News round-up from the media and tech world. Updated weekly. Come for the news, stay for the AI video translation services.

The robots are coming to your office

The Verge’s editor-in-chief talks to New York Times tech columnist Kevin Roose about robotic process automation, or RPA. 

Despite opening with the fact that if you have a job that entails “sitting in front of a computer using the same software the same way every day, automation is coming for you.” Not because it will be “cool or innovative” but because it’s “cheaper, faster, and less likely to complain.”

Despite Patel repeatedly saying that the industry finds the topic of RPA so boring that, before now, no one would agree to talk to him about it or cover it, the conversation has an interesting take on the ‘automation-will-do-the-boring-jobs-leaving humans-to-do-the-fun stuff’ argument. It’s worth a listen.

Trump teases starting his own social media platform. Here's why it'd be tough

As reported by NPR, Trump has hinted at his intention to start his own social media channel, having been banned from all the existing major ones. 

In a characteristically vague comment, the former President told Fox News contributor Lisa Boothe that: "I'm doing things having to do with putting our own platform out there that you'll be hearing about soon." 

The NPR piece takes you through the not insubstantial reasons why Trump starting his own platform would prove challenging. Terrifyingly, he’s bucked trends before, so the question is – are we heading towards Parler Mk.II? Here’s hoping not. 

Facebook is building an Instagram for kids under the age of 13

On 18th March, according to an internal company post obtained by BuzzFeed News, the photo-sharing app Instagram is planning to build a version of the app for under 13s. 

The memo, posted on an employed message board, confirms that the company is making ‘youth work’ a priority. It’s new youth pillar is aimed at: “(a) accelerating our integrity and privacy work to ensure the safest possible experience for teens and (b) building a version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time.”

The internal announcement came two days after Instagram said, in response to coverage and public criticism on bullying and predation, that it needed to do more to protect its young users.

Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, speaking to BuzzFeed said that “more and more” kids want to use apps but that verifying their age is a challenge. The new parental-controlled version of the Instagram would use machine learning to more accurately verify the ages of users to protect them but also because, as suggested by BuzzFeed the company “clearly sees kids under 13 as a viable growth opportunity."

WTF are dark patterns?

In answer, Digiday's Kate Kaye says that it's: “A method of manipulating people online.”

Kaye goes on to explain that a dark pattern is – a "tactic employed to get people to take an action they may not actually want to take or realize they are taking.” She goes on to give examples of what shape these take – scarcity notices “three people are looking at this hotel” or burying opts out so they’re impossible to find. 

It’s a fascinating look into how the digital world and human psychology are deeply intertwined and how regulators are attempting to tackle the fallout.

Burberry designs skins for Honor of Kings characters

The BBC reported on Wednesday that luxury fashion brand Burberry has designed outfits for one of China’s biggest video games – Honor of Kings. Only players in mainly China only can buy the clothes - known as skins – to adorn in-game characters. 

Tencent-owned developer TiMi Studios collaborated with Burberry’s Chief Creative Officer Ricardo Tisci to create the skins for its multiplayer online battle game.

Interestingly, the piece quotes Louise Shorthouse, senior games analyst at Ampere Analysis, who says that just: “As owning a Burberry coat or scarf in real life is a symbol of wealth or status, the same can be said for in-game.” If emulating the characters’ style is the end game, that explains why Prada and Vuitton have both created skins for other popular video games.

Slack is about to become a nightmare [update: slack backtracks]

As reported by Gizmodo, Slack has launched its new feature which opens Slack Connect DMs for anyone currently paying for their Slack subscription. The new feature allows paying Slack users to send direct messages to any other paying Slack user, even those outside of their own company (assuming the recipient has accepted the invitation to connect.)

The new direct messaging feature is an extension of Slack Connect, which allows users from different companies to join other companies’ public internal Slack channels. According to Gizmodo, Slack intends to roll out direct messaging for its free customers too. 

The piece explored the potential downsides of the new feature – namely harassment – and intends to update the piece when its has more news from Slack on that.