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Microsoft Set to Replace 50 journalists with Robots

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About 50 journalists working with Microsoft are set to lose their jobs, as the American multinational tech giant reportedly moves to replace them with robots.

According to local media reports, those affected are contract employees working as curators for the company’s news website, MSN.

They perform functions such as selection of stories, headlines, pictures and other contents from news organisations for the MSN site.

The Seattle Times quoted unidentified insiders as saying the company has notified the affected workers that their services would no longer be needed beyond June 30.

From then, artificial intelligence would be used to perform the news production tasks in what Microsoft calls “evaluation of its business”.

“Like all companies, we evaluate our business on a regular basis.

“This can result in increased investment in some places and, from time to time, re-deployment in others.

“These decisions are not the result of the current pandemic,” the company said in a statement, according to the paper.

According to the BBC, Microsoft, like some other tech companies, pays news organisations to use their contents on its website.

“But, it employs journalists to decide which stories to display and how they are presented.

“However, Microsoft will retain its full-time news producers, whose functions are similar to those of the contract employees being disengaged,” Seattle Times added.

One of those leaving told the paper that their functions had been semi-automated for a few months now.

“It is demoralising to think machines can replace us but there you go,” the unnamed employee said, according to the medium.

(NAN)

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Kila Inaugurates YWC Global Library Project Committee, Calls for Participation

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In a bid to preserve and promote Yoruba culture, the Yoruba World Congress (YWC), led by emeritus professor and leader, Banji Akintoye, has unveiled plans for the YWC Global Library.

In unveiling the project, the YWC Secretary General, Prof Anthony Kila explained that the YWC Global Library will have two parts: Brick and Mortar Libraries in various parts of the world starting from Ibadan and Lagos and the Digital Library that everyone anywhere in the world can access and at any time.

To manage the project, the YWC has put together a team of experts who are academics, IT practitioners, education managers and lovers of Yoruba culture.
The project will be led by a steering committee to be chaired Prof Ajayi-Soyinka and with Dr Pat Akinbola (Secretary) Princess Olayinka Adebayo, Mr Babafemi Odutayo (Esq) Dr Sunkanmi Odejide and Mr Luke Tikare

In his address to steering the committee, Prof Anthony Kila stated that our lofty aims include conserving and promoting Yoruba arts, language, history, cosmogony, literature etc. This project will help put Yoruba people and culture on the world map and also put libraries in our peoples mind.

Prof Kila also noted that to make the YWC Global Library a success, all hands must be on deck and asked all Yoruba people come up with what they can offer the project. “We shall be need Suggestion of list of books, Journals Art Work etc., Ideas on how to maintain the best Yoruba library in the world, Donation of books (new and old), journals, art work and Donation of Funds.

To Participate and Donate to the YWC Global Library Project, all are urged to visit the website www.yorubaworldcongress.org

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WAEC to Release Fresh 2020 WASSCE Timetable

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The West African Examination Council is set to release a fresh timetable for the 2020 West African Senior Secondary Certificate Examination.

This followed an announcement by the Federal Government that the examination would commence from August 4 through September 5.

Speaking at a Presidential Task Force Briefing on COVID-19 in Abuja on Monday, the Minister of State for Education, Emeka Nwajiuba, said school facilities would be made available for revision classes ahead of the examination.

Nwajiuba advised parents to take note of the date, noting that “as soon as we conclude WAEC, we will take up the NABTEB and NECO exams.”

He added, “The idea is that we have a month from now till then. Those who can and those who are willing, the states who are willing should make their schools available for their children to revise.

“We’ve done the most we can to talk with our representatives at WAEC and this (Monday) afternoon, we confirmed dates allotted for the exams will be from the 4th of August through to the 5th of September. “Local timings will be published.”

The minister, therefore, urged all candidates to start preparing for the examination, saying, “We will be asking that those who are not prepared yet should please go and prepare.

Subsequently, WAEC Nigeria stated via its Twitter handle, “The Head of the Nigeria National Office of WAEC, Mr Patrick Ehidiamen Areghan will address the Press tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. #StayTuned #WASSCE2020 #Timetable”

Also, speaking in a telephone interview with The PUNCH on Tuesday morning, the Head, WAEC Public Affairs, Mr Damian Ojijeogu, said Ehidiamen would address a number of issues regarding the 2020 WASSCE.

He said aside from the timetable, health and safety guidelines would be issued including the mandatory use of face masks for all candidates, temperature checks, use of sanitisers, amongst others.

The Punch

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Ondo Ex-SSG Vows to Work Against Akeredolu’s Reelection

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A few hours after the resignation of Mr Sunday Abegunde, as Secretary to the Ondo State Government, the governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, appointed Mr Tayo Oluwatuyi, as replacement.

Akeredolu announced Oluwatuyi at the weekly media briefing in Akure, the state capital on Monday.

Abegunde had resigned through a letter which partly read, “I, Hon. Ifedayo Sunday Abegunde, the Secretary to the State Government of Ondo State hereby tender my letter of resignation.

“I want to thank Mr Governor for giving me the opportunity to serve the Government and people of Ondo State.”

However, Abegunde later granted an interview in Yoruba language on Crest FM, during which he said he resigned from office because of the ill-treatment meted out to him by the governor.

He said, “I suffered in his (Akeredolu) administration because he didn’t release any fund to my office. He has been telling lies that he was giving me N5m every month even when he knew he didn’t give me such money.

“Akeredolu didn’t win the election in 2016 but we made it possible for him to become governor. We were the pillars behind him and we will not support him again. He will lose this time around.”

Abegunde, a two-term member of the House of Representatives further said that he resigned because he could no longer be part of a government that made its subjects to pass through hardship.

He said, “The Akeredolu’s administration is making the entire people of the state to suffer and I cannot be part of that any longer. ”

In his reaction, Ondo State Commissioner, Mr Donald Ojogo, said, “We make bold to say that there can’t be a better reaction than the fact that the man talking has since been replaced with immediate effect. This means he has not been missed and shall not be missed at all. So we wont join issues with the former SSG.”

The Punch

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