Big Tech &
Skydio R1 autonomous drone gains Apple Watch control, now in Apple Stores (2 minute read)
Skydio is essentially the autonomous drone version of a GoPro. It's a drone with a camera attached, and all you have to do is select a picture of the person you want it to follow on your Apple Watch, and it will zoom around and follow that person and capture them on video. It's being sold in select US and Canadian Apple stores for $1999, there's a Youtube video of this thing in action in the article.
Did Uber Steal Google's Intellectual Property? (20 minute read)
Anthony Levandowski, once a top exec in Google's self driving car program left to start his own autonomous truck company called Ottomotto in January 2016. A month later, the company was acquired by Uber for $600 million. Google needed a way to stop the deal, so they fished around Levandowski's old workplace activities. He had downloaded fourteen thousand files, including hardware schematics, transferred them to an external drive. Waymo (Google's new self-driving division) sued Uber in February of 2018 for stealing trade secrets. However, Levandowski's 14000 files weren't as damning as they seemed, the files were so unimportant Google had considered storing them outside of the company's own servers. Levandowski had been unpopular at Google, and was unpopular at Uber as well, he was fired soon after the case started, and Uber stated to the Jury "Uber regrets ever bringing Anthony Levandowski on board. All Uber has to show for Anthony Levandowski is this lawsuit." Even worse for Google, if they lost the case, the court might unseal the records and cause all the trade secrets to fall into the public domain. They had to settle for about $250 million in stock. What Google did get is now a fear that any employees that leave Waymo might find themselves the target of a lawsuit. Uber is still working on autonomous cars. Levandowski is considering starting another self-driving truck company.
A robot presented evidence about artificial intelligence to a British Parliament committee (2 minute read)
Pepper, the resident robot at Middlesex University, talked to Parliament about the future of AI providing care to the elderly. Pepper said "Good morning, chair, thank you for inviting me to give evidence today. Assistive intelligent robots for older people could relieve pressure in hospitals, in care homes, as well as improve the care delivery at home and promote the independent living for the elderly people." Middlesex University's dean of science and technology says "A traditional view of robots is that they will automate simple, repetitive tasks on a production line. The development of robots like Pepper shows that robots may well be integrated into more social settings."
Responder (Open Source)
This is a Python web server framework by Kenneth Reitz (the author of the excellent Python requests library). It comes with a lot of nice stuff out of the box like GraphQL support, SPA support, and built in OpenAPI schema generation.
I switched to DuckDuckGo, the privacy-focused alternative to Google search that doesn't track your data — and I'm not sure it was worth it (5 minute read)
A journalist tried out DuckDuckGo for a week. He liked that DDG had less ads, and that the quality of the search results seemed to be as good as Google. However, there's always this nagging feeling that Google is the best and he found himself double checking with Google at times even if he got good results. He missed Google's "Top Stories" feature that gives you little cards of top news stories, and Google's spell check. He says he wished DDG had more pages of results, and that he often visited the third or fourth page of Google's results. Overall, he liked the sense of privacy, but little things about Google made him want to go back. If you haven't tried DDG this article is probably worth taking a look at.
Programming, Design & Data Science
No TLDR Originals for 2018-10-18