Big Tech &
WhatsApp Cofounder Brian Acton Gives The Inside Story On #DeleteFacebook And Why He Left $850 Million Behind (10 minute read)
Under pressure from Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg to monetize WhatsApp, WhatsApp cofounder Brian Acton pushed back against inserting targeted advertising and surveillance into WhatsApp. Eventually Brian felt the only choice was to leave the company, walking away from $850 million in unvested stock options. "It was like, okay, well, you want to do these things I don't want to do," Acton says. "It's better if I get out of your way. And I did...At the end of the day, I sold my company. I sold my users' privacy to a larger benefit. I made a choice and a compromise. And I live with that every day." Now Brian donated $50 million to and is actively working on Signal, a free messaging service with end-to-end encryption and no ad platform: basically a new, idealized version of WhatsApp. He's also put $1 billion into supporting healthcare in impoverished areas of the U.S. as well as early childhood development. This March, while the Cambridge Analytica scandal was breaking, he tweeted "It is time. #deletefacebook." He hasn't tweeted since. Great article, definitely worth reading if you have time.
Hyperconsole (Web Tool)
Are Delivery Drones Commercially Viable? Iceland Is About to Find Out (2 minute read)
Icelandic startup Aha is using drones to deliver hot food, groceries, and electronics to households in Iceland's capital city of Reykjavik. The crazy part is that they don't have any cameras, radars, or other imaging systems; they are literally just flying by GPS coordinates along routes that have been certified to be free of trees, buildings, and other tall structures. They've completed over 500 deliveries over 5 months with no injuries. You just enter your order into the Aha app, and Aha's cook loads the food onto the drone. Then you track the delivery, go outside to meet it, and agree to accept it. Then the drone lowers your food on a line and buzzes home. Delivery is around US $7, and can be much faster than delivery drivers.
Alibaba Is Introducing a Hotel Room Service Robot Next Month (2 minute read)
Alibaba is releasing a robot to deliver food and laundry to hotel guests. It will be slightly under one meter tall and moves at a speed of up to one meter per second. Guests can interact with the robot using voice commands, as well as touch and hand gestures. Responses are powered by Alibaba’s personal assistant, AliGenie. If the release is successful, the robot may be rolled out to hospitals, restaurants and offices.
Oculus Quest (8 minute video)
This is a video of Mark Zuckerberg announcing Oculus Quest, a wireless All in One VR headset with touch controllers shipping next spring for $399. There will be 50+ games available at launch.