More than a year after entering the White House, President Trump still has not selected his top science and technology adviser, leaving unfilled a critical policy post that guides the administration on issues as varied as artificial intelligence, climate change and cancer research. While the White House maintains that it is unconstrained in its work -- and has staffed up to tackle such challenges as closing the country's Internet-access gaps -- the vacancy still troubles policy experts, who feel that Trump would be best served by someone who could double as an emissary to the academic and engineering worlds. "Symbolically, it signals science and technology is at the table in the administration's policymaking," said Kumar Garg, who was an innovation policy aide under President Barack Obama. "But also substantively, because the science adviser is the principal who gets invited to senior strategy meetings ... on critical topics like biosecurity, cybersecurity, [and] how do we make sure America remains competitive against China and Russia in emerging technology." Technically, the White House has two major science and technology posts.
It's easy to forget that many of the electronic devices we take for granted are actually made up of tiny components sourced from dozens of companies. But now a merger attempt involving two of the world's largest computer chip makers is drawing renewed attention to that vast commercial ecosystem -- and raising big questions about America's future leadership in the technology sector. Broadcom's possible takeover of Qualcomm provoked a letter to both companies this week from U.S. officials, citing fears that the merger could make it easier for countries such as China to hack or spy on American businesses.
Several people who own Amazon's Echo speakers have reported a strange bug: the Alexa voice assistant has been laughing for no reason. Some users on Twitter and Reddit say the outbursts have been entirely spontaneous. Others have said that Alexa has laughed after being asked to turn on the lights -- and may have misheard the command. "Having an office conversation about pretty confidential stuff and Alexa just laughed," Twitter user @DavidSven wrote recently. "Anybody else ever have that?
SAN FRANCISCO - For nearly a year, Uber and Google parent Alphabet clashed over settling a lawsuit Alphabet filed against the ride-sharing company, according to two people familiar with the discussions. Uber chose to gamble for a victory in court rather than compromise, a choice that led to a high-stakes public trial last week.
BREAKING: Uber and Google's Waymo reached a surprise settlement in a lawsuit over self-driving technology. Uber will give Waymo a small stake in the ride-sharing company in the settlement that was reached on the fifth day of a high-profile lawsuit between the two companies. Uber's CEO in a letter expressed regret for how the company acquired technology at the heart of the lawsuit.