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Showing posts from June, 2019

Boeing Outsourced 737 Max Software to $9-an-Hour Engineers

Boeing’s 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers
Peter Robison Bloomberg June 29, 2019
(Bloomberg) -- It remains the mystery at the heart of Boeing Co.’s 737 Max crisis: how a company renowned for meticulous design made seemingly basic software mistakes leading to a pair of deadly crashes. Longtime Boeing engineers say the effort was complicated by a push to outsource work to lower-paid contractors.
The Max software -- plagued by issues that could keep the planes grounded months longer after U.S. regulators this week revealed a new flaw -- was developed at a time Boeing was laying off experienced engineers and pressing suppliers to cut costs.
Increasingly, the iconic American planemaker and its subcontractors have relied on temporary workers making as little as $9 an hour to develop and test software, often from countries lacking a deep background in aerospace -- notably India.
In offices across from Seattle’s Boeing Field, recent college graduates employed by the Indian …

Walmart Turns to VR to Pick Middle Managers

Walmart Turns to VR to Pick Middle Managers
Retailer using virtual reality headsets to gauge workers’ potential and skill level, help determine promotions and pay cuts
By Sarah Nassauer and Chip Cutter June 30, 2019 5:30 am ET
When some Walmart Inc. store workers want to apply for a higher-paying management role, the company fits them with a $250 virtual reality headset to see if they are the right candidate for the job.
The country’s largest private employer is using a VR skills assessment as part of the selection process to find new middle managers, watching how workers respond in virtual reality to an angry shopper, a messy aisle or an underperforming worker.
VR training is becoming more common in a variety of industries to educate a large number of workers quickly or assess the technical ability of high-skilled workers like electricians or pilots. But Walmart’s use of the technology to gauge a worker’s strengths, weaknesses and potential is significant because it pushes VR evalua…

Apple Moves Mac Pro Production to China

Apple Moves Mac Pro Production to China
The $6,000 desktop computer had been the company’s only major device assembled in the U.S.
By Tripp Mickle and Yoko Kubota June 28, 2019 9:32 am ET
Apple Inc. is manufacturing its new Mac Pro computer in China, according to people familiar with its plans, shifting abroad production of what had been its only major device assembled in the U.S. as trade tensions escalate between the Trump administration and Beijing.
The tech giant has tapped Taiwanese contractor Quanta Computer Inc. to manufacture the $6,000 desktop computer and is ramping up production at a factory near Shanghai, the people said. Apple can save on shipping costs for components given the proximity of many of its suppliers to Shanghai, rather than having to supply a factory in the U.S.
While the Mac Pro isn’t one of Apple’s higher-volume products, the decision on where to make it carries outsize significance. Apple’s reliance on factories in China to manufacture its products has be…

Face-Reading AI Will Tell Police When Suspects Are Hiding Truth

Face-Reading AI Will Tell Police When Suspects Are Hiding Truth Ellen Milligan Bloomberg June 29, 2019
(Bloomberg) -- American psychologist Paul Ekman’s research on facial expressions spawned a whole new career of human lie detectors more than four decades ago. Artificial intelligence could soon take their jobs.
While the U.S. has pioneered the use of automated technologies to reveal the hidden emotions and reactions of suspects, the technique is still nascent and a whole flock of entrepreneurial ventures are working to make it more efficient and less prone to false signals.
Facesoft, a U.K. start-up, says it has built a database of 300 million images of faces, some of which have been created by an AI system modeled on the human brain, The Times reported. The system built by the company can identify emotions like anger, fear and surprise based on micro-expressions which are often invisible to the casual observer.
“If someone smiles insincerely, their mouth may smile, but the smile do…

Apple News Underwhelming Publishers

Apple News Underwhelming Publishers
By Tom Dotan June 28, 2019
Apple’s foray into being a platform for premium publishers isn’t off to a great start. This piece from Business Insider, which takes the temperature of participating publishers a few months after Apple News + launched, finds that people are underwhelmed with revenue. One publisher said so far it’s delivered one-twentieth of what Apple projected.
Apple’s promise with the News+ app was to give magazines (and some newspapers like the LA Times) a new revenue source. For a monthly fee, subscribers get access to a wide selection of publications, which split a portion of the subscription fee. Apple’s pitch to publishers was that participation would bring substantial new audiences (and revenue) by letting them tap into iOS’s massive user base.
If the BI report is accurate, it’s not only publishers who are likely to be disappointed. Apple has high hopes riding on the success of its services business—including Apple News+—now that…

The radical idea hiding inside Facebook’s digital currency proposal

The radical idea hiding inside Facebook’s digital currency proposalCryptocurrency exchanges are bracing for their first-ever global regulations.
A powerful intergovernmental agency that polices money laundering is moving forward with new rules meant to deter the criminal use of crypto. International regulations may be needed if crypto is ever to be broadly seen as legitimate outside its community of enthusiasts. But industry insiders are already raising red flags. They warn that the rules could have harmful unintended consequences.
The main source of consternation is a section in the regulations, drafted by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), that requires cryptocurrency exchanges to share information about their users when transferring those users’ funds between one another. This so-called “wire transfer rule” is similar to something that banks that do business in the US must follow, called the “travel rule.”
First proposed in February, FATF’s crypto rules also introduce a new term…

Hackers Strike Another Small Florida City, Demanding Hefty Ransom

Hackers Strike Another Small Florida City, Demanding Hefty Ransom Lake City officials agree to pay $462,000; ‘There are a lot of copycats out there’
Ransomware attackers are hitting both companies and cities with regularity by finding vulnerabilities in their systems, often by sending malicious email attachments.Photo: iStock
ByJon Kamp and Scott CalvertJune 26, 2019 5:04 pm ET
For the second week in a row, a small Florida city has agreed to pay cyber criminals hundreds of thousands of dollars after a ransomware attack crippled city systems. The council in Lake City, a community of about 12,000 people west of Jacksonville, approved during an emergency meeting Monday night a bitcoin payment worth about $462,000 by the city’s insurer. This follows a vote a week earlier in Riviera Beach, a city of about 34,000 near West Palm Beach, in which the council authorized its insurance carrier to pay about $600,000. The hefty tabs are the latest sign of how hackers are hitting cities indiscriminate…

Line just went Orwellian on Japanese users with its social credit scoring system

Line just went Orwellian on Japanese users with its social credit scoring system
By Michael Grothaus June 27, 2019
It appears other countries besides China are heading toward a bleak dystopian future where a human being is scored by their online activities. Only this time, it’s a tech company and not a government implementing the social credit score. While not as bleak as China’s social credit system, today Line, Japan’s dominant social media company, introduced a slew of new products—the most alarming among them, Line Score, reports the Verge.
Line Score will use AI to give a social credit score to Line users. The strength of their social credit score will allow them to get access to better special deals and offers that Line users with lower social credit scores will not have access to. While the new product is unnerving, it’s not completely out of character for Line. Recently the company has been positioning itself as a fintech provider, and its Line Pay digital wallet system is wildly…

Twitter rolls out new guidelines for world leaders that could impact Trump’s tweets

Twitter rolls out new guidelines for world leaders that could impact Trump’s tweetsLauren Feiner June 27, 2019
Key Points ·Twitter will start labeling tweets from influential government officials who break its rules, the company said in a blog post published Thursday. ·Twitter’s new rule will target verified users with more than 100,000 followers who are government officials or running for public office. ·The rule marks a shift in Twitter’s response to how it handles tweets from world leaders. ·Twitter will start labeling tweets from influential government officials who break its rules, the company said in a blog post published Thursday. Shares of Twitter dipped about 1% on the news but recovered slightly.