Technology readings

By Enrique Dans | Relevant technology-related news, curated daily by Enrique Dans (http://www.enriquedans.com)

Lyft confirms $1B investment from Alphabet

The financing from Google's parent company brings the ride-hailing company's valuation to $11 billion.<p>Looks like Lyft could soon be appearing larger in Uber's rear-view mirror.<p>Confirming last month's reports, the ride-hailing startup announced today that Google-parent Alphabet's growth investment …

Uber

Senators announce new bill that would regulate online political ads

As tech companies face continued scrutiny over Russian activity on their ad platforms, Senators today announced legislation meant to regulate political ads on the internet.<p>The new bill, called the Honest Ads Act, would require companies like Facebook and Google to keep copies of political ads and …

Advertising

News paywalls are bad for society, says BuzzFeed’s Jonah Peretti

Venerable news-gathering institutions such as the <i>New York Times</i> and <i>Washington Post</i> are betting their future on getting people to pay for quality journalism, with some success. But at the D.Live conference presented by the <i>Wall Street Journal</i>—another fan of paywalls—<i>BuzzFeed’s</i> Jonah Peretti says that …

Journalism

China to build giant facial recognition database to identify any citizen within seconds

China is building the world’s most powerful facial recognition system with the power to identify any one of its 1.3 billion citizens within three …

Surveillance

Here is Apple's self-driving car prototype

Here are new images of Apple's self-driving car technology (Project Titan) mounted on a Lexus RX350. That gear on the top is a rack of six LIDAR …

Tech Trends

AlphaGo Zero Shows Machines Can Become Superhuman Without Any Help - MIT Technology Review

AlphaGo wasn’t the best Go player on the planet for very long. A new version of the masterful AI program has emerged, and it’s a monster. In a …

Artificial Intelligence

Online shoppers prefer brick-and-mortar grocery stores

(<i>Reuters</i>) — Most U.S. shoppers are fiercely loyal to local food stores, calling them better than online options, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos poll that raises questions about how much Amazon.com’s $13.7 billion purchase of Whole Foods will shake up the supermarket business.<p>Shares in Kroger Co, …

eCommerce

Russians Posing as Black Activists on Facebook Is More Than Fake News

This past summer, a Facebook account called Blacktivist posted a horrifying video. It depicted a black man handcuffed, his face planted to the …

Black Lives Matter

Nude is a next-generation photo vault that uses AI to hide your sensitive photos

Making the camera roll safe for sharing<p>Nudes are an inconvenient truth of the mobile era. The combination of ever-more-powerful cameras and ever-more-convenient sharing mechanisms has made the exchange of explicit pictures a fact of life for nearly everyone seeking romantic connections online. Yet …

Machine Learning

The Problem with #MeToo and Viral Outrage | Backchannel

<b>Three days into the #MeToo meme,</b> my Facebook News Feed is teeming with posts. Female friends have shared heavy anecdotes about inappropriate events. …

Social Media

How the Frightful Five Put Start-Ups in a Lose-Lose Situation

The tech giants are too big. But so what? Hasn’t that always been the case?<p>As the men who run Silicon Valley will be the first to tell you, a company’s size doesn’t matter here. For every lumbering Goliath, there are always one or two smarter, faster Davids just now starting up in some fabled …

Silicon Valley

Amazon adds loads more branded Dash buttons in UK

Amazon has doubled the total selection of branded Dash buttons available to UK members of its Prime subscription service, just over a year after launching the push-button wi-fi gizmos that let people reorder a specific product via its ecommerce marketplace by pushing the button.<p>The first Dash …

Amazon

The 'Amazon experience' goes live at Kohl's

Kohl's is officially in business with Amazon.<p>Starting Wednesday, 10 Kohl's stores in the Los Angeles and Chicago markets will both sell Amazon's …

Trends

WhatsApp’s Live Location feature lets friends track each other in real time

WhatsApp has announced a notable new feature today, one that may prove popular with millions of security-conscious, nosy, and impatient people globally.<p>Landing on both Android and iOS “in the coming weeks,” the new Live Location feature allows WhatsApp users to share their real-time location with …

WhatsApp

Self-driving Chevy Bolts will roam New York City streets next year

GM’s self-driving arm Cruise will be testing its Chevy Bolts in a 5-square-mile part of lower Manhattan.<p>New York City’s streets will get their first extensive test of self driving cars starting next year.<p>General Motors will operate a handful of semi-driverless Chevy Bolts within a five-square-mile …

Transportation

Amazon is now literally building its way into people’s lives

Online retailer Amazon wormed its way into the lives of Americans with books, then with e-books, then with Kindle, then with loads of stuff besides books, then with “free” shipping at Prime, then with personal assistant Alexa. Now the e-commerce giant is coming directly into your home, not by …

Amazon

How Google’s Quantum Computer Could Change the World

The ultra-powerful machine has the potential to disrupt everything from science and medicine to national security—assuming it works<p>Hartmut Neven believes in parallel universes. On a recent morning outside Google’s Los Angeles office, the 53-year-old computer scientist was lecturing me on how …

Quantum Mechanics

Alphabet’s Drones Are Now Delivering Right Into People’s Backyards - MIT Technology Review

The Download<p>What's up in emerging technology<p>Yesterday<p>Alphabet’s Drones Are Now Delivering Right Into People’s Backyards<p>A new trial in southeastern …

Drones

Why the Krack Wi-Fi Mess Will Take Decades to Clean Up

A vulnerability in Wi-Fi encryption has sent the entire tech industry scrambling; the so-called Krack attack affects nearly every wireless device to …

Wi-Fi

To Take on Tesla, Volvo Revamps Its Polestar Brand

Volvo is in the midst of a reincarnation. The Swedish automaker is leaving behind its former life as the maker of super safe, super boxy wagons, and …

Electric Vehicles

Exclusive: Microsoft responded quietly after detecting secret database hack in 2013

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp's secret internal database for tracking bugs in its own software was broken into by a highly sophisticated hacking group more than four years ago, according to five former employees, in only the second known breach of such a corporate database.<p>The company did not disclose …

Security

Facebook Executives Find A New Crisis Communications Tool: Twitter

"We want to be more direct and straightforward as a company," Facebook VP of VR and AR Andrew Bosworth told BuzzFeed News.<p>As Facebook grapples with the unprecedented crisis that's arisen around its role in the 2016 US presidential election, some of the company's top executives have begun doing …

Facebook

Google Serves Fake News Ads in an Unlikely Place: Fact-Checking Sites

SAN FRANCISCO — The headlines are eye-catching. Melania Trump is leaving the White House! Home renovation cable star Joanna Gaines has abandoned her HGTV show and husband Chip Gaines! Televangelist Joel Osteen is leaving his wife!<p>None of the stories were true. Yet as recently as late last week, …

Journalism

You Could Become an AI Master Before You Know It. Here’s How. - MIT Technology Review

At first blush, Scot Barton might not seem like an AI pioneer. He isn’t building self-driving cars or teaching computers to thrash humans at computer …

Machine Learning

Has your browser been hijacked to mine cryptocurrency?

The recent surge in cryptocurrency prices could give website administrators a new way to monetize and allow them to get rid of annoying banner ads. This potentially less intrusive revenue source is called “passive cryptocurrency mining.” It enables a site to levy the power of a user’s machine to …

Bitcoin

AI can revolutionize HR, but deploy with care

Artificial intelligence is transforming HR. We’ve already seen a marked rise in the number of HR tools applying machine learning and artificial intelligence to “people problems” in the workplace. As organizations embrace continuous change and greater decentralization, those who put that technology …

Machine Learning

Meet the Mate 10, Huawei's New AI-Powered Flagship Phone

The next big thing in phones: high-end handsets that harness artificial intelligence to drive advanced features like smart photography, machine …

Tablets

Voice and facial recognition could help AI surpass humans in emotional intelligence

I’ve spent a number of years studying artificial intelligence, and, until recently, I believed emotional intelligence would remain one of the core advantages left to humans after AI takes over most tasks requiring memorization and logic.<p>The more I have looked into this area, however, the more …

Artificial Intelligence

How Blockchain Could Give Us a Smarter Energy Grid - MIT Technology Review

On an electricity grid, electrons generated from the sun, wind, or other renewable sources are indistinguishable from those generated by fossil …

Bitcoin