India’s delivery app and Covid-19 vaccine for young children

From 7 a.m. to dusk, seven days a week, N. Sudhakar sits behind the counter of his wall-mounted grocery store in the southern Indian city of Bangalore. From 20kg rice bags to 1 rupee ($0.01) shampoo bags and everything from floor to ceiling, this one-stop shop caters for most of the daily needs of many in the neighborhood. This is a replica of the roughly 12 million family-run “Kirana” found on almost every street corner in India.

The store is located on a busy street in Whitefield, a formerly quiet suburb but now a major hub for the city’s burgeoning IT industry. Apartment buildings loom behind his store, where hundreds of workers are employed in the tech park that dominates the surrounding area.

Today, the same tech industry that has helped Sudhakar’s business thrive is creating new challenges for shops like his. Across the road, a steady stream of delivery drivers lined up to pick up groceries from the “dark store” – a mini-warehouse in the city centre designed to enable a super-fast delivery service run by Bengaluru startup Dunzo.

In India’s big cities, years of aggressive marketing, deep discounts by e-commerce companies such as Amazon and homegrown Flipkart, and a slew of Covid-19 lockdowns have left the urban middle class hooked on online shopping. These shoppers are a tiny fraction of the population, but their spending power is considerable, and the battle for Indian street corners is in full swing in the more affluent parts of the big cities. Read the full article.

– Ed Ghent

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I combed the internet to find you the funniest/most important/scariest/most fascinating tech stories of the day.

1 Children under the age of five in the United States are eligible for the new crown vaccine starting today
That means nearly all Americans can get immunizations. (Now $)
+ Below are some of the potential minor side effects they may experience. (CNN)
+ Why young children who have already been infected with the new coronavirus still need a vaccine. (time)

2 Canada bans single-use plastics
Start after six months. (protector)
+ Likewise, Wales is considering a ban on single-use tote bags and wipes. (BBC)
+ A spray-on vegetable coating can be an alternative to plastic wrap. (small tools)
+ A French company is using enzymes to recycle one of the most common single-use plastics. (MIT Technology Review)

3 China collects more personal data than we think
Include “voiceprints” from the public to reinforce their government’s authoritarian rule. (Now $)

4 Google Search is not what it used to be
Browsing ads and fewer blogs feels more tedious and less human. (atlantic organization $)
+ A lot of people are currently googling “Bitcoin is dead”. (telegraph)

5 We need to use AI smarter to fight climate change
Renewable energy is an area that could benefit from simpler systems. (Spectrum IEEE)
+ Renewable energy certificates may overstate corporate environmental efforts. (NBC)
+ Renewable energy will soar. (MIT Technology Review)

6 Meta’s virtual reality headset is pretty bland
But the company was bent on making a working headset a reality. (edge)
+ The Metaverse now seems rather unrealistic. (Wettable powder $)
+ It also already has a fumbling problem. (MIT Technology Review)
+ That’s why it’s important that we all use the same term when we talk about it. (fast company $)

7 To decolonize AI, we must unravel its structure
And install the continuous monitoring of the Supervisory Board. (new life)
+ Artificial intelligence is creating a new colonial world order. (MIT Technology Review)

8 We still don’t know why the sea glows milky green
But going into space may solve the mystery. (Hakai Magazine)

9 Internet Explorer is gone, but not forgotten
Some parts of the web still depend on it. (wired $)

10 Here’s how tech workers deal with swag from failed startups
Important: Do not get your company logo tattooed. (information $)

Quote of the day

“Target!”

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