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Top tech and business trends face off in our March Madness bracket

Dan DeFrancesco   

Top tech and business trends face off in our March Madness bracket
  • This post originally appeared in the Insider Today newsletter.

Happy Friday, it's a good one! Got a flight coming up? Text yourself your flight number if you have an iPhone for a cool little hack.

In today's big story, we're looking at results from our business, tech, and innovation bracket and voting on the semifinal matchups.

What's on deck:

But first, a final four.

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The big story

More madness

We're back with the latest installment of our own March Madness bracket.

In case you missed it, we created a bracket with eight of the biggest topics in business, tech, and innovation. Then, we left it to the readers to vote.

Let's get to the results:

[1] The AI race (81.9%) defeats [8] The Ozempic effect (18.1%): The only real blowout of the first round. No real surprises here. As important as weight-loss drugs are, AI is a monster.

[4] Future of social media (71.8%) defeats [5] Streaming wars (28.2%): A bit surprising. I thought more people would care about everything changing with how we watch TV and movies. But social media has been around so long, it's truly embedded in our DNA.

[3] US presidential election (73.6%) defeats [6] Boomers' retirement (26.4%): Retirement is a massive issue. (Just ask BlackRock's Larry Fink.) But yes, deciding the next US president feels a tad more urgent right now.

[2] Interest rates (56.8%) defeats [7] US-China relations (43.2%): The closest of the four matches was also the most surprising, in my opinion. I thought interest rates, which impact our entire economy, would secure an easy win. But fears over China remain strong.

Let's get into the semifinals.

[1] The AI race vs. [4] Future of social media: In one corner, something primed to change how we do almost everything. In the other, something that quickly grew to become a foundational part of our society, now trying to figure out where it goes next. Coincidentally, the future of social media could be reshaped by AI — with the rise of AI influencers.

[2] Interest rates vs [3] US presidential election: It's a fitting matchup since a change in rates, or lack thereof, could swing the election one way or another. President Joe Biden winning reelection or former President Donald Trump returning to the White House come with plenty of knock-on effects. But, according to at least one economist, the Fed's current rate-cut projects could lead to a recession.

Vote here.

3 things in markets

  1. Getting your tax refund to work for you. The average tax refund is $3,109, according to the IRS. What should you do with the influx of cash? We've got a rundown of the type of accounts you should leverage to make the most of the money.

  2. Ray Dalio has some thoughts on China. The billionaire founder of Bridgewater Associates outlined five major forces that pose a threat, like China's debt problem and its growing internal wealth gap. Meanwhile, China's President Xi Jinping grapples with trying to court US investors and putting a dent in the country's global power.

  3. Some more good news for stocks. The Leading Economic Index, a closely watched recession indicator, reversed its two-year decline. The average one-year return for the S&P 500 after the LEI turned positive following a negative streak is 15.6%.

3 things in tech

  1. "Major incidents" in Walmart's internal systems. Walmart's tech platform had over a dozen events that interfered with business operations and impacted revenue over the last two months, according to internal emails reviewed by BI. It comes as the retail giant heavily invests in tech to compete with rival Amazon.

  2. Everything you need to know about the AI company Amazon is betting big on. Anthropic, which was founded in 2021 and has a mission "to ensure transformative AI helps people and society flourish," has become a key player in the AI race. Amazon is pledging an additional $2.75 billion to the startup, whose chatbot is competing with ChatGPT.

  3. Marissa Mayer's photo-sharing app feels like a blast from the past, but that might not be a bad thing. The former Yahoo CEO's new photo-sharing app has gotten roasted for looking like a relic of the late aughts. But upon further inspection, there could be a real use case for it.

3 things in business

  1. Sam Bankman-Fried has been sentenced to 25 years in prison. The disgraced cryptocurrency mogul was found guilty of fraud, conspiracy, and money laundering in November. Ahead of the sentencing, US District Judge Lewis Kaplan laid into Bankman-Fried and his legal team for claiming FTX customers didn't lose any money.

  2. Unruly Agency has been hit with 9 lawsuits this year. Former employees are suing the social media agency that manages OnlyFans accounts for top influencers like Tana Mongeau and Abby Rao. The lawsuits contain allegations of wrongful termination, retaliation, and unjust imprisonment.

  3. Prepare for the #motivational doom scroll. LinkedIn is experimenting with TikTok-style short videos, the company confirmed. So far, the videos appear to be taken from already existing posts on the platform. If LinkedIn rolls out the feature more widely, it will have a lot of catching up to do.

In other news

What's happening today

  • Today is Good Friday.

  • Beyoncé eighth studio album, "Cowboy Carter," is released today.

The Insider Today team: Dan DeFrancesco, deputy editor and anchor, in New York. Grace Lett, associate editor, in Chicago. Lisa Ryan, executive editor, in New York.

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