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Hard Numbers: Unique prints, Job impacts, China chip sales, Microsoft beats Apple, Baidu shares fall

Fingerprint and loupe.

Fingerprint and loupe.

imago images/blickwinkel via Reuters Connect

60,000: Researchers at Columbia University trained an artificial intelligence tool on 60,000 human fingerprints and made a strange discovery: Contrary to popular belief, our fingerprints may not be entirely unique. If confirmed, this discovery could change a bedrock assumption of forensic science.


40: Artificial intelligence will affect 40% of all jobs, according to a new analysis by the International Monetary Fund. In advanced economies, a whopping 60% of jobs could be affected. In about half of the affected jobs, AI could actually help workers, the IMF said, but the net effect on people around the world won’t be pretty.

15.4: The value of China’s chip imports fell 15.4% to $349.4 billion in 2023 after the US intensified export controls on the semiconductor industry. It’s the second year in a row that it has dropped and the worst decline since data tracking began in 2004.

2.89 trillion: On Friday, Microsoft surpassed Apple as the world’s most valuable company. The PC giant, which has leaned heavily into AI — including a massive investment in OpenAI — finished the trading day at $2.89 trillion, beating Apple’s $2.87 trillion. Apple has held the most-valuable-company crown since 2011 when it dethroned Exxon Mobil.

12: Shares of the Chinese tech company Baidu fell 12% after a report revealed its Ernie AI platform is powering Chinese military research. Baidu, which trades on the Nasdaq and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, had its worst-performing day in a year even though it denied the veracity of the report. Ernie added 100 million users since it launched in August, but its use by the Chinese government could subdue investor interest on Wall Street.

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