feature called “Premieres” that creates a landing page they can promote ahead of a video’s release. This page will also have a chat feature, like Live videos do, which means creators can use Super Chat and take advantage of Channel Membership perks even if they aren’t doing live content.

The videos are uploaded in the same interface on YouTube, so there’s no new workflow to learn beyond toggling the “Premiere” switch on.

Creators can also join in the chats as the video goes live to engage with their fans around this pre-recorded content, as well as comment on the videos before they start. When the Premiere wraps, it’s posted as a regular video on the site (without the two-minute countdown video YouTube adds).

“We’re going to use our search and discovery platform to promote these,” notes Kurt Wilms, Group Product Manager at YouTube, who’s leading Live.

“Upcoming premieres can appear on the [YouTube] homepage and in recommended videos,” he says. Premieres will also show in the section where all the channel content you’ve subscribed to displays, we’re told. And Premieres will be in YouTube search and YouTube related videos.

“They’re going to appear across all the dedicated discovery portions of our site, which is awesome,” he says.

Premieres can be used to promote upcoming videos from creators as well as things like new movie trailers from studios, trailers from video games, or even music videos. But Premieres is not tied to YouTube Music at this time.

A number of YouTube creators will be turning on Premieres after VidCon, including Simon & MartinaLeroy SanchezJackson BirdLos PolinesiosAri FitzZerkaaPlaysTheskorpionshow, Laura KampfVintage SpaceYammyR.LUM.R.JacksFilmsCorridor Digital and Innana Sarkis.

YouTube also said its version of Stories will arrive for all eligible creators with more than 10,000 subscribers later this year.

The announcements come at a critical time for YouTube, as Facebook is trying to woo creators away to its own network and video hub with unique features of its own.

The news also follows another announcement YouTube made to advertisers this week, about new ways they’ll be able to connect with their audience using a Creative Suite of ad tools.

SpaceX nabs $130 million to launch an Air Force satellite with Falcon Heavy

SpaceX beat out one other competitor to land a $130 million launch contract with the U.S. Air Force using its Falcon Heavy rocket. The award is an important validation of the Falcon Heavy, one of the most powerful rockets ever made.

Under the contract, the Hawthorne, Calif.-based rocket company founded by Elon Musk will launch the Air Force Space Command-52 satellite to its intended orbit. The contract includes launch vehicle production and mission, as well as integration, launch operations and spaceflight worthiness activities, according to a notice posted by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The work, which will be performed at SpaceX’s headquarters, the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and in McGregor, Texas, is expected to be completed by September 2020. The mission is planned to be launched from Kennedy Space Center.

Two proposals were received by the DOD in the competitive bidding process.

“SpaceX is honored by the Air Force’s selection of Falcon Heavy to launch the competitively-awarded AFSPC-52 mission,” said SpaceX President and COO Gwynne Shotwell. “On behalf of all of our employees, I want to thank the Air Force for certifying Falcon Heavy, awarding us this critically important mission, and for their trust and confidence in our company. SpaceX is pleased to continue offering the American taxpayer the most cost-effective, reliable launch services for vital national security space missions.”

SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy for the first time (with a Tesla Roadster strapped to the top, no less, because… well, Elon.) in February 2018. The rocket has three cores, or first-stage boosters, that work in unison to get the rocket into a low Earth orbit. There are two side boosters and a center core. SpaceX has designed the rocket so that after stage separation all three boosters will land and be able to be reused. The company recovered two of the three boosters.

The future of AI relies on a code of ethics

Facebook has recently come under intense scrutiny for sharing the data of millions of users without their knowledge. We’ve also learned that Facebook is using AI to predict users’ future behavior and selling that data to advertisers. Not surprisingly, Facebook’s business model and how it handles its users’ data has sparked a long-awaited conversation — and controversy — about data privacy. These revelations will undoubtedly force the company to evolve their data sharing and protection strategy and policy.

More importantly, it’s a call to action: We need a code of ethics.

As the AI revolution continues to accelerate, new technology is being developed to solve key problems faced by consumers, businesses and the world at large. It is the next stage of evolution for countless industries, from security and enterprise to retail and healthcare. I believe that in the near future, almost all new technology will incorporate some form of AI or machine learning, enabling humans to interact with data and devices in ways we can’t yet imagine.

Moving forward, our reliance on AI will deepen, inevitably causing many ethical issues to arise as humans turn over to algorithms their cars, homes and businesses. These issues and their consequences will not discriminate, and the impact will be far-reaching — affecting everyone, including public citizens, small businesses utilizing AI or entrepreneurs developing the latest tech. No one will be left untouched. I am aware of a few existing initiatives focused on more research, best practices and collaboration; however, it’s clear that there’s much more work to be done. 

For the future of AI to become as responsible as possible, we’ll need to answer some tough ethical questions.

Researchers, entrepreneurs and global organizations must lay the groundwork for a code of AI ethics to guide us through these upcoming breakthroughs and inevitable dilemmas. I should clarify that this won’t be a single code of ethics — each company and industry will have to come up with their own unique guidelines.

For the future of AI to become as responsible as possible, we’ll need to answer some tough ethical questions. I do not have the answers to these questions right now, but my goal is to bring more awareness to this topic, along with simple common sense, and work toward a solution. Here are some of the issues related to AI and automation that keep me up at night.

The ethics of driverless cars

With the invention of the car came the invention of the car accident. Similarly, an AI-augmented car will bring with it ethical and business implications that we must be prepared to face. Researchers and programmers will have to ask themselves what safety and mobility trade-offs are inherent in autonomous vehicles.

Ethical challenges will unfold as algorithms are developed that impact how humans and autonomous vehicles interact. Should these algorithms be transparent? For example, will a car rear-end an abruptly stopped car or swerve and hit a dog on the side of the street? Key decisions will be made by a fusion processor in split seconds, running AI, connecting a car’s vast array of sensors. Will entrepreneurs and small businesses be kept in the dark while these algorithms dominate the market?

Driverless cars will also transform the way consumers behave. Companies will need to anticipate this behavior and offer solutions to fill those gaps. Now is the time to start predicting how this technology will change consumer needs and what products and services can be created to meet them.

The battle against fake news

As our news media and social platforms become increasingly AI-driven, businesses from startups to global powerhouses must be aware of their ethical implications and choose wisely when working this technology into their products.

We’re already seeing AI being used to create and defend against political propaganda and fake news. Meanwhile, dark money has been used for social media ads that can target incredibly specific populations in an attempt to influence public opinion or even political elections. What happens when we can no longer trust our news sources and social media feeds?

AI will continue to give algorithms significant influence over what we see and read in our daily lives. We have to ask ourselves how much trust we can put in the systems that we’re creating and how much power we can give them. I think it’s up to companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter — and future platforms — to put safeguards in place to prevent them from being misused. We need the equivalent of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for news!

The future of the automated workplace

Companies large and small must begin preparing for the future of work in the age of automation. Automation will replace some labor and enhance other jobs. Many workers will be empowered with these new tools, enabling them to work more quickly and efficiently. However, many companies will have to account for the jobs lost to automation.

Businesses should begin thinking about what labor may soon be automated and how their workforce can be utilized in other areas. A large portion of the workforce will have to be trained for new jobs created by automation in what is becoming commonly referred to as collaborative automation. The challenge will come when deciding on how to retrain and redistribute employees whose jobs have been automated or augmented. Will it be the government, employers or automation companies? In the end, these sectors will need to work together as automation changes the landscape of work.

No one will be left untouched.

It’s true that AI is the next stage of tech evolution, and that it’s everywhere. It has become portable, accessible and economical. We have now, finally, reached the AI tipping point. But that point is on a precarious edge, see-sawing somewhere between an AI dreamland and an AI nightmare.

In order to surpass the AI hype and take advantage of its transformative powers, it’s essential that we get AI right, starting with the ethics. As entrepreneurs rush to develop the latest AI tech or use it to solve key business problems, each has a responsibility to consider the ethics of this technology. Researchers, governments and businesses must cooperatively develop ethical guidelines that help to ensure a responsible use of AI to the benefit of all.

From driverless cars to media platforms to the workplace, AI is going to have a significant impact on how we live our lives. But as AI thought leaders and experts, we shouldn’t just deliver the technology — we need to closely monitor it and ask the right questions as the industry evolves.

It has never been a more exciting time to be an entrepreneur in the rise of AI, but there’s a lot of work to be done now and in the future to ensure we’re using the technology responsibly.

Former Intel board member who left a month ago was totally surprised by the CEO's resignation (INTC)

Former Intel board member who left a month ago was totally surprised by the CEO's resignation (INTC)When Intel announced the resignation of its CEO Brian Krzanich on Thursday the whole world was surprised. Harvard Professor David Yoffie had been an Intel board member for 29 years until he stepped down in May. And he was as shocked as the rest of the business world when Intel announced on Thursday, just one month later, that CEO Brian Krzanich was resigning effectively immediately. Krzanich left Intel after the board discovered he had a relationship with an Intel employee, violating the company's rules about managers "fraternizing" with their employees, Intel said.