Big Tech &
How Google Protected Andy Rubin, the 'Father of Android' (8 minute read)
This article is about sexual harassment by high level Google executives including Android creator Andy Rubin. Andy Rubin was having an extramarital affair with a woman, who claims that he "coerced" her into oral sex. Google investigated, and felt the claim was credible enough that Larry Page asked Rubin to resign, and gave him a $90 million severance package (Google had approved a $150 million stock grant for him just weeks earlier so this was a bit of a downgrade). Rubin denies that the sex was non-consensual. Rubin had previously had his pay docked for having porn on his work computer. In his 2015 divorce proceedings, his ex-wife provided evidence that he had multiple "ownership relationships" with other women, one of whom he emailed saying "You will be happy being taken care of. Being owned is kinda like you are my property, and I can loan you to other people." Richard Devaul, a director at Google X, told a female interviewee that he and his wife are "polyamorous", and invited her to Burning Man where he asked her for a back rub. She refused, so he settled for an awkward neck rub. She did not get the job. Amit Singhal a senior vice president in charge of search, groped an employee at an off-site event. He resigned and was given an exit package worth millions.
Google's Night Sight for Pixel phones will amaze you (1 minute read)
Google has used algorithms to create night sight, a feature for the Google Pixel that brightens pictures taken in low light settings so that it looks like all of your pictures are well lit. Basically it uses machine learning to replace flash on your camera. There are before and after pictures in the article, and they are seriously incredible.
Driverless Cars Should Spare Young People Over Old in Unavoidable Accidents, Massive Survey Finds (3 minute read)
MIT researchers surveyed 2 million people in 233 countries about who a driverless car should kill if it must make a decision (and tragedy is unavoidable). People generally preferred to save humans over animals, young over old, and more people over fewer (in Asia, they preferred to save the old over the young). People generally preferred to save pedestrians instead of passengers (unless they were jaywalkers). There's a list of made up characters that were ranked, the highest priority characters to save were stroller, girl, and boy, while the lowest priority characters were dog, criminal, and cat (criminals are less popular than dogs and more popular than cats).
Portrait by AI program sells for $432,000 (1 minute read)
A portrait called Portrait of Edmond Belamy painted by an AI created by Paris-based art collective Obvious has been sold for $432,000. It's the first AI generated picture sold by a major auction house, it was sold by Christie's in New York, who had estimated that it would sell for just $7,000-$10,000.
Five Ideas a Day (Newsletter)
There's this service called five ideas a day, which sends out five startup ideas a day. This is a signup link for their newsletter which contains a roundup of the week's best ideas. If you're ever looking for good side project/startup ideas, this is a great starting point!
Uber and Lyft are behind a sharp rise in US traffic deaths (1 minute read)
According to a study from the University of Chicago and Rice University, Uber and Lyft have increased the number of traffic deaths by 2-3% since 2011, about 1,100 fatalities a year. This is because drivers spend 40-60% of their time driving aimlessly while searching for passengers. Traffic deaths hit a 60-year low in 2010, but the trend reversed as Uber and Lyft gained popularity (there is a bump whenever Uber and Lyft enter a new city). Researchers say it "may be too soon to tell whether the effect we document is a short-term adjustment or a longer-term pattern."
Amazon-Backed Smart Glasses For $1,000: First Look (3 minute video)
This is a demo video for smart glasses called Focals made by an Amazon and YCombinator backed startup called North. The glasses look pretty stylish and a bit hipsterish (the frames are on the thicker side, but they're definitely glasses that you would see people wearing without thinking twice). It does basically anything an Apple Watch can do, like check the weather, read text messages, call an Uber or use Alexa which is built in. Information is displayed using tiny bits of light, and it will look to you like there is text floating roughly an arm's length in front of your face. The only thing that seems clunky is that it isn't voice activated, you have to wear this ring which has a joystick to let you activate and control Focals. You can get them with a prescription, and they cost $1,000 (they'll be available by the end of the year).