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AI Is Growing, but Strategy and Skills Need to Catch Up

Source: Enterprise Technology Trends, Salesforce

AI adoption is expected to double within two years in the IT industry. And chatbots — a form of AI that have maintained the same pace of adoption as AI at large — are also expected to double in use within the same time frame, a study by Salesforce shows.

Eighty-three percent of industry leaders say that AI is transforming customer engagement, and 69% say it is transforming their business, with customer service and marketing ranking as the areas of AI’s highest potential value. Beyond customer service, roughly 80% of industry leaders anticipate AI contributing to increased business security and operating efficiency.

However, while 37% of leaders say AI is a high priority, only 7% have a completely defined AI strategy. Insufficient skill sets are the biggest barrier to AI implementation, with just 10% of workers having advanced AI skills to match the desire to adopt the technology. 

But who is responsible for closing this skills gap? Ninety-six percent of general public respondents said: companies. 

Coronavirus Crisis: New York, LA, Detroit See Double-Digit Drops in Hiring

Source: LinkedIn, Workforce Report April 2020

New York City, Los Angeles and Detroit have seen the steepest falls in hiring out of all major U.S. cities due to the coronavirus, according to a new LinkedIn report

Out of the 20 cities tracked, these three saw double-digit drops in March, while other cities reported limited declines — an ominous warning that the worst is still to come for cities where coronavirus is not as widespread.

Overall, job hiring is 1.1% lower year over year, which is the largest drop in LinkedIn’s hiring rate since January 2017. The industries most hit are Recreation and Travel (-22.2% MoM), Wellness and Fitness (-20.9% MoM) and Nonprofits (-20.6%MoM). 

March was the first complete month that captured how the job market has been affected by COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Labor announced last week that a staggering 6,648,000 unemployment claims were filed — doubling the record set a week earlier of 3,307,000 claims filed.

Cost and Radiation Top Consumer Concerns with 5G

Source: Global Web Index

Financial and health concerns rank as the top barriers to 5G technology adoption.

An expected increase in the cost of smartphones and the potential health-related dangers of radiation are the top-two consumer concerns regarding the technology, according to a survey of online populations in the U.S. and U.K.

Forty-one percent of consumers are wary of the expense of 5G, with women, Gen Z and late adopters — those who prefer to assess the value of 5G before switching over — particularly concerned. 

Potential exposure to radiation comes in second. Some contend there is still not enough conclusive independent research on the dangers and safety of 5G, while others affirm there is no threat posed by the technology

Telecommunications companies have begun providing more information on how 5G works and what its benefits are to win consumers over. But uncertainty around safety is delaying the technology’s deployment, making the case for additional and independent research.

COVID-19 Causes 100% Decline in Seated Diners in Restaurant Industry

Source: OpenTable

Last updated on Wed., March 25,10:09 a.m.

The restaurant industry is in freefall as the calamitous economic impact of the novel coronavirus continues to be felt. According to a new OpenTable report surveying seven countries, restaurants are seeing a 100% decline in seated diners, including online and phone reservations and walk-ins. 

The report includes results from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom and Australia. Restaurants in all countries have seen a full decline in seated diners, save for Mexico, which is currently reporting a 96% decline. 

The sharp and sudden decline has already hit jobs in the hospitality sector, with thousands already lost. Restaurants are increasingly turning to their communities for support to stay afloat. OpenTable is providing multiple avenues to support struggling restaurants, like buying a gift card to use in the future or ordering take-out and delivery. Conversely, while dining restaurants suffer, grocery store app downloads, like Instacart and Walmart Grocery, have skyrocketed.

The Internet Is Least Accessible in These 10 Countries

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

Key dots: white — overall ranking; green — availability; pink — affordability; purple — relevance; and yellow — readiness

Countries in Africa claim the bottom 10 spots in a ranking on internet availability. This is due to a mix of issues including cost and lack of infrastructure, as is seen in the Inclusive Internet Index, a project between Facebook and The Economist Intelligence Unit, which covers 91% of the world’s population.

For Liberia, where connection is most difficult, access to electricity is one of the root issues. It is also where internet service is the most expensive relative to per capita national income — and, the report says, where “mobile data prices are also among the highest.”

But there has been progress: Broadband connections across Africa passed 400 million in 2018, a twentyfold increase from eight years prior, a report from the World Bank notes. 

The report also highlights initiatives to double internet connectivity across the continent by 2021, compared to 2016, and “to achieve universal affordable and good quality broadband access in Africa by 2030.”

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