When Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg posted a status update Wednesday on the still-unfolding Cambridge Analytica scandal, he called it an "issue," a "mistake" and a "breach of trust." But he didn't say it was a data breach. Ever since the news broke this weekend that the U.K. firm Cambridge Analytica obtained information about 50 million Facebook users without their knowledge, the social media site has been carefully avoiding using those words. Executives are profusely apologizing but stopping short of characterizing the situation as a data breach -- a phrase that brings to mind images of hacker frantically typing in a dark room or stolen credit card numbers being shared online. Facebook has 1.4 billion daily users it doesn't want to scare off with the "data breach" characterization.
The death of an Arizona woman who was struck by one of Uber's self-driving cars appears to be the first ever pedestrian fatality involving an autonomous vehicle. An Uber spokesperson confirmed to TIME that the incident occurred Sunday night in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe and that no passengers were in the backseat. Uber said there was one vehicle operator in the front seat at the time of the collision. The company says it's suspending its self-driving operations in Phoenix, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto as a result. In a statement, the Tempe Police Department confirmed the vehicle involved was one of Uber's driverless cars and that it was in autonomous mode at the time of the accident.
Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference, or WWDC, will begin on June 4, the company recently announced. WWDC is one of Apple's biggest events of the year, giving it a chance to preview what's in store for gadgets from the iPhone to the Mac and beyond. The headlining news is usually a look at the next version of Apple's iPhone and iPad software, called iOS. Apple typically uses WWDC to show off the new features coming to the iPhone and iPad in the following months. But Apple may take a different approach this year, focusing less on flashy new features and more on performance upgrades.
So when the three co-founders of Dubai-based Derq, a traffic-safety startup, need to get to the carmaking capital of the U.S., they take a connecting flight on Air France through Paris or on Emirates through Boston. That typically means a four-leg, 32-hour round-trip for at least one of them once a month. It would be unthinkable for the startup, which uses artificial intelligence to predict and prevent car accidents, not to have a presence in the Motor City. So after securing a $1.5 million round of funding in October, the company opened a satellite office in Detroit. But although two of Derq's three co-founders were educated in the U.S., they aren't interested in basing their whole operation there.
It turns out that Amazon's Alexa does indeed think something is funny. After days of reports that users of the Amazon Echo and other devices with Amazon's Alexa voice-activated assistant were experiencing random Alexa laughing fits, Amazon confirmed the problem Wednesday. "We're aware of this and working to fix it," an Amazon spokesperson told The Verge. Reports of the laughing Alexas first surfaced last month when one Twitter user reported on an Echo Dot that randomly started laughing without being prompted. Another Twitter user said an Echo whistled without prompting.
Apple may have gotten a head start on virtual assistants when Siri arrived on the iPhone 4s back in 2011. But rivals Amazon and Google have a big lead when it comes to smart assistants for your home, thanks to their Amazon Echo and Google Home devices. Not to be left out, Apple is entering the voice-activated home assistant arena with the HomePod, a Siri-enabled smart speaker that's available now for $349. Apple is hoping to make the HomePod stand out by positioning it as high-end audio gear with artificial intelligence, rather than a simple home assistant. The HomePod largely succeeds in that regard, but it's not without a few drawbacks.
Some Amazon Alexa users were met with deafening silence Friday, with the voice-controlled digital assistant going down across the U.S. According to Downdetector.com, a website that monitors technology outages and service interruptions, issues with Alexa began after 9:30 a.m. Users reported issues with Alexa's voice recognition service on either Amazon Echo devices or third party electronics that run Alexa, reports The Verge. However, users were able to access the digital assistant through Alexa app, notes TechCrunch. The outage appears to be impacting fewer people than earlier in the day, according to Downdetector.com. However, those with mute virtual assistants have been forced to perform mundane tasks like turn on lights, look up the weather, play music, or call friends the old-fashioned way.
If Google made one point at this year's CES conference, it was that it's putting the Google Assistant in all sorts of devices, from TVs to speakers, in an effort to oust Amazon's Alexa as the most important digital helper in your home. Now, the Google Assistant is coming to yet another home device: the Nest Cam IQ indoor security camera.