New year, new news

People trashing self-driving cars, making millions off Fortnite, and falling for ‘deepfakes’: All the tech and business headlines you missed under the mistletoe.


January 2, 2019

Here are the tech and business headlines you missed under the mistletoe.

Netflix Bird Boxes out theaters

If you stuffed your eyeholes with Netflix movies this holiday season, you’re not alone — Netflix reported that over 45m viewers (of its 130m accounts worldwide) tuned in to watch “Bird Box.” It’s tough to compare that to box office revenue, but it is clear that consumer behavior is changing.

Stocks tanked — but don’t freak

Headlines abound about the stock market ending 2018 with its worst performance since the 2008 financial crisis: The S&P 500 and Dow Jones were down 6.2% and 5.6%, respectively. But, analysts are quick to point out that this does not a crisis make, and many are optimistic about 2019.

Billionaires win some and lose some

Bloomberg released its year-end billionaire rankings for 2018, along with the biggest “winners” and “losers” (of net worth). Coming out on top? Who else but Bezos, whose net worth grew $24B to $123B. Zuck, on the other hand, lost a whopping $20B, to settle at $53B. Cash for tears, anyone?

Canada Goose stock takes flight

Back in June, we reported on luxury outerwear-maker Canada Goose’s big push into China with a brick-and-mortar storefront. Now, after the store’s grand opening drew big crowds, the company’s stock surged another 6% (up 173% since it debuted on the NYSE in March 2017).

Deepfakes are out of control

Although AI-generated “deepfake” porn videos that swap in other people’s faces have been banned on Google, Reddit, and Pornhub, they’re still becoming more common. Scarlett Johansson summed it up pretty well: “The internet is a vast wormhole of darkness that eats itself.”

The war against Waymo

The people of Chandler, Arizona, (where Google began testing its driverless cars in 2017) are raging against the machine: Chandlerites have attacked or harassed Waymo cars at least 21 times with, among other things, rocks, knives, and PVC pipes. 

People are making fortunes on Fortnite

The professional gamer Ninja made $10m streaming Fortnite games on Youtube and Twitch last year. Fortnite’s parent company, Epic Games, turned a $3B profit last year — and bumped CEO Tim Sweeney’s personal fortune to $7.2B (the 194th-largest on Bloomberg’s list).

Smart speakers hit a ‘critical mass’

Just 2 years ago, only 21.5% of US consumers owned a smart speaker. Today, Alexa alone is in 31% of homes — and the overall market nearly doubled, hitting 41%.

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