Agility Robotics Trims Workforce to Prioritize Commercialization Goals

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Agility Robotics on Thursday confirmed that it has laid off a “small number” of employees. The well-funded Oregon-based firm says the job loss is part of a company-wide focus on commercialization efforts. Ultimately, however, those efforts were placed on the back burner, as the company shifted focus to understaffed warehouses. Two years ago this month, the company announced a $150 million Series B. Amazon notably participated in the round by way of its Industrial Innovation Fund. Last month at Modex, Agility showcased updates to Digit’s end effectors designed specifically for automotive manufacturing workflows.

“Binance Ceases Naira Services Amid Ongoing Regulatory Inquiry in Nigeria”

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Binance will discontinue its naira (NGN) services in response to heightened regulatory scrutiny in Nigeria, it said in a blog post today. The cryptocurrency exchange will begin delisting any existing NGN spot trading pairs by Thursday, March 7. Any remaining NGN balances in users’ spot and funding wallets will be converted to USDT on Friday, March 8, it noted. This development follows recent regulatory actions by the Nigerian government, which imposed restrictions on both local and foreign cryptocurrency exchanges, including Binance. What followed was the reported detention of two Binance officials after they were invited to Nigeria to discuss the regulatory restrictions.

“Byju’s Reduces Valuation Request to $250M in Rights Offering Amid Financial Strain”

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Byju’s, the world’s most valuable edtech startup, has cut its valuation ask to $250 million in a rights issue it launched Monday as the Indian firm works to address its working capital needs. If Byju’s succeeds in raising $200 million, the post-money valuation of the startup will be in the range of $220 million to $250 million, a 99% drop from the $22 billion value that the startup had previously attained. The rights issue comes as Byju’s looks to secure capital amid a severe funding crunch. Byju’s was preparing to go public in early 2022 through a SPAC deal that would have valued the company at up to $40 billion. The company began facing mounting pressure from investors to address issues that it had previously left unresolved.

“Defending the Use of AI: Selkie Founder’s Bold Stance on Cutting-Edge Dress Collection Sparks Controversy”

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An extra toe is like a representation of where we are beginning.”But when the brand announced that the collection was designed using generative AI, backlash was immediate. In the year since she finalized designs for this drop, public opinion of AI art has shifted significantly. As generative AI tools become more sophisticated, the use of AI in art has also become increasingly polarizing. Of course, not all generative AI is exploitative; as a VFX tool, it’s immensely useful to enhance animations, from creating more realistic flames in Pixar’s “Elemental” to visualizing complex scenes in HBO’s “The Last Of Us.” There are plenty of examples of morally bankrupt applications of generative AI. But most of the generative AI debate settles into a morally gray area, where the parameters of exploitation are less defined.

Tech Industry in Tulsa Proves Unbreakable in Light of Anti-DEI Actions by State Government

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Oklahoma took a stand against diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) last month. The state’s governor, Kevin Stitt, signed an executive order defunding DEI efforts in public colleges and universities and banning it in other state agencies. He said the move would take “politics out of education” and encourage “equal opportunity rather than promising equal outcomes.” Affirmative action itself has been banned in the state since 2012. But public colleges aren’t the only ones being affected; this is part of a broader backlash to DEI that has become prevalent in many industries, from technology to academia to fashion. Supporters of DEI say these initiatives help everyone get ahead, especially marginalized communities that have been historically disenfranchised.

Amidst India’s Cryptocurrency Scrutiny, WazirX Volumes Take a Sharp Plunge

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The trading volume at top Indian crypto exchange WazirX fell to $1 billion in 2023 as the platform faced intensifying regulatory pressure in its home market alongside a broader slump for digital asset prices — and equities — globally. WazirX, which has had a dispute with Binance over the Indian firm’s ownership, put a positive gloss on the latest figures, touting the $1 billion trading tally in a public statement Tuesday. The 97% plunge in trading volume comes as WazirX faces mounting regulatory pressures from Indian authorities that have left the country’s once-burgeoning crypto sector fighting for survival. India began taxing virtual currencies last year, levying a 30% tax on the gains and a 1% deduction on each crypto transaction. India’s intensifying regulatory crackdown on cryptocurrencies has cast a chill over local investors once eager to back the country’s crypto startups.