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Autonomous driving remains a distant reality in Japan

The Japan Times

Japan is pushing for 50 locations with driverless services in place within three years, but fully autonomous vehicles remain nearly nonexistent in the country. So far, Fukui Prefecture is the only place with vehicles featuring level-4 capabilities -- defined when they can handle all driving tasks -- but only under specific conditions with the option for humans to take over. In the town of Eiheiji, the seven-seater golf carts are only allowed to navigate a 2 kilometer course. The limited availability of autonomous driving in Japan stands in stark contrast to the U.S. and China, where robotaxis already roam the streets in some cities. Waymo, backed by Google parent Alphabet, and General Motor's Cruise are testing driverless taxi services in San Francisco.

Biden raises campaign cash in the Bay Area as GOP hopefuls gather in Simi Valley

Los Angeles Times

As Republican presidential candidates flocked to Southern California for a debate and the state GOP convention this week, President Biden was busy in the San Francisco Bay Area collecting campaign checks and painting the election as a choice between MAGA chaos and functioning government. During three fundraising events in some of the swankiest neighborhoods of Silicon Valley and San Francisco on Tuesday and Wednesday, Biden touted his administration's accomplishments on climate and infrastructure, the United States' support for Ukraine and opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin and his appointment of the first Black woman to the Supreme Court. As Wednesday's GOP presidential debate at the Reagan library made clear, the Republican Party has moved a long way from Reaganism. Despite that progress for the Democratic Party, Biden said he was running for reelection because "democracy is still at stake" in next year's election, a likely rematch with former President Trump, who has surged ahead in Republican primary polls. "Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans are determined to destroy this democracy," Biden said during a private fundraising event Tuesday evening at the Atherton mansion of Democratic donors and philanthropists Liz Simons and Mark Heising in San Francisco.

This New Autonomous Drone for Cops Can Track You In the Dark


Nearly 1,500 US police departments operate drones but only about a dozen routinely dispatch them in response to 911 calls, according to ACLU research. Drone maker Skydio aims to see that change, with a new model launched last week called the X10. The goal, cofounder and CEO Adam Bry said during a launch event last week in San Francisco, is to "get drones everywhere they can be useful in public safety." The new drone is capable of flying at speeds of 45 miles per hour and is small enough to fit into the trunk of a police car. It has infrared sensors that can be used to track people and fly autonomously in the dark.

Netanyahu talks to Elon Musk in California about anti-Semitism on X

Al Jazeera

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is starting a US trip in California to talk about technology and artificial intelligence with billionaire businessman Elon Musk. The Israeli leader posted Monday on Musk's social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter, that he plans to talk with the Tesla CEO "about how we can harness the opportunities and mitigate the risks of AI for the good of civilization." Netanyahu's high-profile visit to the San Francisco Bay Area comes at a time when Musk is facing accusations of tolerating anti-Semitic messages on his social media platform, while Netanyahu is confronting political opposition at home and abroad. Protesters gathered early Monday outside the Fremont, California factory where Tesla makes its cars. The video livestream kicked off shortly before 9:30am with Netanyahu and the Tesla CEO.

Businesses need pricing clarity as generative AI services hit the market


There needs to be clarity around how exactly generative artificial intelligence (AI) will be charged, as market players rush to push out their offerings and businesses look to avoid bill shock. Transparency around the usage and commercial model is something organizations are asking for, so they can avoid escalating hidden costs, said Tim Dillon, founder and director of Tech Research Asia. There is general concern they will experience bill shock from a consumption-based model, similar to how some had to deal with this challenge during the early days of cloud, he noted. It is something vendors such as Salesforce will have to figure out as they ramp up their generative AI service offerings, said Dillon in an interview with ZDNET, on the sidelines of Dreamforce 2023 held in San Francisco this week. The adoption of these tools can grow organically within an organization and, hence, can lead to a lack of control and awareness of their consumption.

Exclusive: California Bill Proposes Regulating AI at State Level

TIME - Tech

A senior California lawmaker will introduce a new artificial intelligence (AI) bill to the state's senate on Wednesday, adding to national and global efforts to regulate the fast-accelerating technology. Although there are several attempts in Congress to draft AI legislation, the state of California--home to Silicon Valley, where most of the world's top AI companies are based--has a role to play in setting guardrails on the industry, according to state Senator Scott Wiener, (D--San Francisco) who drafted the bill. "In an ideal world we would have a strong federal AI regulatory scheme," Wiener said in an interview with TIME on Tuesday, adding that he supports attempts in Congress and the White House to regulate the technology. "But California has a history of acting when the federal government is moving either too slowly or not acting." He added: "We need to get ahead of these risks, not do what we've done in the past around social media or other technology, where we do nothing before it's potentially too late."

Sundar Pichai on Google's AI, Microsoft's AI, OpenAI, and … Did We Mention AI?


Earlier this month, Sundar Pichai was struggling to write a letter to Alphabet's 180,000 employees. The 51-year-old CEO wanted to laud Google on its 25th birthday, which could have been easy enough. Alphabet's stock market value was around $1.7 trillion. Its vast cloud-computing operation had turned its first profit. Its self-driving cars were ferrying people around San Francisco. And then there was the usual stuff--Google Search still dominated the field, as it had for every minute of this century.

News Corp CEO Robert Thomson challenges AI-generated content's left-wing bias, accuracy

FOX News

New York attorney and writer Alexander Zubatov weighs in on how A.I. is rapidly changing society and says he's concerned about A.I. being used as a weapon against descent on'The Ingraham Angle.' News Corp CEO Robert Thomson blasted the left-wing bias and inaccuracies spewed out by AI generated content -- calling it "rubbish in, rubbish out" -- even as he warned the technology threatens to kill thousands more jobs across the news industry. Left-leaning media giants that dominate the news business have churned out stories for years that are not only riddled with errors, but also written with a left-wing slant. "People have to understand that AI is essentially retrospective," the media executive said during an appearance at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia and Technology Conference in San Francisco on Thursday. WHAT IS ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)? AI (Artificial Intelligence) letters and robot hand are placed on computer motherboard in this illustration taken on June 23, 2023.

'Robo-Taxi Takeover' Hits Speed Bumps

Scientific American: Technology

Self-driving cars are hitting city streets like never before. In August the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) granted two companies, Cruise and Waymo, permits to run fleets of driverless robo taxis 24/7 in San Francisco and to charge passengers fares for those rides. This was just the latest in a series of green lights that have allowed progressively more leeway for autonomous vehicles (AVs) in the city in recent years. Almost immediately, widely publicized accounts emerged of Cruise vehicles behaving erratically. One blocked the road outside a large music festival, another got stuck in wet concrete and another even collided with a fire truck.

OpenAI announces first developer conference: Everything we know so far


ChatGPT-maker OpenAI is hosting its first developer conference, OpenAI DevDay, in San Francisco on November 6. The event will allow developers to discuss ideas and get a first look at new OpenAI tools and technologies. OpenAI's technical staff will lead breakout sessions during the one-day event for those who attend in person. OpenAI says DevDay will feature a keynote address but leaves many details surrounding the event's itinerary and location undisclosed. DevDay is a primarily in-person event, but those who cannot attend can stream the keynote address online.