Forbes

The Best Apple MacBook Pro Alternatives For 2021 …And Other Small Business Tech News

By April 4, 2021No Comments

(This article originally appeared in Forbes)

Here are five things in technology that happened this past week and how they affect your business. Did you miss them?

1 — These are the best MacBook Pro alternatives for 2021 according to CNET.

Editors from science, culture, and tech website CNET recently revealed their choices for the best MacBook Pro alternatives for this year based on things like battery life, picture quality, and price, to name a few. According to CNET, the HP Spectre x360 was chosen as the best 13-inch 2-in-1 alternative, boasting a longer battery life than the MacBook pro, the Razer Book 13 took the award for the best MacBook Pro 13 lookalike, and the Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5 Chromebook coming in as the best budget option. The full list of best alternatives can be found on CNET’s site. (Source: CNET)

Why this is important for your business:

MacBooks are great laptops, but let’s agree that they’re kind of pricey, especially for small businesses. That’s why most of my clients tend to lean more towards the more affordable Microsoft Windows devices. The good news is that Apple’s competitors are putting out devices that rival the MacBook and for the most part deliver the same kind of quality and performance. CNET’s list of MacBook Pro substitutes can satisfy your Apple devotees…and most likely at a better price.

2 —YouTube is experimenting with hiding dislikes to protect creators’ well-being.   

YouTube announced this past week that it will begin experimenting with hiding the dislike feature on its platform. The experiment comes after other platforms such as Instagram took similar steps to help prevent negative attacks that target certain videos or channels. While both dislikes and likes will be able to be viewed privately on the creator’s studio page, likes will be all that the public will be able to see in order to help the well-being of the creator. The video platform is not currently experimenting with hiding dislikes on all videos but is welcoming feedback on the concept from all users. (Source: The Verge)

Why this is important for your business:

Look, I’m a fan of free speech and all, but when someone “dislikes” one of my company’s videos that could eventually cost me a prospective customer. So that’s why I’m all in favor of getting rid of dislikes altogether. If you don’t like my videos then don’t watch them. But please know your dislike could negatively affect my business and that may not always be fair.

3 — Albertsons partners with Google to bring AI and other advanced technologies to grocery customers.          

Albertsons and Google announced a partnership this past week sharing that they will be launching a group of new technology features in order to help make grocery shopping more efficient. Albertsons and Google plan to use artificial intelligence in order to help shoppers find and buy specific items. The partnership will also result in the introduction of features that will provide shoppers with new choices for delivery and pickup. (Source: Market Watch)

Why this is important for your business:

I shop at an independent grocery store near where I live and I do fear for their future existence. Many big box stores – including Amazon Go – are equipping themselves with technology like Albertsons that will make the shopping experience for their customers much faster and user-friendly. But these investments aren’t cheap and smaller markets are going to have a very tough time keeping up.

4 —This is Boston Dynamics’ next commercial robot.

Boston Dynamics recently introduced its new robot —Stretch —which is being described as a version of their current robot, Handle. The difference is that Stretch will be designed to be used commercially. Early versions of Stretch will have the robot unloading trucks and ordering goods, while future plans for Stretch will include loading trucks and making the robots compatible with systems in various warehouses. The company shared that its plan is to build the initial robots this summer and make Stretch (Source: Tech Crunch)

Why this is important for your business:

Got a lot of finished goods? Got a lot of employees that you’re paying to handle these boxes? Well there’s good news for you – these types of robotic technologies are coming for your warehouse, and they’re not as expensive as you think. I write about this coming trend in more detail here.

5—Algorithms will soon be in charge of hiring and firing. Not everyone thinks this is a good idea.       

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) in the UK is speaking out against the involvement of algorithms making decisions such as hiring and firing employees at work. The TUC is calling for immediate reform to ensure that employment law is able to keep up with the quick growth of AI in the workplace. Some of the reform includes procedures to make sure that employees know the exact technologies that are being used to measure productivity and work, as well as the ability to legally challenge decisions made by AI that may be seen as discriminatory or unfair. (Source: ZDNet)

Why this is important for your business:

Speaking of robots, get ready for AI to contribute heavily to the hiring process. Sure, there’s going to be controversy around them, but these technologies are inevitable and will continue to be more affordable in the coming years. There’s reason to think that AI may limit bias in the hiring process. But there’s also good reason to believe that computers can’t make the kind of judgments that humans do.

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