Daily Crunch: Uber and Airbnb lay off thousands

Uber and Airbnb are cutting significant portions of their workforce, Microsoft announces new Surface devices and we talk to Apple Craig Federighi about the new iPad cursor.

Here’s your Daily Crunch for May 6, 2020.

1. Uber is laying off 3,700 as rides plummet due to COVID-19

In an SEC filing, Uber disclosed plans to layoff 3,700 employees — around 14% percent of the ride hailing giant’s total workforce. The company says that the job loss is part of a planned reduction in operating expenses “in response to the economic challenges and uncertainty resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the company’s business.”

Meanwhile, Airbnb also announced major cuts — 1,900 employees, or about 25% of its total workforce. The impacted groups include Transportation and Airbnb Studios (which will be placed on hold), as well as Hotels and Lux (which will be scaled back).

2. Microsoft’s Surface Go 2 and Surface Book 3 are official

Chief Product Officer Panos Panay announced a slew of new products. The headliners here are the latest versions of the Surface Book and Surface Go, but here are also updates on the line’s headphone offerings.

3. How Apple reinvented the cursor for iPad

In order to dive deeper on the brand new cursor and its interaction models, we spoke to Apple SVP Craig Federighi, who told us, “We knew we wanted a very touch-centric cursor that was not conveying an unnecessary level of precision.”

4. Twitter runs a test prompting users to revise ‘harmful’ replies

In this new test, users who use “harmful” language will see a prompt suggesting that they self-edit before posting. The framing here is a bit disingenuous, but anything that can reduce toxicity on the platform is probably better than what we’ve got now.

5. The future of deep-reinforcement learning, our contemporary AI superhero

Entrepreneur and investor Rish Joshi explores the implications of deep-reinforcement learning — the technology behind the superman performance of AIs in games ranging from Go to Dota to classic Atari titles. (Extra Crunch membership required.)

6. Alphabet’s Loon partners with AT&T to extend coverage globally in case of disasters

This partnership will help Loon ensure it’s in a much better position to address any potential need for disaster response cellular network coverage, thanks to AT&T and it global network partners. Loon’s system will now be fully integrated with AT&T, and this will also extend to any third-party mobile service provider that is already partnered with the U.S. carrier.

7. Social network for women Peanut raises $12M Series A amid pandemic

Peanut, an app that began as a tool for finding new mom friends, has evolved into a social network now used by 1.6 million women to discuss a range of topics, from pregnancy and parenthood to marriage and menopause, and everything in between.

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