Giant Ant


The Biggest IPO of All Time?

Ant Financial, the fintech arm of Jack Ma's Alibaba Group that also is a major investor in startups, this week filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong and Shanghai. It could be the largest IPO of all time, Axios reports, topping the $29 billion raised last year by Saudi Aramco. Meanwhile, Palantir—the data analytics company co-founded by Peter Thiel—is going public with a direct listing; it lost $588 million, CNBC reports.


Fortnite Creator's Crusade Against Apple and Google


Tim Sweeney, chief executive and founder of the video game maker Epic Games, wants to rein in tech's giants, the New York Times reports. Now he's gearing up for a protracted legal battle after Apple and Google banned Epic's Fortnite, which is played by more than 350 million people, from their stores this month for trying to get around its payment systems.  


Magic and the Future of Technology

Marco Tempest of Magic Lab and the MIT Media Lab says magic tricks can test people’s psychological responses to emerging technology, like drones and robots, Fast Company reports. Tempest, who frequently gives talks at tech firms and has made magic using cellphone cameras, says magic elements of technology and psychology can be used to see how people react to the potential machines of tomorrow.


Should We Cheer or Fear the Robot Revolution?

Machines now perform all sorts of tasks: They clean big stores, patrol borders, and help autistic children. The workplace of the near future “will be an ecosystem of humans and robots working together to maximize efficiency,” one expert tells National Geographic. But will robots make life better for humans?


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McChord Puts Money on Intelligent Robot Firm 


The Boston-based startup Root AI has announced a seed round of $7.2 million, bringing the company’s total funding to $9.5 million, Tech Crunch reports. The firm aims to "create the intelligent robots that will help growers build the farms of the future." Helping lead the round was Outsiders Fund's Austin McChord, the RIT graduate who founded Datto.


Why VVC Is a Big Deal 

A new format for compressing video, called Versatile Video Coding (H.266/VVC), at first glance might not seem to be a momentous change. But as this article from The Conversation explains, in a world where 4.57 billion people identify as active internet users, 3.5 billion regularly use a smartphone, 80 percent of global internet traffic is compressed video data and 500 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute, a 50 percent reduction in video file size is a big deal.


What 5G Will Mean for Businesses


Despite the pandemic, telecom companies have been plowing ahead with their 5G network rollouts. Consumer gadgets get all the airtime, but what 5G can do for businesses, especially in the post-COVID world, will be equally as transformative, Mo Katibeh, AT&T Business' chief product officer, tells Protocol.


Chrome Gets Performance and Productivity Tweaks 

Google Chrome got a slew of updates this week meant to make the browser zippier and help users be more productive, both on the desktop and mobile, The Next Web reports. The browser should generally run websites up to 11.4 percent faster than previous versions of Chrome.


Much Hyped, Windows 95 Arrived 25 Years Ago

A quarter-century ago, Microsoft released its Windows 95 operating system amid great fanfare, with midnight queues at computer shops. It was reported that the launch campaign cost $200 million, with $8 million going to the Rolling Stones for their song "Start Me Up." The BBC looks back at the hype surrounding the rollout of the operating system. 


Nothing to It


Here's one way to gain fame on TikTok: do nothing. A 4-year-old named Charlie has gone viral on the wildly popular social networking service because of her recent dance performance, during which she stood in a tutu and a mask and refused to move a single muscle ... for six minutes, reports BuzzFeed. She told her mother she refused to dance for nearly the entire performance because "there were a lot of people."