Startup Watch: facial recognition airports, bedtime stories and HR bots

The world of entrepreneurship news is a complex one, with people ever ready to give their two cents on how you should be running your business/VC fund/incubator.

Here’s our wrap of how robots are turning into HR personnel, the new sociable networks, rising malware, and job scarcity in the MENA.

The bot will see you now. We are in an era where artificial intelligence (AI) and tech are on their way to dominate our lives. A new technology is doing little more. San Francisco-based Mya Systems has developed an AI recruiter that can evaluate resumes, schedule and conduct applicant screenings, and even congratulate you on your first day of work. It can conduct a regular chat with applicants via computer or smartphone to ask many of the typical questions expected in early job interviews. The future bots may not only replace some of the work you do, but they might actually hire you.


In your face, Facebook. As a response to the  ‘interpersonal vacuum and online bubbles caused by social media’, psychologist Richard Wolman and Paul Schulz launched Wistla, a new ‘sociable network’ that aims to bring like-minded people together in real life. Targeting millennials mainly, the network allows groups to share common interests and activities and engage offline.

You’re busted!  When face recognition was launched on mobile phones, many took this tech for a hoax. When Facebook started using it in its tagging capabilities, stuff got more serious. Most recently, a new biometric system is set to be installed in one of the major US airports during summer, to help fliers save time and check in their bags independently. The system will scan and recognize their faces by matching them to their passports photos. Beware of facial implants.

No noodles for you. Bits x Bites is a new Shanghai-based accelerator that supports startups in the organic food industry. One of its startups is producing noodles and other food products made from silkworm flour, for the sake of providing a healthier protein substitute. No thanks.

Wamda of the week: What do MENA telcos want to be when they grow up? Part I. Globally, telco conglomerates are democratizing their business models to keep pace with growing consumer expectations for free data and ubiquitous connectivity, but regional operators, have been reluctant to relinquish control over their networks. The lack of competition has helped these regional operators to manipulate, control, and limit the services they offer to their customers. Services such as VoIP, which are nothing but day-to-day basics of modern users, have been blocked and undeployed properly.

Entrepreneurs bedtime stories. Tech executives to some of the biggest companies in the Silicon Valley share the stories they learned from their moms while growing up. Sometimes a little discipline goes a long way.

No job? Create one. Job scarcity and low employment rates in the Arab World are no novelty. According to the latest Arab Youth Survey, unemployment rate in the Middle East and North Africa is at 30 percent but entrepreneurs and VCs are not standing still. This year, startups in the region received 36 million dollars of funding, signaling more growth and more job opportunities.

Ransomware, should we care? Ransomware is responsible for the biggest cyberattack the world has ever seen. The technique of using a computer virus to hold data hostage has been around for decades, gaining more notoriety in recent years. But the massive attack that has spread around the world has taken it to a whole new level. Have your arsenal ready, more enemies are crossing the borders.


Feature image via Pixabay

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