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Software Giant Microsoft Aims to Extend Internet Access to 40mn by 2022

Earlier, the firm did this on a project-by-project basis spanning Africa, Latin America and Asia

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FILE - Microsoft Corp. signage is seen outside the Microsoft Visitor Center in Redmond, Washington, July 3, 2014. VOA

In a bid to connect billions of people that do not have access to Internet connectivity, tech giant Microsoft, through its Airband Initiative, now aims to extend Internet access to 40 million underserved people globally by July 2022.

Started in 2017, Microsoft’s Airband initiative streamlined efforts to set up Internet access across the US.

This time the company is focusing on areas with significant underserved populations and it will start with Latin America and Sub-Saharan Africa that have regulatory interest in solving connectivity issues.

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A man walks past a Microsoft sign set up for the Microsoft BUILD conference at Moscone Center in San Francisco, April 28, 2015. VOA

“Extending Internet access to 40 million people around the world in the span of three years is a big task — but it’s informed by our ongoing work in connectivity, experience with partners and engagement from development finance institutions,” Shelley McKinley-Head of Technology and Corporate Responsibility, Microsoft, wrote in a blog post on Monday.

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Earlier, the firm did this on a project-by-project basis spanning Africa, Latin America and Asia.

“In the US, we formalised our connectivity work in 2017 by launching the Airband Initiative, with the goal of bringing broadband connectivity to 3 million people in rural America by July 2022, and today marks the formalisation of the international work within the Initiative,” McKinley added. (IANS)

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Microsoft Lays Off News Production Workers; Replace Them With AI

A report suggests that Microsoft has cut off its editorial staff and replaced them with AI

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Microsoft cuts off staff and replaces them with artificial intelligence. Pxabay

Microsoft is reportedly laying off at least 50 news production workers and replacing them with artificial intelligence (AI)-based algorithms to perform their editorial duties.

According to a report in the Seattle Times on Saturday, the roughly 50 employees contracted through staffing agencies Aquent, IFG and MAQ Consulting have been notified “that their services would no longer be needed beyond June 30”.

These news production contractors work with Microsoft News, the company’s news content arm that operates MSN.com and other properties.

A Microsoft spokesperson said in a statement that like all companies, they evaluate business on a regular basis.

“This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, redeployment in others. These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic,” said the Microsoft spokesperson.

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All the work, duty and tasks of the workers will be performed by AI. Pixabay

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Some employees told Seattle Times that “MSN will use AI to replace the production work they’d been doing”.

The work includes using algorithms to identify trending news stories from dozens of publishing partners, rewrite headlines or adding better photographs or slide shows.

Besides the production work, the contract employees also planned content, maintained the editorial calendars of partner news websites and assigned content to them. (IANS)

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Windows 10: May 2020 Update Features Linux 2, latest Cortana updates

The May 2020 Update of Windows 10 contains feature improvements

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Windows 10 May 2020 update is now live with built-in Linux and Cortana. Pixabay

The Windows 10 May 2020 Update has started to reach customers globally with features like Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 as well as latest Cortana updates.

The biggest under-the-hood change to the May 2020 Update is the inclusion of the Windows Subsystem for Linux 2 (WSL 2), with a custom-built Linux kernel.

The Linux integration in Windows 10 will greatly improve the performance of Microsoft’s Linux subsystem in Windows.

“As the world and people’s routines change, it is important that we focus on meeting the over a billion people around the world relying on Windows where they are now,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

“The May 2020 Update comes with feature improvements that will help save you time and maybe even be a source of fun,” it added.

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The Cortana assistant has been updated with a new chat-based interface where one can either speak or type your requests. Pixabay

The Cortana assistant has been updated with a new chat-based interface where one can either speak or type your requests. The new and updated interface can be accessed from the Windows 10 taskbar.

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The update brings the popular Your Phone app’s Calls feature to ARM supported PCs from Microsoft and our OEM partners.

One will now place, receive, or text reply to incoming phone calls directly on PC without having Android phone right next to PC.

“With the Your Phone app, one can stay in flow by sending or receiving texts, checking notifications and getting instant access to Android phone’s photos and apps via computer’s large screen and keyboard,” said Microsoft. (IANS)

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Special Olympics Partners Microsoft, Xbox to Organise Online Gaming Tournament

The tournament is scheduled to be held on May 30

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Special Olympics has partnered Microsoft and Xbox to organise a gaming tournament on May 30. Pixabay

Special Olympics has partnered Microsoft and Xbox to organise a gaming tournament on May 30 and fans can watch livestreamed Forza Motorsport 7 racing on Mixer, Xbox YouTube or Twitch.

There will be a first-ever Special Olympics award ceremony on gaming platform Minecraft.

“We’re partnering with the Special Olympics to keep athletes connected and maintain the joy of sports, using the power of Xbox,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella tweeted.

Special Olympics is the world’s largest sports organisation for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and physical disabilities, providing year-round training and activities to 5 million participants and Unified Sports partners in 172 countries.

Phil Spencer, Head of Xbox, said it is a great partnership with the amazing team at Special Olympics to bring gaming to the 2020 Special Olympics.

“Incredibly proud of all the teams that are making this possible and can’t wait to see the Olympians running some fast laps,” he said.

Back in 2018, Xbox hosted the first video gaming tournament at a Special Olympics event during Special Olympics USA Games held in Seattle, Washington.

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Xbox hosted the first video gaming tournament at a Special Olympics event in 2018. Pixabay

“This year, Microsoft and Special Olympics are teaming up for the 2020 Special Olympics Xbox Virtual Gaming Event featuring Turn 10 Studios’ Forza Motorsport 7,” said the company.

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Eleven US states will be represented in this year’s event with over 35 athletes participating.

Microsoft and Special Olympics have been working together since 2014 with the goal of empowering Special Olympics athletes and programmes through technology.

Throughout the partnership, technologies such as Xbox and Microsoft Teams have been tools to bring adults and children with intellectual disabilities together in the face of a host of obstacles. (IANS)