Experts Say Tesla Has Repeated Car Industry Mistakes From The 1980S

from ars technica Production had been halted for much of last week in Tesla’s car factory in Fremont, California, and its battery factory near Clark, Nevada. In a Tuesday note to employees, CEO Elon Musk said that the pause was necessary to lay the groundwork for higher production levels in the coming weeks. Musk said he wants all parts of the company ready to prepare 6,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of June, triple the rate Tesla has achieved in the recent weeks. The announcement caps a nine-month period of turmoil that Musk has described as “production […]

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Minds Is The Anti-Facebook That Pays You For Your Time

from Wired During Mark Zuckerberg’s over 10 hours of Congressional testimony last week, lawmakers repeatedly asked how Facebook makes money. The simple answer, which Zuckerberg dodged, is the contributions and online activities of its over two billion users, which allow marketers to target ads with razor precision. In which case, asked representative Paul Tonko (D – New York), “why doesn’t Facebook pay its users for their incredibly valuable data?” It’s a good question, one that alternative social networks like Minds have attempted to answer. The idea isn’t entirely new—Minds launched in 2015—but the site and others like it feel especially […]

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Amazon Spent Nearly $23 Billion On R&D Last Year — More Than Any Other U.S. Company

from recode Tech companies claimed the top five spots in the U.S. for research and development spending again last year, investing a combined total of $76 billion. Amazon was at the top of the list, spending $22.6 billion in 2017, 41 percent more than in 2016 (when it also topped the list). Amazon has poured resources into AWS, Alexa and technologies like computer vision to support ambitious projects such as the Amazon Go cashierless store of the future. Amazon has also recently been the target of President Trump’s Twitter attacks accusing the company of not paying its share of taxes […]

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Spotify Relies On The Big Labels For Most Of Its Music. It Thinks That Will Change.

from recode Spotify is 12 years old and has never been profitable. Last year, it posted an operating loss of $461 million. Today, as it goes public, it wants investors to value it at something above $20 billion. In order to believe that’s a good idea, you have to believe that Spotify has figured out a way to improve its margins, which it says it will do. And in order to believe that, you have to believe that Spotify has figured out how to change the way it works with its most crucial partners: The big music labels. Spotify hasn’t […]

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When You Merge The Message With The Medium, You Make A Messium

from Wired THE NIXON ADMINISTRATION saw it coming. In a stunning January 1974 report, the Nixon White House Cable Committee foretold that the new telecom platform known as cable would, eventually, be a monopoly service wherever it was offered. The committee, whose membership included Mitt Romney’s dad, George, and which was staffed by a young Antonin Scalia, called for a “separation policy.” Its chief recommendation: Control of the cable medium should be separated from control of the messages on it. A federal mandate along these lines was urgently needed, the committee said: “If the achievement of a new relationship between […]

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Jaywalkers Under Surveillance In Shenzhen Soon To Be Punished Via Text Messages

from South China Morning Post Traffic police in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen have always had a reputation for strict enforcement of those flouting road rules in the metropolis of 12 million people. Now with the help of artificial intelligence and facial recognition technology, jaywalkers will not only be publicly named and shamed, they will be notified of their wrongdoing via instant messaging – along with the fine. Intellifusion, a Shenzhen-based AI firm that provides technology to the city’s police to display the faces of jaywalkers on large LED screens at intersections, is now talking with local mobile phone […]

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Eight WA High Schools Use Cyber Spy Program Which Homes In On ‘Early Warning Markers’ For Students

from Perth Now SUICIDAL thoughts and depression, viewing pornography and searches to buy or sell drugs are the most common incidents detected by a global online program used by eight WA high schools to monitor the computer use of about 9000 students. The WA schools have signed up to UK-based company eSafe Global’s software, which homes in on “early warning markers” — tens of thousands of “red flag” words, phrases, abbreviations, euphemisms and colloquialisms — typed or searched for by students from Year 7-12. In the past two years, more than 8000 incidents were identified by “behaviour specialists” in the […]

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Tech Companies Should Stop Pretending AI Won’t Destroy Jobs

from MIT Technology Review No matter what anyone tells you, we’re not ready for the massive societal upheavals on the way. I took an Uber to an artificial-­intelligence conference at MIT one recent morning, and the driver asked me how long it would take for autonomous vehicles to take away his job. I told him it would happen in about 15 to 20 years. He breathed a sigh of relief. “Well, I’ll be retired by then,” he said. Good thing we weren’t in China. If a driver there had asked, I would have had to tell him he’d lose his […]

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The House That Spied on Me

from Gizmodo In December, I converted my one-bedroom apartment in San Francisco into a “smart home.” I connected as many of my appliances and belongings as I could to the internet: an Amazon Echo, my lights, my coffee maker, my baby monitor, my kid’s toys, my vacuum, my TV, my toothbrush, a photo frame, a sex toy, and even my bed. “Our bed?” asked my husband, aghast. “What can it tell us?” “Our breathing rate, heart rate, how often we toss and turn, and then it will give us a sleep report each morning,” I explained. “Sounds creepy,” he said, […]

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The Tyranny of Convenience

from NYTs Convenience is the most underestimated and least understood force in the world today. As a driver of human decisions, it may not offer the illicit thrill of Freud’s unconscious sexual desires or the mathematical elegance of the economist’s incentives. Convenience is boring. But boring is not the same thing as trivial. In the developed nations of the 21st century, convenience — that is, more efficient and easier ways of doing personal tasks — has emerged as perhaps the most powerful force shaping our individual lives and our economies. This is particularly true in America, where, despite all the […]

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The Social Media Threat to Society and Security

from Project Syndicate It takes significant effort to assert and defend what John Stuart Mill called the freedom of mind. And there is a real chance that, once lost, those who grow up in the digital age – in which the power to command and shape people’s attention is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few companies – will have difficulty regaining it. The current moment in world history is a painful one. Open societies are in crisis, and various forms of dictatorships and mafia states, exemplified by Vladimir Putin’s Russia, are on the rise. In the United States, […]

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Is the Answer to Phone Addiction a Worse Phone?

from NYTs I’ve gone gray, and it’s great. In an effort to break my smartphone addiction, I’ve joined a small group of people turning their phone screens to grayscale — cutting out the colors and going with a range of shades from white to black. First popularized by the tech ethicist Tristan Harris, the goal of sticking to shades of gray is to make the glittering screen a little less stimulating. I’ve been gray for a couple days, and it’s remarkable how well it has eased my twitchy phone checking, suggesting that one way to break phone attachment may be […]

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Cryptocurrency Boom, A Problem For Gamers, Is A Bonanza For GPU Makers

from ars technica The cryptocurrency boom has created a persistent shortage of high-end graphics cards. That has been a headache for gamers, who have to pay inflated prices for GPUs—if they can find them at all. But it has been a financial windfall to leading graphics card makers Nvidia and AMD. On Thursday, Nvidia reported soaring profits for the fourth quarter of 2017—a period when rapidly rising prices for Ethereum and other cryptocurrencies was driving a boom in amateur cryptocurrency mining with graphics cards. “Strong demand in the cryptocurrency market exceeded our expectations,” Nvidia chief financial officer Colette Kress said […]

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To Power the Future, Carmakers Flip on 48-Volt Systems

from NYTs While automakers sketch out a world of sleek and silent electric cars or even self-driving pods that are more den than dragster, the all-electric future is further off than it may appear. Car companies, starting with Volvo last summer, have laid out plans to electrify entire lineups of vehicles. But the fine print makes it clear that the coming decade and beyond will focus not just on massive battery packs powering electric motors, but also on adding a little extra juice to the venerable internal combustion engine. Increasingly, that juice will arrive in the form of new electrical […]

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Waymo: “We’re Bringing This Case Because Uber Is Cheating”

from ars technica In a packed courtroom on the first day of the blockbuster Waymo v. Uber trade secrets trial, both sides presented their opening arguments. Charles Verhoeven, Waymo’s top lawyer, said that Travis Kalanick, Uber’s CEO from 2010 until mid-2017, was not playing fair in his company’s efforts to catch up with Waymo. “The evidence is going to show that Mr. Kalanick, the CEO at the time, made a decision that winning was more important than obeying the law,” he said. “He made a decision to cheat. Because for him, winning at all costs, no matter what, was his […]

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What It’s Like to Live in a Surveillance State

from NYTs Imagine that this is your daily life: While on your way to work or on an errand, every 100 meters you pass a police blockhouse. Video cameras on street corners and lamp posts recognize your face and track your movements. At multiple checkpoints, police officers scan your ID card, your irises and the contents of your phone. At the supermarket or the bank, you are scanned again, your bags are X-rayed and an officer runs a wand over your body — at least if you are from the wrong ethnic group. Members of the main group are usually […]

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Tackling the Internet’s Central Villain: The Advertising Business

from NYTs Pretend you are the lead detective on a hit new show, “CSI: Terrible Stuff on the Internet.” In the first episode, you set up one of those crazy walls plastered with headlines and headshots, looking for hidden connections between everything awful that’s been happening online recently. There’s a lot of dark stuff. In one corner, you have the Russian campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election with digital propaganda. In another, a rash of repugnant videos on YouTube, with children being mock-abused, cartoon characters bizarrely committing suicide on the kids’ channel and a popular vlogger recording a body […]

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Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting.

from NYTs Step into any college lecture hall and you are likely to find a sea of students typing away at open, glowing laptops as the professor speaks. But you won’t see that when I’m teaching. Though I make a few exceptions, I generally ban electronics, including laptops, in my classes and research seminars. That may seem extreme. After all, with laptops, students can, in some ways, absorb more from lectures than they can with just paper and pen. They can download course readings, look up unfamiliar concepts on the fly and create an accurate, well-organized record of the lecture […]

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The Shape Of Work To Come

from nature Last year, entrepreneur Sebastian Thrun set out to augment his sales force with artificial intelligence. Thrun is the founder and president of Udacity, an education company that provides online courses and employs an armada of salespeople who answer questions from potential students through online chats. Thrun, who also runs a computer-science lab at Stanford University in California, worked with one of his students to collect the transcripts of these chats, noting which resulted in students signing up for a course. The pair fed the chats into a machine-learning system, which was able to glean the most effective responses to […]

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