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Google and Meta have strong political bias: Musk

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New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) Referring to a post claiming Google interference in the US elections, Tesla and SpaceX CEO, Elon Musk on Tuesday said that “Google and Meta’s Facebook and Instagram have strong political bias.”

A user named Steven Mackey shared a post on X, in which he showed reports claiming Google’s interference in the US elections.

“Google is far more than a racist company, it is a firm that has in the past and is currently interfering in our elections,” Mackey wrote.

Replying to the post, Musk said, “Google and Facebook/Instagram have a strong political bias. Hard to say if they were the deciding factor in any given election, but they certainly put their thumb on the scale.”

“That video of Google execs holding an all-hands struggle session after Trump won was disturbing,” Musk added.

Meanwhile, responding to a post showing screenshots of Gemini’s response to “misgender” Caitlyn Jenner, the tech billionaire said, “The sheer insanity of that actual response from Google’s AI is staggering! They will fix it to be less obvious in the future, but the bias will still be in there.”

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“AI mirrors the mistakes of its creators. When people wonder how things might go wrong if AI controlled the world, this example clearly illustrates the point,” he added.

Musk also mentioned that, in his opinion, the best approach to AI safety and the only strategy that would work “is to be maximally truth-seeking.”

–IANS

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Monsoon arrives simultaneously in Kerala, northeastern states

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) The southwest monsoon has arrived simultaneously in Kerala and the northeastern states on Thursday, two days ahead of its expected date of June 1.

“Southwest monsoon has set in over Kerala and advanced into most parts of northeast India today, May 30, 2024,” India Meteorological Department announced in a post on X.

IMD had said on Wednesday that conditions were rapidly becoming favourable for the onset of the southwest monsoon over Kerala within the next 24 hours. This was a day earlier than IMD’s first forecast for the onset of the monsoon on May 31.

The influence of Cyclone Remal is reported to have accelerated the onset of monsoon over the northeast as well.

Normally, the monsoon arrives in the northeastern states of Arunachal Pradesh, Tripura, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Manipur, and Assam on June 5.

The onset of the monsoon in Kerala marks the start of India’s southwest monsoon season, which stretches from June to September, and accounts for over 70 per cent of the country’s annual rainfall.

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The monsoon plays a key role in the Indian economy as close to 50 per cent of the country’s farmland does not have any other source of irrigation. The monsoon rains are also crucial for recharging the country’s reservoirs and aquifers from which the water can be used later in the year to irrigate crops.

India has emerged as a key exporter of foodgrains but had to resort to curbing overseas shipments of sugar, rice, wheat and onions in order to increase domestic supplies and keep prices in check due to the erratic monsoon last year which hit farm production. A robust growth in the farm sector helps to keep inflation in check.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) defines average or normal rainfall as between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of a 50-year average of 87 cm (35 inches) for the June-Sept season.

Apart from supplying food, the farm sector also plays a key role in providing a demand for industrial goods such as two-wheelers, fridges and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). An increase in agricultural production and incomes, therefore, apart from contributing directly to GDP growth also leads to an increase in industrial growth.

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–IANS

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Industry veteran Sharat Sinha appointed as CEO of Airtel Business

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Telecom service provider Bharti Airtel, on Thursday, appointed Sharat Sinha as CEO of Airtel Business, with effect from June 3.

Sinha will report to Managing Director and CEO, Gopal Vittal, and will be a part of the Airtel Management Board, the company said in a statement.

“I am confident that Sinha’s broad global experience in product management and business leadership across many of the world’s leading technology companies will provide tremendous firepower to Airtel’s ambitions in rapidly growing our portfolio across connectivity and adjacencies,” said Vittal.

Sinha joins Airtel Business from Checkpoint Software Technologies, where he served as President of Asia Pacific.

He has earlier worked with tech companies like Palo Alto Networks, Cisco and VMware in various leadership roles.

“Airtel Business is a leader in the business-to-business (B2B) space offering marquee solutions to enterprises and I am delighted to join this passionate team as they continue to steer towards enhancing their leadership with future-ready technology innovations and solutions that deliver greater value to customers,” said Sinha.

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Airtel has over 500 million customers in 17 countries across South Asia and Africa.

–IANS

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RBI sees CPI inflation easing to 4.5 pc in 2024-25

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Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) The RBI has projected the country’s inflation rate, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), at 4.5 per cent for 2024-25 in the backdrop of an above-average monsoon expected this year and easing of supply chain pressures.

“Headline inflation moderated by 1.3 percentage points on an annual average basis to 5.4 per cent in 2023-24. The easing of supply chain pressures, broad-based softening in core inflation and early indications of an above normal southwest monsoon augur well for the inflation outlook in 2024-25,” the RBI said in its annual report released on Thursday.

However, the increasing incidence of climate shocks impart considerable uncertainty to the food inflation and overall inflation outlook. Low reservoir levels, especially in the southern states and the outlook of above-normal temperatures during the initial months of 2024-25 need close monitoring, according to the report.

“The volatility in international crude oil prices, the persisting geopolitical tensions and elevated global financial market volatility also pose upward risk to the inflation trajectory. Taking into account these factors, CPI inflation for 2024-25 is projected at 4.5 per cent with risks evenly balanced,” the report states.

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The RBI has also highlighted the need to continue with the existing monetary stance to keep inflation under control.

“As the path of disinflation needs to be sustained till inflation reaches the 4 per cent target on a durable basis, the MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) in its April 2024 meeting, kept the policy repo rate unchanged at 6.50 per cent and noted that monetary policy must continue to be actively disinflationary to ensure anchoring of inflation expectations and fuller transmission. The MPC also decided to remain focused on withdrawal of accommodation to ensure that inflation progressively aligns to the target, while supporting growth,” the report observes.

The Reserve Bank said that it will remain “nimble and flexible” in its liquidity management through main and fine-tuning operations, both repo and reverse repo. It will deploy an appropriate mix of instruments to modulate frictional as well as durable liquidity to ensure that money market interest rates evolve in an orderly manner so that financial stability is preserved.

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–IANS

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Pine Labs partners Google India to enable Gift Cards integration with 'Wallet' app

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New Delhi, May 30 (IANS) Fintech company Pine Labs on Thursday announced it partnered with Google India to enable Gift Cards integration with the tech giant’s ‘Wallet’ app.

According to the company, the Gift Cards usage experience enabled by this partnership will provide ease and convenience to existing and new users and will eliminate the complexity around usage.

Google Wallet users will be able to easily store and manage their gift card journey from within the app and will be seamlessly reminded to use it when making a purchase.

“Considering the huge Android user base in the country, we anticipate a sharp jump in the usage of Gift Cards as more retailers and brands will now look to leverage it in their omnichannel strategy to expand their customer base, improve customer experience, retention, and loyalty,” Navin Chandani, President – Issuing Business, Pine Labs, said in a statement.

According to a report by Research and Markets, the Gift Cards market in India is expected to grow from $7.6 billion in 2023 to $15.7 billion by 2028.

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“The arrival of Google Wallet in India marks an important milestone in Android’s India journey, bringing innovative and convenient experiences to simplify people’s daily lives,” said Ram Papatla, GM & India Engineering Lead, Android at Google.

–IANS

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RBI sees India as an emerging global hub for chips, electronics manufacturing

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Mumbai, May 30 (IANS) India’s emerging sectors like renewable energy and semiconductors are expected to make rapid advances on the back of the recent initiatives by the government, according to the RBI’s annual report released on Thursday.

The interim Union Budget 2024-25, with an allocation of ₹6,903 crore for semiconductor and display fabs, would contribute to making India a global hub for chip and electronics manufacturing, the report states.

Investments under the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme are likely to gain further momentum going forward. These factors are expected to create new employment opportunities, improve labour incomes and strengthen domestic demand. Taking into account these factors, real GDP growth for 2024-25 is projected at 7.0 per cent, the report states.

The passage of ‘The Anusandhan National Research Foundation Bill, 2023’, has paved the way for establishing the Anusandhan National Research Foundation (NRF), which would provide a boost to research and innovation in basic science, healthcare, and humanities.

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Furthermore, the National Quantum Mission (NQM), approved at a total cost of around ₹6,000 crore (2023-24 to 2030-31), would scale up scientific and industrial research and development (R&D) and innovative ecosystem in quantum technology (QT). It would propel national priorities like Digital India, Make in India, Skill India and Stand-up India, Start-up India, Self-reliant India and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

All these initiatives, along with government-led investment in the infrastructure sector and increasing adoption of digital technologies, are likely to boost productivity and potential growth in the medium term, the report states.

–IANS

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