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United Airlines Dispels Complaints That Safety Will Be Compromised By New Pilot Diversity Initiative

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  • Later this year, United Airlines plans to open a pilot training school that will have a focus on diversity.
  • According to a tweet from the company on Tuesday, the school plans to enroll 5,000 students over the next decade, with at least 50% of those students being women or people of color.  
  • The program has been met with condemnation by some conservatives, including Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who implied it would lead to increased plane crashes and deaths. 
  • Amidst the criticism, United has stressed that it is not lowering its safety standards but simply working to ensure that minority groups have more opportunities to become pilots.

United’s New Diversity Initiative

United Airlines is launching a new school that it hopes will increase diversity among pilots.

“Our flight deck should reflect the diverse group of people on board our planes every day,” the company said Tuesday on Twitter in a statement announcing the news. “That’s why we plan for 50% of the 5,000 pilots we train in the next decade to be women or people of color.”

Applications for the school are currently open, and United plans to enroll 100 students this year, with its first class of 20 beginning this summer. Reportedly, United and JPMorgan Chase will each provide $1.2 million in scholarships to incoming students. 

According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, about 94% of pilots and flight engineers are white. That data also indicates about as many are men.

United itself said only about 7% of its pilots are women and only 13% aren’t white. With those stats in mind, United said it’s working with three historically Black colleges and universities to help drive recruitment. 

United Faces Criticism From Tucker Carlson and Others

Since its announcement, United has had to contend with a hefty amount of pushback, as a number of people have replied to the company’s initial tweet by questioning the diversity initiative and its relationship with passenger safety. 

“How about you hire experienced, good pilots regardless of race or gender?” one person asked. “I don’t care about a pilot’s race — I care if he or she can land the damned plane safely.” 

Wednesday night, Fox News host Tucker Carlson even implied that the initiative could lead to increased plane crashes and deaths.

“An airline pilot transports hundreds of people at a time in a thin-walled metal tube going nearly 600 miles an hour 35,000 feet off the ground. Flying a commercial airliner is dangerous,” Carlson said. “Like performing heart surgery, no matter how many times you’ve done it, it is inherently high stakes. People die if you screw up. In the airline business, as in medicine, not killing people is all that matters. So how will racial and gender quotas make United Airlines safer?”

“The CEO of United Airlines is saying that we need to replace the pilots currently flying airplanes because they’re the wrong skin color,” he later added. “Only diseased people think like this. 

Factually, Carlson is wrong. United has made no indication that it is planning to replace current pilots; rather, it is likely responding to a long-term shortage of pilots, as many are soon set to begin retirement.

United Responds

United has defended its program multiple times over the last couple of days. 

“All the highly qualified candidates we accept into the Academy, regardless of race or sex, will have met or exceeded the standards we set for admittance,” United said in a clarification on its safety standards.

Others on Twitter have also dispelled the criticism around the pilot program, with one user saying, “@TuckerCarlson missed the point, again. @united is training pilots to a level of safety of all other pilots. The standard isn’t dropping, the opportunity for underserved segments of the population is increasing.”

See what others are saying: (The New York Times) (Fox News) (Newsweek

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TikTok to Require Labels on Manipulated Media, Ban Deepfakes of Children

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The social media platform says it wants to embrace the creativity AI can offer while being cautious of the “societal and individual risks” that come with it.


TikTok is rolling out a slew of limitations regarding synthetic deepfake videos, including a ban on deepfake content of children.

In an update on Tuesday, the social media platform said it wants welcome “the creativity that new artificial intelligence and other digital technologies may unlock” while also being careful of the “societal and individual risks” that come with it. To mitigate those risks, TikTok will require users to label manipulated media depicting “realistic scenes.” Users can do so in stickers, captions, or other means that make it clear the video is “synthetic,” “fake,” “not real,” or “altered.”

On top of that, there are new restrictions about who can be the subject of these manipulated videos. TikTok will not allow deepfake media that shows the likeness of a “young person” or any private person, including adults. It is also barring deepfakes that depict adult public figures giving political or commercial endorsements, as well as deepfakes that violate one of the platform’s other rules.

“While we provide more latitude for public figures, we do not want them to be the subject of abuse, or for people to be misled about political or financial issues,” the company’s updated guidelines say. 

As TikTok’s policies previously stated, synthetic media that has been edited to mislead audiences about real-world events is also not allowed on the platform. 

As far as what kind of deepfake media is allowed on TikTok, the company said videos showing adult public figures in “certain contexts, including artistic and educational content,” get the green light. This can include a video of a celebrity doing a TikTok dance, or a historical figure being depicted in a history lesson. 

The rules will be enforced starting April 21. Between now and then, TikTok says it will be training its moderators to better implement the guidelines.

See what others are saying: (The Verge) (The Associated Press) (TechCrunch)

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Adidas Financial Woes Continue, Company on Track for First Annual Loss in Decades

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Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company. 


Yeezy Surplus 

Adidas’ split with musician Kanye West has left the company with financial problems due to surplus Yeezy products, putting the sportswear giant in the position to potentially suffer its first annual loss in over 30 years. 

Adidas dropped West last year after he made a series of antisemitic remarks on social media and other broadcasts. His Yeezy line was a staple for Adidas, and the surplus product is due, in part, to the brand’s own decision to continue production during the split.

According to CEO Bjorn Gulden, Adidas continued production of only the items already in the pipeline to prevent thousands of people from losing their jobs. However, that has led to the unfortunate overabundance of Yeezy sneakers and clothes. 

On Wednesday, Gulden said that selling the shoes and donating the proceeds makes more sense than giving them away due to the Yeezy resale market — which has reportedly shot up 30% since October.

“If we sell it, I promise that the people who have been hurt by this will also get something good out of this,” Gulden said in a statement to the press. 

However, Gulden also said that West is entitled to a portion of the proceeds of the sale of Yeezys per his royalty agreement.

The Numbers 

Adidas announced in February that, following its divergence from West, it is facing potential sales losses totaling around $1.2 billion and profit losses of around $500 million. 

If it decides to not sell any more Yeezy products, Adidas is facing a projected annual loss of over $700 million.

Outside of West, Adidas has taken several heavy profit blows recently. Its operating profit reportedly fell by 66% last year, a total of more than $700 million. It also pulled out of Russia after the country’s invasion of Ukraine last year, which cost Adidas nearly $60 million dollars. Additionally, China’s “Zero Covid” lockdowns last year caused in part a 36% drop in revenue for Adidas compared to years prior.

As a step towards a solution, Gulden announced that the company is slashing its dividends from 3.30 euros to 0.70 euro cents per share pending shareholder approval. 

Adidas has labeled 2023 a “transition year” for the company. 

“Adidas has all the ingredients to be successful. But we need to put our focus back on our core: product, consumers, retail partners, and athletes,” Gulden said. “I am convinced that over time we will make Adidas shine again. But we need some time.”

See what others are saying: (The Washington Post) (The New York Times) (CNN)

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Elon Musk Bashes Disabled Ex-Twitter Employee, Gets Blowback

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After Musk claimed the former employee “did no actual work,” the staffer calmly directed passive-aggressive insults right back at the billionaire.


Excuse Me, Do I Still Work Here?

Elon Musk brawled online with a former Twitter employee who didn’t know whether he was fired Tuesday, accusing the staffer of exploiting his disability.

Haraldur “Halli” Thorleifsson, who has muscular dystrophy, joined Twitter in 2021 after it acquired the creative agency he founded: Ueno.

He said on Twitter that he was unable to confirm whether he was still a Twitter employee nine days after being locked out of his work computer, despite reaching out to the head of HR and Musk himself through email.

At the time, Twitter had laid off at least 200 workers, or some 10% of its remaining workforce.

In search of an answer, Thorleifsson tweeted at Musk, who responded with the question: “What work have you been doing?”

After being given permission by Musk to break confidentiality, Thorleifsson listed several of his accomplishments, including leading “design crits to help level up design across the company.”

“Level up from what design to what? Pics or it didn’t happen,” Musk replied.

We haven’t hired design roles in 4 months. What changes did you make to help with the youths?”

Thorleifsson reminded Musk that he couldn’t access any pictures because he was locked out of his work computer.

Musk stopped replying to the tweets, but hours later he returned to the platform to lob invective at his former employee.

Musk Vs. Halli

“The reality is that this guy (who is independently wealthy) did no actual work, claimed as his excuse that he had a disability that prevented him from typing, yet was simultaneously tweeting up a storm,” Musk tweeted, apparently referring to Thorleifsson. “Can’t say I have a lot of respect for that.”

“But was he fired? No, you can’t be fired if you weren’t working in the first place,” he added.

In a later Twitter thread, Thorleifsson said he could type for one or two hours at a time before his hands cramped, but that in pre-Musk Twitter, that wasn’t a problem because he was a senior director.

He added that despite his crippling disability, he worked hard for years to build Ueno.

“We grew fast and made money,” he said. “I think that’s what you are referring to when you say independently wealthy? That I independently made my money, as opposed to say, inherited an emerald mine.”

Thorleifsson made several more passive-aggressive jabs at Musk.

“I joined at a time when the company was growing fast,” he wrote. “You kind of did the opposite. The company had a fair amount of issues, but then again, most bigger companies do. Or even small companies, like Twitter today.”

Thorleifsson said that immediately following his back-and-forth with Musk, Twitter’s head of HR confirmed that he had indeed been fired from the company.

See what others are saying: (Business Insider) (CNN) (Yahoo)

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