Facing sexism charges, Uber says Eric Holder will investigate


Uber Technologies scrambled on Monday to counter the sexism charges raised by a former employee, and said it would appoint former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to the panel that would investigate allegations by the engineer that the company mishandled her complaint of sexual harassment. The company, which did not release diversity data when asked by civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, also said Monday that 15.1 percent of its employees in engineering, product management, and scientist roles are women and this has not changed substantively in the last year. In an email to employees that was also circulated to media, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick wrote that he and Liane Hornsey, chief human resources officer, will be working to publish a broader diversity report for Uber in the coming months. In her blog post, the engineer, Susan J. Fowler, has said that there had been an exodus of women in the group she worked in because of the discrimination against women and politics in the upper management, resulting in women constituting 3 percent of the 150 site reliability engineers at the time of her quitting her job in December last year from 25 percent in November 2015 when she joined Uber. Holder and his partner Tammy Albarran at the law firm Covington & Burling will be joined by Arianna Huffington, who sits on Uber's board, Hornsey, and Angela Padilla, the company's associate general counsel for an "independent review into the specific issues relating to the work place environment" raised by Fowler, Kalanick wrote.

Chan Zuckerberg Initiative hires top Uber advisor David Plouffe

Los Angeles Times

First he advised President Obama. Now, political bigwig David Plouffe is headed for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the philanthropic organization founded by pediatrician Priscilla Chan and her husband, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg. Plouffe, until recently a senior advisor to San Francisco ride-hailing giant Uber, will remain a board member at the firm while leading the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative's policy and advocacy effort. "Mark and Priscilla have built a great team, and I am honored to join them," Plouffe wrote on his Facebook page on Tuesday. "As the President of Chan Zuckerberg Initiative Policy and Advocacy, my job will be to find creative ways to lift the voices of those who want to build a better future -- no matter where they live, their background or their ideology."

A Perfect Storm at Uber

The New Yorker

When Susan Fowler, a Bay Area-based writer and engineer who until recently worked for Uber, published a blog post on her personal Web site last week, the piece, which detailed a pattern of gender discrimination at the car-hailing company, quickly went viral. Among the experiences Fowler described in "Reflecting on One Very, Very Strange Year at Uber" were communications with a sexually inappropriate and vindictive manager, and the company's failure to respond properly to Fowler's reports of his misconduct. As the problems persisted, Fowler wrote, and she was prevented from moving teams and from being promoted, she reported every infraction to H.R. This later led an H.R. representative to ask whether Fowler had considered that she herself might be the issue--a comment that Fowler also diligently noted. Fowler has little to gain from publicly confronting Uber, and plenty to lose; she was brave to speak out. As a result of her allegations, more bad behavior at Uber has been exposed, and Travis Kalanick, the company's C.E.O., has tasked a small council, led by the former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, with investigating the charges.

Hate automatic software updates? You're not alone

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Criminals use ransomware to extort money from individual users and big businesses. A window announcing the encryption of data including a requirement to pay appears on an electronic timetable display at the railway station in Chemnitz, eastern Germany, on May 12, 2017. A fast-moving wave of cyberattacks swept the globe, apparently exploiting a flaw exposed in documents leaked from the US National Security Agency. Affected by the onslaught were computer networks at hospitals in Britain, Russia's interior ministry, the Spanish telecom giant Telefonica, the US delivery firm FedEx, German railway operator Deutsche Bahn and many other organizations. SAN FRANCISCO – Grit your teeth and let your computer update itself.

Cloud-AI in the Non-Profit and Healthcare Industries


I t wasn't long ago that technology was a topic only discussed among techies. In fact, technology was an elective course in many graduate school programs until very recently. Today, technology is part of our daily lives so it's not surprising that technology is very much a part of any industry. It's also not surprising to see the direction technology has taken. It has evolved from a way to communicate with each other and store important information, to a way to interact with each other, express ourselves and manage our lives. The drive to monetize our personal information for the purpose of creating the latest and greatest target marketing algorithm has paved the way for artificial intelligence or AI. Google was a pioneer and early adopter of this type of AI, gathering information about our interest based on our searches and pairing businesses and products we would likely use. It is this type of AI that brings customers to businesses like an arranged marriage. Collection of data through cloud-based applications originally created for business solutions slowly evolved for consumer convenience for everything from banking to entertainment. Amassing raw data to create solutions for everyday activities helped to speed the process of AI for the birth of AI. Had we not partaken in taking information once only saved on our desktops and placing it on cloud servers, AI may not have evolved into the presence of daily life today. Years ago, reluctance and lack of understanding of how digital information is used kept many people who are not computer savvy from partaking in this community. Today, thanks to companies like Facebook and Amazon, people readily share their information with companies with a basic trust that the information will only be used for the purpose intended. This is why, even though the information is occasionally breached, we are so willing to join communities like Citizens app and Waze which use crowd sourcing for the collective purpose of helping each of its participants. Crowd sourcing applications can then place ads as a form of revenue, though not all do. This rather invasive, though passive, business model hones in on our inherent need to share information in order to benefit from the information shared by others.