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Alibaba Registers $38.4 Billion During Its Singles’ Day Sales

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Alibaba Registers $38.4 Billion During Its Singles' Day Sales
Photo: GettyImages

A record-breaker As It Nets $1 Billion In Just 68 Seconds.

Alibaba, the number one Chinese online market registered a whopping sum of $38.4 Billion during its ‘Singles’ Day’ sales today. An amount equivalent to ¥268.4 billion in the native Renminbi currency of China. And displacing its previous record of $30.7 billion haul from last year, which was the highest sales to be recorded on any e-commerce platform prior to now. Hitting a $1 billion mark a little after the first minute. It went on to report over $12 billion in sales within the hour, which surmounted to $22 billion by the next 8 hours.

Tagged ‘Double 11’ due to its November 11th (11/11) date, this event turns out to be the world’s biggest online shopping event in recent times. The ‘Singles’ Day’ kickstarted with a 24-hour shopping blitz headlined by renowned pop-star – Taylor Swift on Sunday night at Shanghai stadium. This year’s countdown also featured a Livestream on Tmall by Kim Kardashian for her fragrance line as well as local celebrities such as Jackson Yee. Aside from the obvious, the fortuity of the ceremony also indicates continuous progress for Alibaba as it marks the first Singles’ Day without its former boss and Founder – Jack Ma.

Earlier today, the online shopping retail store reported tremendous patronage like never seen before. Enjoying more than half a billion visitors from all over the world with well over 200,000 participating brands. Although introduced by Alibaba in 2009, the event also included other Chinese e-commerce companies. Alibaba, therefore, established an online trading consortium that jointly agrees to offer a tremendous discount to the Chinese crowd over the 24-hour period. Subsequently gaining more traction outside of China, including Singles Day discounts by Alibaba’s subsidiary – Lazada in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. And even in the far west, such as NIKE and Brooks Brothers in the US.

Photo: Forbes

Although a similar event has been hosted in the US, such as the five-day span ‘Black Friday’, ‘Cyber Monday’ and ‘Prime Day’. The Single’s Day festival is far more lauded than its American counterparts, hence the involvement of a handful of American brands in the event. Yet, following a survey by AlixPartners, 80% of the Chinese shoppers precluded plans to boycott the 400 US retailers looking to run promotions for Singles Day. Regarded as the Chinese’s informal shopping holiday. And according to Forbes, the outcome of the one-day event last year, eclipses that of the US celebrated Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon’s Prime Day – combined.

Another data analytics platform – Adobe Analytics, forecasts a colossal increase in the US shopping events this year aggregating $143.7 billion. Further proposing that Cyber Monday might amount to $9.4 billion in total sales while Thanksgiving could generate an estimated $29 billion this year.

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Project Successfully Debuts NASA’s Launch into Space

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Elon Musk’s SpaceX Project Successfully Debuts NASA’s Launch into Space
Photo Credit: SpaceX

SpaceX– Elon Musk’s aerospace company, just launched two NASA astronauts into space. SpaceX is a privately owned American aeronautic manufacturing and space exploration technologies corporation, founded sometime in 2002 with the primary intention of revolutionizing space technology and promoting the emigration to mars through reduced space transportation cost. SpaceX group, an enterprise spearheaded by one of the most innovative minds of our times, has introduced a new age of human spaceflight in the United States. The project codenamed ‘Crew Dragon Mission’ was the second attempt by the company to launch spacemen into the orbit, over the last two decades – as the first attempt from three days ago was canceled a few minutes before take-off due to stormy weather.

This most recent development is part of NASA’s Artemis program. It comes as a relish to NASA and SpaceX since the automated spacecraft manufacturer was sanctioned by NASA barely two weeks ago to develop a lunar optimized Starship that would transport its crew between the lunar orbit and the surface of the moon. The two astronauts involved in this record-breaking venture are; Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley – both of whom are NASA veteran space travelers.

NASA astronauts Doug and Bob lifted off circa 15:22 UTC on Saturday, 30 May 2020, from Kennedy Space Center on Merritt Island, Florida – which happens to be the same launch pad used to send the Apollo astronauts to the moon fifty years ago. Notably, the launch of the SpaceX aero flights – Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon crew capsule, from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center to the International Space Station (ISS) marks the first time in 9 years since a spacecraft has been launched from American soil and also the first time a private company has done it.

The NASA astronauts have successfully arrived at the International Space Station. In attendance to witness the event in Florida was President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and the SLOTUS – Karen Pence of the United States of America.

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Apple Acquires AI Startup to Improve Siri

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Apple Acquires AI Startup to Improve Siri

In the race for new and improved virtual assistance services, Apple is once again, yet to take the lead through its acquisition of the Ontario-based machine learning startup – Inductiv. The brains behind Inductiv include professors from Stanford University, the University of Wisconsin, and the University of Waterloo – in the persons of Christopher Ré, Theodoros Rekatsinas, and Ihab Ilyas. This band of Engineering professors is the latest supplement to Apple’s development team in addition to the company’s myriad of Engineers from Silicon Valley, slated to work on the Siri among other things. Apparently, this team of professors would be working on the AI, Machine learning, and data science section of the company – an important aspect of Apple’s deep learning strategy. In a statement provided by Apple’s spokesperson, the deal has been sealed and stamped. The representative further confirmed the deal with a rather unapologetic tune, asserting that it;

“buys smaller technology companies from time to time and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” 

The idea of virtual assistance is to make life a lot easier as these software agents make it easiest to navigate between the software and programs of an operating system. Inductiv has been focused on developing technologies that utilize machine learning to automate a hassle-free procedure of identifying and correcting erratic datasets in the past. Evidently, having authentic data is key to ensuring a seamless and robust AI functionality which is why AI and data science are essential to a machine learning ecosystem. Through deep Learning and AI, these virtual assistive technologies could be programmed to automate certain processes that would normally require human interaction. By this, you can make your assistant do your phone’s tasks for you – such as make your calls, send important emails, and even entertain you during your leisure time, while you just sit back and relax. 

Although, Apple’s senior vice president of Machine Learning and AI Strategy – John Giannandrea, has indicated the company’s interest to work on a few improvements with regards to Siri and other AI-powered products from the company. However, the iPhone maker has drastically slacked in the niche of virtual assistance in recent times. Giving way for other competitors such as Microsoft’s Cortana, Google Home, and Amazon Alexa. According to research conducted a couple of years ago by Forbes, Siri ranked number 4 on the top 10 list of virtual assisting technologies for mobile and still is at present.

Apparently, this comes as a huge blow on the overall image of Apple’s technological growth, given that Siri was the pioneer software in the sphere of voice-controlled assistive technology. Since it provided the prototype from which other virtual assisting apps borrowed their ideas. Little wonder why Apple has been acquiring a host of AI-related startup companies in most recent times including NextVR,  Xnor.ai, Deep Fusion, Tuplejump, Laserlike, Voysis, Turi, and Perceptio.

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