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Why me? Why now?’: Google fires manager who is 8-months pregnant

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Businesses all over the world have resorted to layoffs in order to restructure their operations. The sudden disruption – especially in tech firms – is leaving employees in a very uncertain situation. Many of them are sharing their experiences on social media. The massive retrenchment exercises have been linked to recruitments made during the pandemic without proper planning.

Katherine Wong, who was a programme manager at Google, said she was fired just before going on a maternity leave, underlining she was asked to leave despite a “good performance review” as she suggested that the layoffs were not performance-based. Google parent Alphabet Inc on Friday eliminated 12,000 jobs, as per reports.

“The first thought that came to my mind was ‘Why me? Why now?'”. It was hard to process and digest, especially the news that came after a positive performance review,” she elaborated in a detailed LinkedIn post, adding that now it is ‘almost impossible’ to look for a job as “a 34 weeks pregnant woman”.

ALSO READ: ‘Any big tech hiring?’ asks Techie laid-off by Google, Snap, Amazon in 4 months

“People are concerned about my baby and well being. I did not let my negative emotions take over as I have a little one inside that needed to be taken care of, but I could not control my shaky hands. It is such a mixed feeling. I love Google and particularly my team, Google Domains as I feel that we are a family. I am grateful that my team still got my back even now. I have been feeling proud of working in a start-up-like team who is one of the few that’s making positive business growth under such challenging times,” Wong continued in the post.

She has taken to social media for job leads but the timing of the layoff makes her situation worse. “I want to be able to open to work. But the reality is that I need to focus on the last bit of my pregnancy journey, and to make sure my baby comes to the world safe and sound. I know I will be fine and will try all my best to achieve that,” she added.

Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook are among the other tech giants that have resorted to retrenchment in the midst of recession fears.

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Rail minister announces India’s first hydrogen train; Know the technology

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Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Wednesday announced that India will have its first hydrogen train designed and manufactured locally by December 2023 on the Kalka-Shimla historic circuit. Although hydrogen-powered train technology is still in its infancy with only a few countries using it on a limited basis, India’s early adoption is regarded as a significant step toward green initiatives.

The upcoming hydrogen-powered trains will be known as Vande Metro. It will initially run on historic, narrow-gauge routes including the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway, the Nilgiri Mountain Railway, the Kalka Shimla Railwa y, the Matheran Hill Railway, the Kangra Valley, the Bilmora Waghai, and the Marwar-Devgarh Madriya, which will make travel more environmentally friendly.

ALSO READ: India’s AI focus on problem solving for agriculture, health and smart cities

What are hydrogen trains?

Hydrogen trains are those that use hydrogen fuel cells rather than traditional diesel engines. The hydrogen fuel cells produce electricity by converting hydrogen and oxygen, which is then used to power the train’s motors.

ALSO READ: ‘Better than airplanes’: Railway Minister terms Vande Bharat ‘outstanding’ train

The fact that hydrogen trains do not emit harmful pollutants such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, or particulate matter makes them a more environmentally friendly option than traditional diesel trains. Another benefit is that hydrogen can be produced using renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, or hydro power, making the fuel supply for these trains clean and renewable.

ALSO READ: Green hydrogen mission: A boost for clean energy

Limitations to tackle before utilizing full potential

The high cost of hydrogen trains is a major impediment to their widespread use. Green hydrogen (hydrogen produced using renewable energy) costs about INR 492/kg in India, according to the research and ratings agency ICRA. As a result, the operating cost of a fuel cell-based hydrogen engine will be 27% higher than that of a diesel engine. There will also be the added cost of fuel cells and storage.

Safety issues should also be well considered before adapting the technology on mass usage.

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If ChatGPT were India’s finance minister, ‘ideal budget’ would look like this

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Budget season brings with it a flurry of demands from all sectors of the economy with expectations of tax relief and greater outlays. As all eyes were on the last full budget of the PM Modi government, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced several measures including major relief to taxpayers by raising the rebate limit to 7 lakh under a new tax regime.

Amidst expectations flying high, OpenAI’s artificial intelligence tool ChatGPT, too, had a few inputs. From acing US medical licensing exams to fixing bugs in computer code, the AI chatbot which uses Natural Language Processing has been going viral on social media.

If ChatGPT were the union finance minister, would it provide tax relief to the middle class and accelerate the GDP of the country? A Twitter user – whose handle is @aparanjape – shared the chatbot’s recommendations to the question “what is an ideal budget?”

According to ChatGPT, India’s union budget should focus on creating jobs and economic growth coupled with higher investments in the education, healthcare and infrastructure sectors. It also added that the fiscal deficit should be controlled and government spending should be reduced. And how do you lower the fiscal deficit? It has answers to that, too.

Austerity measures, raising tax revenue, slashing subsidies, reducing debt by limiting new borrowing, and focusing on investments in sectors with high economic return are some of the solutions provided by ChatGPT.

The Narendra Modi government will focus on economic growth and job creation and cut down the fiscal deficit, Sitharaman said, ironically similar to the ChatGPT budget. She also said the enhanced capex of 10 lakh crore for infrastructure development is at 3.3 per cent of the GDP.

A simplified and reformed tax system, with schemes to reduce income equality and poverty were suggested by the tool. Foreign investors and entrepreneurs should be incentivised with better ease of doing business and modernised technology, it stated. Steps to reduce carbon footprint and other sustainable initiatives should be implemented, while boosting the agriculture and rural sector. Sitharaman also focused on ‘green growth efforts’ to transition to a low-carbon intensity economy and increase green employment opportunities.

On taxation slabs, it suggested a basic exemption limit for all taxpayers to reduce the burden on low-income earners. The super rich should be levied a higher tax, while companies should be taxed at separate rates depending on the type of business. It also added a note that the details would vary depending on the politics and economy.

The Twitter user also shared more screenshots of ChatGPT offering measures in the field of agricultural subsidies, startups and measures to help India achieve double digit growth rates. Amused netizens joked that ChatGPT could “replace the finance minister and prime minister.” One user wrote, “It might do a much better job than our FM and PM!!

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday lauded Budget 2023, saying it will “fulfil dreams of aspirational society including poor people, middle-class people, farmers”.


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Intel cuts employee salaries, CEO pay by 25%: Report

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Bloomberg | | Posted by Ritu Maria Johny

Intel Corp., struggling with a rapid drop in revenue and earnings, is cutting management pay across the company to save cash it needs to invest in a turnaround plan.

Chief Executive Officer Pat Gelsinger is taking a 25% cut to his base salary, the chipmaker said Tuesday. His executive leadership team will see their pay packets decreased by 15%. Senior managers will take a 10% reduction, and the compensation for mid-level managers will be cut by 5%.

Hourly workers and employees below the seventh tier in the company’s system won’t be affected.

“As we continue to navigate macroeconomic headwinds and work to reduce costs across the company, we’ve made several adjustments to our 2023 employee compensation and rewards programs,” Intel said in a statement. “These changes are designed to impact our executive population more significantly and will help support the investments and overall workforce needed to accelerate our transformation and achieve our long-term strategy.”

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