Every day we wake up, drink a cup of coffee, and get ready for work. Following are a handful of stories from around the tech world condensed to fit into one single cup of coffee. These are the things you need to know before you step foot out of your door (or in front of a webcam) and into the real world this morning.
So sit back, grab a cup, and start your morning off right with a few “Quick Bytes” from Innovation & Tech Today.
Rumble Wants Rogan, Offers $100 Million Deal Following Recent Controversy
Video platform Rumble released a statement Monday announcing its intention to offer Joe Rogan a $100 million contract over four years, following controversy over recent episodes of Rogan’s popular podcast The Joe Rogan Experience. Rock icon Neil Young pulled his music catalog from Spotify, saying Rogan and some of his guests are spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. Less than a week later, a video compilation of Rogan using the N-word surfaced, prompting a lengthy apology from the comedian. Spotify CEO Daniel Eck said the platform will not “silence” Rogan following the criticism, and will invest $100 million for content from marginalized groups. However, Spotify has removed at least 70 episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience. And with censorship looming, Rumble has taken the opportunity to snatch up Spotify’s most viewed podcast host.
Mark Cuban Launches Online Pharmacy, Shakes Up Prescription Industry
Billionaire entrepreneur and Shark Tank regular Mark Cuban has launched a new online pharmacy offering more than 100 generic prescription drugs. A shake-up in the prescription drug industry has been a long time coming with many Americans struggling to pay for life-saving medications. Cuban’s new venture, called Cost Plus Drug, aims to be at the center of this shake-up, reducing the cost of some medications by 99%. Cuban will be competing with pharmaceutical companies, health insurers, and traditional retailers like CVS, Walgreens, and Wal-Mart. For now, Cost Plus Drug only offers generic medications and is limited in its stock. It also does not accept health insurance and is currently a cash-only venture.
New Stem Cell Tech Could Enable Paralyzed Patients to Walk Again
Lab-created 3D spinal cords that allow paralyzed patients to walk could be only a few years away, scientists claim. The breakthrough spinal cord implant has an 80% success rate in restoring the ability to walk in mice, and scientists are preparing to conduct human trials in the next few years. The process involves taking fat cells from a patient’s stomach, returning them to an embryonic stem cell-like state, reprogramming them to mimic embryonic spinal cord cells, and implanting them into the patient’s body.
“This is the first instance in the world in which implanted engineered human tissues have generated recovery in an animal model for long-term chronic paralysis — which is the most relevant model for paralysis treatments in humans,” leader of the study Professor Tal Dvir said.
McDonald’s is Using AI Robots to Take Drive-Thru Orders
Americans could soon be interacting with AI-powered robots during their morning coffee stop. McDonald’s has expanded its voice recognition system to 10 drive-thrus in Chicago from one store in 2018. The AI software is currently about 85% accurate, with one in five orders needing human assistance. As machine learning continues to accelerate, more stores will use the new technology, with McDonald’s planning to eventually implement robot assistants in all 14,000 plus stores in the US. With post-pandemic labor shortages continuing into 2022, robots are becoming more of a viable alternative in the service sector and beyond.