A quarter of US adults now get news from YouTube, Pew Research study finds

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Around a quarter of U.S. adults, or roughly 26%, say they get news by watching YouTube videos, according to a new study from Pew Research Center, which examined the Google-owned video platform’s growing influence over news distribution in the U.S., as well as its consumption. The study, not surprisingly, found that established news organizations no longer have full control over the news Americans watch, as only one-in-five YouTube consumers (23%) said they “often” get their news from channels affiliated with established news organizations. The exact same percentage said they “often” get their news from independent channels instead.

Independent channels in this study were defined as those that do not have a clear external affiliation. A news organization channel, meanwhile, would be a channel associated with an external news organization — like CNN or Fox News, for instance.

These two different types of news channels are common, Pew found, as 49% of popular news channels are affiliated with a news organization, while 42% are not.

A small percentage (9%) were those from “other” organizations publishing news, including government agencies, research organizations and advocacy organizations.

Image Credits: Pew Research

To determine its findings, Pew Research ran a representative panel survey of 12,638 U.S. adults from January 6-January 20, 2020.

This study found that a majority, or 72%, of Americans said YouTube was either an important (59%) or the most important (13%) way they get their news. Most also said they didn’t see any big issues with getting their news from the site, but they did express some moderate concern about misinformation, political bias, YouTube’s demonetization practices and censorship.

Image Credits: Pew Research

Republicans and independents who lean Republican were more likely to say censorship, demonetization and political bias were YouTube’s biggest problems, while Democrats and independents who lean Democrat were more likely to say the biggest problems were misinformation and harassment.

A second part of the research involved content analysis of the 377 most popular YouTube news channels in November 2019 and the content of YouTube videos published by the 100 channels with the highest median of views in December 2019. This was performed by a combination of humans and computational methods, says Pew.

The analysis discovered that more than four-in-ten (44%) popular YouTube channels can be characterized as “personality-driven,” meaning the channel is oriented around an individual. This could be a journalist employed by an established news organization or it could be an independent host.

However, it’s more often true of the latter, as 70% of independent channels are centered around an individual, often a “YouTuber” who has gained a following. Indeed, 57% of independent channels are YouTuber-driven versus the 13% centered around people who were public figures before gaining attention on YouTube.

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The study also looked into other aspects of the YouTube news environment and the topics being presented.

According to YouTube news consumers themselves, a clear majority (66%) said watching YouTube news videos helped them to better understand current events; 73% said they believe the videos to be largely accurate, and they tend to watch them closely (68% do) instead of playing them in the background.

Around half (48%) said they’re looking for “straight reporting” on YouTube — meaning, information and facts only. Meanwhile, 51% said they are primarily looking for opinions and commentary.

In response to an open-ended question about why YouTube was a unique place to get the news, the most common responses involved those related to the content of the videos — for instance, that they included news outside the mainstream or that they featured many different opinions and views.

Image Credits: Pew Research

Pew also examined how often news channels mentioned conspiracy theories, like those related to QAnon, Jeffrey Epstein and the anti-vax movement.

An analysis of nearly 3,000 videos by the 100 most viewed YouTube channels in December 2019 found that 21% of videos by independent channels mentioned a conspiracy theory, compared with just 2% of those from established news organizations. QAnon was the most commonly referenced conspiracy theory, as 14% of videos from independent channels had discussed it, compared with 2% of established news organizations.

Independent channels were also about twice as likely as established news organizations to present the news with a negative tone.

Overall, the videos from the top 100 most viewed YouTube news channels assessed in December 2019, were neither too negative or positive (69%). But broken down by type, 37% of videos on the independent channels were negative, compared with 17% for established news organizations. Negative videos were more popular, too. Across all channels, negative videos averaged 184,000 views compared with 172,000 for neutral or mixed tone videos and 117,000 views for positive videos.

Image Credits: Pew Research

Meanwhile, videos about the Trump administration made up the largest share of views in December 2019, as roughly a third (36%) were about the impeachment and 31% were about other domestic issues, like gun control, abortion or immigration. Another 9% were about international affairs. Videos about the Trump administration saw around 250,000 average views compared with videos on other topics, which averaged 122,000 views. Trump was the most common video focus in about a quarter of the videos studied, or 24%.

Videos about the 2020 elections, which at the time were centered around the Democratic primary, were the topic of just 12% of news videos, by comparison.

Image Credits: Pew Research

The study also examined how YouTube news channels presented themselves. It found that the vast majority don’t clearly state a political ideology even when the content of their videos makes it clear they have an ideological slant.

Only around 12% of YouTube news channels presented their political ideology in their description. Of those, 8% were right-leaning and 4% were left-leaning. Independent news channels were more likely to present themselves using partisan terms and more likely to say they leaned right.

The demographics of the typical YouTube news consumer was a part of the study, too. Pew Research found the news video viewers were more likely to be young and male, and less likely to be White, compared with U.S. adults overall. About a third (34%) are under the age of 30, compared with 21% of all U.S. adults; 71% are under 50, compared with 55% of U.S. adults overall.

And 58% of YouTube news consumers are more likely to be male, compared with 48% of U.S. adults overall. Half (50%) are White, 14% are Black and 25% are Hispanic. In the U.S., 63% of adults are White, 12% are Black and 16% are Hispanic.

The full study is available via the Pew Research Center website.

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What is happening between Armenia and Azerbaijan – and are they at war?

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Deadly fighting breaks out between old rivals as international community calls for peace

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Armenia Azerbaijan

Deadly fighting breaks out between old rivals as international community calls for peace


In Depth

Gabriel Power

Monday, September 28, 2020 – 3:24pm

Rising tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan have erupted into violence on the border between the two former Soviet states, fuelling fears of an all-out armed conflict in the region.

At least 23 people are reported to have been killed on Sunday in deadly clashes over the long-disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

As both sides reported that civilians were among the dead, Olesya Vartanyan, a senior analyst at the International Crisis Group, warned that “we are a step away from a large-scale war”. 

What has happened?

Both sides have blamed each other for the resumption of deadly attacks in Nagorno-Karabakh, following a lengthy period of relative peace in the region.

As the hostilities continue, the Azerbaijan Defence Ministry has “claimed that Armenian forces started shelling the town of Tartar on Monday morning”, while Armenian officials insist the rival authorities in Baku are overseeing “offensive actions” in the area, The Independent says.

Azerbaijan’s army also “said it had taken control of several villages in Nagorno-Karabakh as of Sunday afternoon”, The Guardian adds – a claim that has been rejected by Armenia.

Reports about what is happening on the ground are equally confusing, with tallies of deaths varying significantly.

Although most international news outlets say the total is at least 23, Nagorno-Karabakh officials have claimed that 31 of their servicemen alone have been killed, with more than 200 further people wounded.

And Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry has told Russia independent Interfax news agency that more than 550 Armenian troops have been killed.

The clashes mark “the worst escalation in violence since 2016” between the two sides, says Al Jazeera, which reports that “most of the international community, including the United States, Russia, Iran and European powers”, have been calling for an end to hostilities and the start of peace talks.

What is Nagorno-Karabakh?

Nagorno-Karabakh, known to Armenians as Artsakh, is a small region in central Azerbaijan. In 1918, the two nations went to war for control of the area after both declared independence from Russia following that country’s Bolshevik Revolution.

Both Armenia and Azerbaijian were brought under full Soviet control in 1920 and remained relatively peaceful for decades. But as the Soviet Union began to collapse in the late 1980s, the Armenia-Azerbaijan War erupted, with a number of territories in the two nations changing hands multiple times.

By the end of the war, in 1994, the Armenians were in full control of most of the enclave and also held and currently control seven regions beyond the administrative borders of Nagorno-Karabakh. These regions have been under the administrative authority of the so-called Republic of Artsakh, a breakaway state heavily reliant on Armenian support.

Armenia claims the right to control Nagorno-Karabakh owing to the region’s long-standing Armenian ethnic make-up, with a 2015 census showing that 99.7% of the population is ethnically Armenian. There is also a significant religious divide between the two countries, with Armenia being predominantly Christian, while Azerbaijan is overwhelmingly Muslim.

But Armenia’s claim to the region – along with the Republic of Artsakh itself – has not been recognised by any UN members, all of whom still consider the disputed areas as being under Azerbaijani jurisdiction.

So are the two nations at war?  

Following the fresh outbreak of violence, France, Germany, Italy, and the EU swiftly urged an “immediate ceasefire”, while Pope Francis said he was praying for peace, The Moscow Times reports.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also called for “an end to hostilities”. 

Meanwhile, the US State Department said Washington had contacted the authorities in Armenia and Azerbaijan “to urge both sides to cease hostilities immediately, to use the existing direct communication links between them to avoid further escalation, and to avoid unhelpful rhetoric and actions”.

The long-running dispute in the Caucasus “attracts regional and Western concern because the area is a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas from the Caspian Sea to global markets”, The Guardian reports.

But some foreign powers are taking a less cautious tone, with Turkey, a long-standing ally of Azerbaijan, blaming Armenia for the flare-up.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan tweeted: “The Turkish people will support our Azerbaijani brothers with all our means as always.”

Some commentators have suggested that the recent flare-ups are the result of a lack of international intervention in the long-running dispute.

“One of the main reasons for the current escalation is a lack of any proactive international mediation between the sides for weeks,” the International Crisis Group’s Vartanyan told Foreign Policy magazine. 

“If anyone was preparing for this, they did a bad job.”

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Mental health startup eQuoo will be distributed by Unilever in new global youth campaign

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Last December (yes, in the before-times) UK-based mental health startup eQuoo had a round of announcements, becoming the NHS approved mental health game, as well as signing Barmer, the largest insurance company in Germany, as a client.

It’s now been selected as the Mental Health App for Unilever’s new global initiative aimed at the mental health of young people. The move came after Unilever’s People Data Centre (PDC) selected eQuoo out of all the mental health games on the Google Playstore, being, as it is, one of the few backed by scientific research. Unilever’s new brand campaign, which will feature eQuoo app – will be marketed to over 70,000 18 to 35-year olds.

“eQuoo teaches important skills in a fun and engaging way,” said Unilever’s Global PDC Search and Social Analyst, Janelle Tomayo. “The game teaches you how to become a better communicator using fictional characters to navigate through difficult circumstances with skills and storylines empirically based on current psychological research.”

Silja Litvin, founder and CEO of eQuoo said: “1 in 3 young adults experience an anxiety disorder, crippling and harming too many people at the cusp of their adult lives. Together eQuoo and Unilever will equip thousands of people with the personal resilience to manage the pressures of today’s world.”

PsycApps, which makes eQuoo, is a Digital Mental Health startup that is using gamification, Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), Positive Psychology and AI to treat mental illness, using evidence-based features. It’s achieved a top rating at ORCHA, the leading health app assessment platform and is also available through the GP EMIS data bank, meaning that NHS doctors can now refer their patients to eQuoo to improve their mental health and wellbeing.

The market for mental health-oriented games and apps is increasing considerably. AKILI, the first ADHD game for children, attained FDA approval. In June, the European Medicines Agency approved Akili’s digital therapy for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which uses a video game to treat the underlying cause of the condition. The European Commission has granted a CE mark for the game called EndeavorRx, allowing the product to be marketed in Europe.

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One week until we discover the future of transportation at TC Sessions: Mobility

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Were you Born to be Wild? Then get your electric motor running, head out on the virtual highway to look for adventure, because we’re just one week away from TC Sessions: Mobility 2020. Join thousands of global attendees October 6-7 for two programming-packed days devoted to the fast-moving world of mobility and transportation technology.

Price of admission: We offer a range of pass levels and prices to fit just about every budget. Prices start at $25 (for the Expo ticket) plus, we have discounts for groups (bring the whole team) and students (network your way to a cool internship or job). Buy an Early-Stage Startup Exhibitor Package to claim a spot in our expo and really strut your stuff. Get moving, though because we have only a few expo spots left.

Want to save money? Buy your pass now — all prices increase on October 5.

Check out the packed event agenda where you’ll find a phenomenal line up of 1:1 interviews and panel discussions with the top names, makers, movers and shakers. Here are just two examples of what we have waiting for you on the main stage.

Future of Cities: Delivery Takes Flight — Margaret Nagle, head of policy and public affairs at Wing, will talk about how drones used for delivery could reshape cities and improve accessibility.

Scooting Through the World’s Regulatory Frameworks — Join Euwyn Poon, CEO of U.S.-centric Spin, Voi co-founder Fredrik Hjelm and Tony Adesina, CEO of Gura Ride as they discuss the state of dock-less scooters — and the different regulatory landscapes — across Europe and Africa.

We’ve also added a series of Q&A Sessions where you can interact with leading experts and get answers to those burning questions.

Block time in your schedule to explore the expo and more than 40 early-stage mobility startups showcasing their products, platforms and talent. Watch demos, discover potential partners, collaborators and customers. Find innovative additions to your investment portfolio. And be sure to check out the pitch sessions. All of the exhibiting startups will get five minutes to introduce their company to thousands of world-wide mobility attendees.

Can’t get enough pitching? Neither can we. That’s why we created a new event this year — Startup Pitch-Off. Ten hand-picked early-stage startups will pitch to a panel of discerning VCs on October 5 — the evening before we officially kick off. The judges will select five to pitch live from the main stage the following day. Who knows? You might just witness a unicorn in the making.

You were born to be wild. Get your TC Sessions: Mobility 2020 pass, get your EV motor running and drive your business forward.

Is your company interested in sponsoring or exhibiting at TC Sessions: Mobility 2020? Contact our sponsorship sales team by filling out this form.

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How an ‘experimental arthritis drug’ could help treat Covid-19

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The Lighthouse Lab at Alderley Park in Cheshire

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The Lighthouse Lab at Alderley Park in Cheshire

Otilimab given to Manchester man as UK clinical trial kicks off


One-Minute Read

Holden Frith

Monday, September 28, 2020 – 3:44pm

A new drug developed to treat rheumatoid arthritis may be given to the most seriously ill Covid-19 patients, if a clinical trial now under way in Manchester proves successful.

Farhan Hamid, 41, has become the first British coronavirus patient to receive the drug, called otilimab, as part of a study run by Manchester Royal Infirmary.

“The research aims to establish whether otilimab can treat severe lung disease developed as a result of Covid-19,” says Sky News.

Dr Andy Martin, who is running the trial, said Hamid, from south Manchester, had been enrolled in the study because he was experiencing severe difficulty breathing. The experimental drug could “ease the effect of coronavirus on the lungs, dampening the impact of the virus on the immune system”, Martin explained.

Funded by the drug’s manufacturer, Glaxo SmithKline (GSK), the trial has “been given urgent public health research status by the Department of Health and Social Care”, the Daily Mirror reports.

Hospitals from all over the world, including five in the UK, will eventually take part in the tests, which will involve a total of 800 patients. Trials have already begun in the US.

“Those taking part will be allocated into two groups at random, with half receiving a one-hour, single infusion of otilimab,” says the Daily Mail. The other group will get “placebo intravenous therapy, in addition to standard care”.

Christopher Corsico of GSK said the drug is believed to help patients who are experiencing the most severe reaction to Covid-19.

“We know that some Covid-19 patients experience an overreaction of their immune system – sometimes referred to as cytokine storm – which can lead to hospitalisation or death,” he said.

“We believe that otilimab might be able to help counter or calm this process.”

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Healthcare giant UHS hit by ransomware attack, sources say

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Universal Health Services, one of the largest healthcare providers in the U.S., has been hit by a ransomware attack.

The attack hit UHS systems early on Sunday morning, according to two people with direct knowledge of the incident, locking computers and phone systems at several UHS facilities across the country, including in California and Florida.

One of the people said the computer screens changed with text that referenced the “shadow universe,” consistent with the Ryuk ransomware. “Everyone was told to turn off all the computers and not to turn them on again,” the person said. “We were told it will be days before the computers are up again.”

It’s not immediately known what impact the ransomware attack is having on patient care.

An executive who oversees cybersecurity at another U.S. hospital system, who asked not to be named as they were not authorized to speak to the press, told TechCrunch that patient medical data is “likely safe” as UHS relies on Cerner, a healthcare technology company, to handle its patients’ electronic health records.

UHS has 400 hospitals and healthcare facilities in the U.S. and the U.K., and serves millions of patients each year.

A spokesperson for UHS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Ryuk ransomware is linked to a Russian cybercrime group, known as Wizard Spider, according to security firm Crowdstrike. Ryuk’s operators are known to go “big game hunting” and have previously targeted large organizations, including shipping giant Pitney Bowes and the U.S. Coast Guard.

Some ransomware operators said earlier this year that they would not attack health organizations and hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, but Ryuk’s operators did not.

Last week, police in Germany launched a homicide investigation after the death of a woman, who was diverted to another hospital following a ransomware attack.

We’ll have more on the UHS incident as we get it.


Do you know more? Send tips securely over Signal and WhatsApp to +1 646-755-8849 or send an encrypted email to: zack.whittaker@protonmail.com

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Adobe beefs up developer tools to make it easer to build apps on Experience Cloud

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Adobe has had a developer program for years called Adobe.io, but today at the Adobe Developers Live virtual conference, the company announced some new tools with a fresh emphasis on helping developers build custom apps on the Adobe Experience Cloud.

Jason Woosley, VP of developer experience and commerce at Adobe says that the pandemic has forced companies to build enhanced digital experiences much more quickly than they might have, and the new tools being announced today are at least partly related to helping speed up the development of better online experiences.

“Our focus is very specifically on making the experience generation business something that’s very attractive to developers and very accessible to developers so we’re announcing a number of tools,” Woosley told TechCrunch.

The idea is to build a more complete framework over time to make it easier to build applications and connect to data sources that take advantage of the Experience Cloud tooling. For starters, Project Firefly is designed to help developers build applications more quickly by providing a higher level of automation than was previously available.

“Project Firefly creates an extensibility framework that reduces the boilerplate that a developer would need to get started working with the Experience Cloud, and extends that into the customizations that we know every implementation eventually needs to differentiate the storefront experience, the website experience or whatever customer touch point as these things become increasingly digital,” he said.

In order to make those new experiences open to all, the company is also announcing React Spectrum, an open source set of libraries and tools designed to help members of the Adobe developer community build more accessible applications and websites.

“It comes with all of the accessibility features that often get forgotten when you’re in a race to market, so it’s nice to make sure that you will be very inclusive with your design, making sure that you’re bringing on all aspects of your audiences,” Woosley said.

Finally, a big part of interacting with Experience Cloud is taking advantage of all of the data that’s available to help build those more customized interactions with customers that having that data enables. To that end, the company is announcing some new web and mobile software development kits (SDKs) designed to help make it simpler to link to Experience Cloud data sources as you build your applications.

Project Firefly is generally available starting today as are several React Spectrum components and some data connection SDKs. The company intends to keep adding to these various pieces in the coming months.

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New Mercedes-Benz S-Class: the flagship saloon’s next generation

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Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Prices start from £78,705 for the standard wheelbase S 350 d AMG Line


One-Minute Read

Mike Starling

Monday, September 28, 2020 – 3:04pm

Mercedes-Benz has unveiled the models and prices for its flagship new S-Class saloon. 

Available to order now, the 2021 S-Class will arrive in the UK late this year and feature five equipment lines: AMG Line, AMG Line Premium, AMG Line Premium Plus, AMG Line Premium Executive and AMG Line Premium Plus Executive.

When unveiling the latest S-Class, Auto Express reported that Mercedes made a simple but bold claim, stating that it is “the best car in the world”. The website says the German automotive marque might have a point if it’s referring to the tech on offer.

Sporting an “evolutionary design and a massive push towards modern technology”, Carbuzz reports that the S-Class will be “one expensive limo”. 

Describing the S-Class as one of the “most luxurious and high-tech cars on sale”, Carwow says that “when Mercedes announces they’re going to make a new one, it’s a pretty big deal”. 

Video of The New S-Class: World Premiere | Trailer

How much will it cost?

Prices start from £78,705 on-the-road for the S 350 d AMG Line (standard wheelbase). The S 350 d features an inline six-cylinder diesel engine, which produces 286 hp and 600 Nm of torque. It can reach 62mph from standstill in 6.4 seconds and has an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

Priced from £94,135, the S 400 d 4MATIC – only available in long wheelbase – uses an inline six-cylinder diesel engine, producing 330 hp and 700 Nm. It can travel from 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds and also has an electronically limited top speed of 155mph.

The petrol-powered S 500 4MATIC – with prices starting from £89,105 – produces 435 hp and 520 Nm of torque and can sprint to 62mph in just 4.9 seconds. 

All models come as standard with a 9G-Tronic nine-speed automatic transmission. The S 400 d and S 500 are also now available with 4MATIC all-wheel-drive.

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

‘Hey Mercedes’: what’s in the cabin?

The new S-Class features the next generation of Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) with a 12.8in OLED touchscreen central display and a 12.3in digital driver display.

The driver display is optionally available with 3D technology, including facial recognition which can monitor driver drowsiness and exterior mirror settings.

An MBUX tablet, available as part of the Executive line, can also be used as a fully-fledged tablet outside of the vehicle, including the ability to download Android apps. 

The “Hey Mercedes” virtual assistant now recognises instructions or requests from any seat in the car. Driving Assistance Package is standard on all S-Class variants.

In pictures: 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Mercedes-Benz S-Class

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SoftBank will bring Bear’s serving robots to Japan, amid restaurant labor shortages

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SoftBank has been quite bullish on Bear Robotics this year, beginning with leadership in a $32 million Series A back in January. It’s easy to see why the investment firm believes that this is the breakthrough moment for the Bay Area-based startup, as the COVID-19 pandemic has led to economic and labor issues around the world — not to mention all of the mandatory social distancing.

Labor has, of course, been an issue in Japan for some time, courtesy of a shrinking population, low birthrate and a confluence of other issues. The on-going global pandemic, meanwhile, hasn’t done much to move the needle in the right direction. This week, SoftBank detailed plans to bring Bear’s Servi robot to the country in an effort to address restaurant labor issues.

Priced at $950 a month, as part of a three-year lease plan, the robot is set to arrive in Japan in January. The robot is a mobile serving station designed to replace or augment weight staff in a restaurant. Each unit is capable of holding two serving trays and a bin for bussing dishes after serving.

Image Credits: Bear Robotics

There’s LIDAR for navigation and an on-board touchscreen — or else it can be operated remotely via tablet. Each system is capable of operating anywhere from eight to 12 hours, per Bear’s specifications. It’s a fairly simplistic system, as far such things go, lacking the humanoid design of the Pepper robot or the more sophisticated quadrupedal robots of Boston Dynamics — both currently a part of the Softbank Robotics group. But when it comes to robotics, often times the simplest approach is also the best.

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Calling VCs in Rome and Milan: Be featured in The Great TechCrunch Survey of European VC

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TechCrunch is embarking on a major new project to survey the venture capital investors of Europe, and their cities.

Our <a href=”https://forms.gle/k4Ji2Ch7zdrn7o2p6”>survey of VCs in Rome and Milan will capture how the cities are faring, and what changes are being wrought amongst investors by the coronavirus pandemic. (Please note, if you have filled the survey out already, there is no need to do it again).

We’d like to know how the startup scenes are evolving in the cities, how the tech sector is being impacted by COVID-19, and, generally, how your thinking will evolve from here.

Our survey will only be about investors, and only the contributions of VC investors will be included. More than one partner is welcome to fill out the survey.

The shortlist of questions will require only brief responses, but the more you can add, the better.

You can fill out the survey here.

Obviously, investors who contribute will be featured in the final surveys, with links to their companies and profiles.

What kinds of things do we want to know? Questions include: Which trends are you most excited by? What startup do you wish someone would create? Where are the overlooked opportunities? What are you looking for in your next investment, in general? How is your local ecosystem going? And how has COVID-19 impacted your investment strategy?

This survey is part of a broader series of surveys we’re doing to help founders find the right investors.

For example, here is the recent survey of London.

You are not in Rome and Milan, but would like to take part? Or you are in another part of the country? That’s fine! Any European VC investor can STILL fill out the survey, as we will be putting a call out to your city next anyway!

The survey is covering almost every European country on the continent of Europe (not just EU members, btw), so just look for your country and city on the survey and please participate (if you’re a venture capital investor).

Thank you for participating. If you have questions you can email mike@techcrunch.com

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