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Showing posts from January, 2018

Google yanks gay dating app from Indonesia online store

Google yanks gay dating app from Indonesia online store
The government's gay apps ban comes against a backdrop of growing hostility towards Indonesia's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender
31 Jan 2018 03:49PM
JAKARTA: Google has pulled one of the world's largest gay dating apps from the Indonesian version of its online store in response to government demands, Jakarta said on Wednesday (Jan 31), amid a crackdown on the LGBT community.
Officials had called for the tech giant to remove 73 LGBT-related applications, including dating services, from its Play Store and urged people to shun apps that broke with cultural norms in the world's biggest Muslim-majority nation.
Communications ministry spokesman Noor Iza confirmed on Wednesday that gay dating application Blued - which boasts more than 27 million users globally - no longer appeared in the Google Play Store available to Indonesian users.
"There was some negative content related to pornography inside the applic…

Facebook Getting Aggressive With Users -- Who Don't Use...

Facebook Really Wants You to Come Back
The social network is getting aggressive with people who don’t log in often, working to keep up its engagement numbers.
By Sarah Frier January 31, 2018, 2:00 AM PST
It’s been about a year since Rishi Gorantala deleted the Facebook app from his phone, and the company has only gotten more aggressive in its emails to win him back. The social network started out by alerting him every few days about friends that had posted photos or made comments—each time inviting him to click a link and view the activity on Facebook. He rarely did.
Then, about once a week in September, he started to get prompts from a Facebook security customer-service address. “It looks like you’re having trouble logging into Facebook,” the emails would say. “Just click the button below and we’ll log you in. If you weren’t trying to log in, let us know.” He wasn’t trying. But he doesn’t think anybody else was, either.
“The content of mail they send is essentially trying to trick y…

AI in the court: When algorithms rule on jail time

AI in the court: When algorithms rule on jail time
By MATT O’BRIEN and DAKE KANG January 31, 2018
CLEVELAND (AP) — The centuries-old process of releasing defendants on bail, long the province of judicial discretion, is getting a major assist ... courtesy of artificial intelligence.
In late August, Hercules Shepherd Jr. walked up to the stand in a Cleveland courtroom, dressed in an orange jumpsuit. Two nights earlier, an officer had arrested him at a traffic stop with a small bag of cocaine, and he was about to be arraigned.
Judge Jimmy Jackson Jr. looked at Shepherd, then down at a computer-generated score on the front of the 18-year-old’s case file. Two out of six for likelihood of committing another crime. One out of six for likelihood of skipping court. The scores marked Shepherd as a prime candidate for pretrial release with low bail.
“We ask the court to take that all into consideration,” said Shepherd’s public defender, David Magee.
Not long ago, Jackson would have decided Shep…

First-ever self-driving delivery on public roads sees groceries dropped off in Bay Area

First-ever self-driving delivery on public roads sees groceries dropped off in Bay Area
Udelv’s autonomous delivery vehicle (with human backup driver in case of emergency) drives back to Draeger’s market in San Mateo, Calif., Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2018, after making its initial grocery deliveries. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)
By ETHAN BARON | ebaron@bayareanewsgroup.com | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: January 30, 2018 at 12:21 pm | UPDATED: January 31, 2018 at 9:44 am
SAN MATEO — A Bay Area tech company is claiming the world’s first delivery of goods by a self-driving car on public roads, after its electric cargo truck carried groceries from the posh Draeger’s grocery store in San Mateo to two nearby locations Tuesday.
“We’re making history today by reinventing deliveries,” said Udelv CEO Daniel Laury.
Udelv plans to use its single automated vehicle — which requires a backup driver as per state law — to start regular deliveries to customers of the San Mateo Draeger’s store after mid…

Facebook lost daily users for the first time ever in the U.S. and Canada

Facebook lost daily users for the first time ever in the U.S. and Canada
It was a small but negative change to daily active users in Facebook’s most valuable market.
By Kurt Wagner and Rani Molla Jan 31, 2018, 5:01pm EST
Here’s a troubling data point if you’re a Facebook investor: The company may have finally tapped out its most valuable market, the U.S. and Canada.
Facebook’s daily active user base in the U.S. and Canada fell for the first time ever in the fourth quarter, dropping to 184 million from 185 million in the previous quarter.
It’s a very small decline in a market that Facebook already dominates. But it’s also Facebook’s most valuable market, and any decline in usership — even a small one — isn’t a great sign.
Each user accounted for $26.76 worth of revenue for the company last quarter, and it went up by 35 percent over the same quarter last year.

It’s not clear why that segment got smaller. But it has been a tough year for Facebook in the U.S., and most of the company has…

Is Missouri ready for 700 mph hyperloop commutes?

Is Missouri ready for 700 mph hyperloop commutes?
Marco della Cava, USA TODAY Published 3:00 p.m. ET Jan. 30, 2018 | Updated 5:30 p.m. ET Jan. 30, 2018
SAN FRANCISCO — Commuters in Missouri face the prospect of trading their grinding highway slog for a 700-mph hyperloop that is still in testing and would carry high-speed rail type prices.
A public-private partnership of Missouri scientists, builders and regulators announced Tuesday that it would study whether the Elon Musk-inspired transportation system — where levitating pods cruise inside vacuum-sealed tubes — could be right for the state's congested I-70 corridor between Kansas City and St. Louis.
The study will be conducted by Missouri engineering firm Black & Veatch, the University of Missouri and Virgin Hyperloop One, one of a handful of hyperloop companies pursuing the technology. Last fall, Virgin Hyperloop One announced a similar study with officials in Colorado. Most of its other feasibility studies are with consortiums …

U.S. Probes Apple Over Updates That Slow Older iPhones

U.S. Probes Apple Over Updates That Slow Older iPhones

Apple said in December a software update affected some phones Company cut price of replacement batteries after complaints
By Tom Schoenberg, Matt Robinson,and Mark Gurman January 30, 2018, 10:02 AM PST
The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating whether Apple Inc. violated securities laws concerning its disclosures about a software update that slowed older iPhone models, according to people familiar with the matter.
The government has requested information from the company, according to the people, who asked not to be named because the probe is private. The inquiry is in early stages, they cautioned, and it’s too soon to conclude any enforcement will follow. Investigators are looking into public statements made by Apple on the situation, they added.
While the slowdown has frustrated consumers, U.S. investigators are concerned that the company may have misled investors about the per…

Scoop: Trump team considers nationalizing 5G network

Scoop: Trump team considers nationalizing 5G network

Jonathan Swan, David McCabe, Ina Fried, Kim Hart January 28, 2018

Trump national security officials are considering an unprecedented federal takeover of a portion of the nation’s mobile network to guard against China, according to sensitive documents obtained by Axios. Why it matters: We’ve got our hands on a PowerPoint deck and a memo — both produced by a senior National Security Council official — which were presented recently to senior officials at other agencies in the Trump administration. The main points: The documents say America needs a centralized nationwide 5G network within three years. There'll be a fierce debate inside the Trump administration — and an outcry from the industry — over the next 6-8 months over how such a network is built and paid for. 
Two options laid out by the documents: The U.S. government pays for and builds the single network — which would be an unprecedented nationalization of a historically pri…

Humanoid To Replace TV News Anchor...

The Robot Revolution: Humanoid Potential | Moving Upstream
A video exploring how humanoid robots are evolving to look and act even more like humans. But could they ever become our friends?
Humanoid robots are getting better at walking, talking and looking like humans. But as they continue to evolve, will us real humans want to spend time with them? And exactly how useful could they become? For this episode of Moving Upstream, WSJ’s Jason Bellini travels to Asia to meet some of the leaders in the humanoid robotics revolution.
By Moving Upstream and  Jason Bellini Jan. 29, 2018 5:31 a.m. ET
Robots are getting better at walking, talking and looking like humans.
But big questions remain: Will we want to spend time with them on a regular basis? And how useful to humans could they become?
David Hanson, the founder of Hong Kong-based Hanson Robotics, thinks the true beauty of his creation, Sophia, lies beneath the surface: in her machine-learning capabilities.
“We are building the AI archit…

The Next Time You Order Room Service, It May Come by Robot

The Next Time You Order Room Service, It May Come by Robot
Hotels around the country are introducing robots to handle repetitive tasks like room service deliveries, entertaining guests, and even giving directions.
By Nora Walsh Jan. 29, 2018
Hotels across the country are rushing to introduce robots with the promise of enhancing the guest experience and increasing efficiency. The automated companions can do everything from make and pick up deliveries to help guests find their way around.
Aloft Cupertino in the Silicon Valley (rates from $150) was the first hotel in the United States to debut Savioke’s Relay robot in 2014. The three foot tall autonomous robot, nicknamed Botlr, weighs 90 pounds and makes deliveries throughout the hotel using multiple sensors, 3D cameras and Wi-Fi to operate the elevators. Marriott has since begun mobile robot service at four other Aloft properties.
“Botlr’s most popular guest deliveries are forgotten toiletry items, bottled water, microwave popcorn and …

What About Social-Media Neutrality? Facebook’s algorithms have monopoly power,...

What About Social-Media Neutrality?
Facebook’s algorithms have outsize power, both culturally and economically.
By Daniel Gallant Jan. 28, 2018 4:43 p.m. ET
Most arguments about “net neutrality” neglect an important reality: The internet most of us use is already far from neutral, thanks to the profit-focused algorithms and opaque content guidelines by which social-media companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram govern their sites.
Through these personalized online portals, we read news stories, share videos, learn about our friends’ lives, and discuss social trends. But these platforms don’t treat all content equally or distribute it fairly. Facebook and Instagram manage content in a decidedly non-neutral manner, using pay-to-play tactics that favor deep-pocketed advertisers and marketers versed in content targeting.
Whereas some paid promotions reach millions of Facebook and Instagram users, these platforms’ policies ensure that most unpaid content reaches few. Many Faceboo…

Stockton Gets Ready to Experiment With Universal Basic Income

Stockton Gets Ready to Experiment With Universal Basic Income
By Sam Harnett JANUARY 22, 2018    
Wage stagnation. Rising housing prices. Loss of middle-class jobs. The looming threat of automation. These are some of the problems facing Stockton and its residents, but the city’s mayor, Michael Tubbs, says his city is far from unique.
“I think Stockton is absolutely ground zero for a lot of the issues we are facing as a nation,” Tubbs said.
Stockton is one of many Bay Area cities on the fringe of the wealth accumulating in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. The Central Valley city went bankrupt in 2012, and for decades it has been trying to diversify its agriculture-based economy.
“I feel that as mayor it’s my responsibility to do all I could to begin figuring out what’s the best way to make sure that folks in our community have a real economic floor,” Tubbs said.
Tubbs is coordinating an effort to test a new way to sustain residents: universal basic income, or UBI. For one year, seve…

Facebook and Google are doomed, George Soros says

Facebook and Google are doomed, George Soros says
By Hamza Shaban January 26, 2018
Billionaire philanthropist and leading donor to liberal causes George Soros predicted Thursday that regulation and taxation will soon dethrone Facebook and Google, describing the tech industry's major players as powerful monopolies that harm individuals, market innovation and democracy.
In a wide-ranging, scathing speech delivered at a dinner event at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Soros applauded the European Union's heightened enforcement aimed at Web giants. He also called for greater regulation of the tech companies, seizing on a growing backlash against Silicon Valley.
“Facebook and Google have grown into ever more powerful monopolies, they have become obstacles to innovation, and they have caused a variety of problems of which we are only now beginning to become aware,” he said, according to a transcript of the speech.
Soros made the remarks as officials in Washington and…