The judge in the $1.86 billion legal battle between ride-hailing giant Uber and Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo case, released a damning letter based on the account of a former Uber employee. The letter alleges that a special division within Uber was responsible for acts of corporate espionage, the theft of trade secrets, the bribery of foreign officials and various means of unlawful surveillance.
The company solicited undercover agents to collect intelligence against the taxi groups and local political figures. The agents took rides in local taxis, loitered around locations where taxi drivers congregated, and leveraged a local network of contacts with connections to police and regulatory authorities..
The “Jacobs letter” was written by the attorney for Richard Jacobs, who previously worked as Uber’s manager of global intelligence before being fired in April. The highly detailed account brings about accusations of systematic illegal activity inside Uber’s Strategic Services Group (SSG) which allegedly sought to surface other companies’ trade secrets through eavesdropping and data collection. The letter alleges that some of the information gathered was relayed to then-CEO Travis Kalanick.
The trial has been delayed until February 2018 to give the Waymo legal team more time to investigate claims Jacob’s claims.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, has stepped forward with one of the first legal challenges to the commission’s controversial vote. In a open letter to the FCC
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wrote that his office pursued an investigated the incident, but that the FCC basically ignored all of its requests for cooperation. Schneiderman declared his office’s intention to sue to “stop the FCC’s illegal rollback of net neutrality”.
The New York City Council yesterday passed legislation seeking to address problems with Algorithms which can determine which school a child can attend, whether a person will be offered credit from a bank, what products are advertised to consumer, and whether someone will receive an interview for a job. Government officials also use them to predict where crimes will take place, who is likely to commit a crime and whether someone should be allowed out of jail on bail. The algorithms used in facial recognition technology, for example, have been shown to be less accurate on Black people, women, and juveniles.
The new bill seeking the signature of Mayor Bill de Blasio. States:
This bill would require the creation of a task force that provides recommendations on how information on agency automated decision systems may be shared with the public and how agencies may address instances where people are harmed by agency automated decision systems.
The task force would need to be formed within three months of the bill’s signing, and importantly it must include “persons with expertise in the areas of fairness, accountability and transparency relating to automated decision systems and persons affiliated with charitable corporations that represent persons in the city affected by agency automated decision systems.”
The New York division of the ACLU has argued in favor of it.
The apps dubbed “appsperiments” are available on both the iOS App Store and Google Play. The three apps in question are called Storyboard, Selfissimo!, and Scrubbies.
The first, Storyboard, turns videos into single-page comic layouts on your device. Turning photos into images inspired by art – including comic book art – is something that grew popular with the launch of the A.I.-powered editing app Prisma.
Selfissimo! (iOS, Android) is an automated selfie photographer that snaps a stylish black and white photo each time you pose. Tap the screen to start a photoshoot. The app encourages you to pose and captures a photo whenever you stop moving. Tap again to end the session and review the resulting contact sheet, saving individual images or the entire shoot.
Scrubbies (iOS) allows you to easily manipulate the speed and direction of video playback to produce lovely video loops that highlight actions, capture funny faces, and replay moments. You can shoot a video in the app and then remix it by scratching it like a DJ.
MIT engineers have devised a 3-D printing technique that uses a new kind of ink made from genetically programmed living cells. Photo: Courtesy of MIT/the researchers
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed “living ink” tattoos, which contain genetically programmable living cells. When cells are exposed to different chemicals or molecular compounds, they react, causing parts of the tattoo to light up.
The tattoo is made up of bacteria cells, which the researchers were able to 3D print into the shape of a tree.
Each branch of that tree is sensitive to a different reactor, and when the tattoo is placed on skin that has also been exposed to that same reactor (like a certain chemical), the corresponding branch lights up. They can become wearable sensors.
Amazon has been granted a patent for drone technology that allows the craft to strategically self-destruct in the event of an emergency.
A patent granted to Amazon reveal a self-destructing drone that is able to strategically disassemble in the air during an emergency to mitigate any potential damage from an otherwise fully-formed delivery drone, or as the patent describes it, “direct fragmentation for unmanned airborne vehicles.”
While programming a self-destruct sequence may seem like a curious safety feature, having a crashing drone break into pieces before impact can reduce the chances for significant property damage or injury to people on the ground. The feature would use the onboard computing system to analyze conditions to determine the best course of action.
Amazon has big plans for its delivery drones that don’t involve ripping themselves apart in mid-air. The company was granted a patent in mid-October to allow drones to recharge electric vehicles, which would effectively give the world its first commercial roving fueling stations.
Facebook, is deploying drone technology to beam the internet to underserved areas, like rural regions around the world and even disaster-stricken places, which could allow enhanced communication for those who need it most. Another drone could similarly deliver much-needed help in a pinch by flying Automated External Defibrillators (AED) directly to the scene of an emergency, long before EMS crews would be able to arrive.