The Senate parliamentarian ruled Thursday that the provision to increase the minimum wage to $15/hour cannot be included in the broader $1.9 trillion COVID relief package. Why it matters: It's now very likely that any increase in the minimum wage will need bipartisan support, as the provision cannot be passed with the simple Senate majority that Democrats are aiming to use for President Biden's rescue bill.
By Craig S. Smith I wake up in the middle of the night. "Hey, Google, what's the temperature in Zone 2," I say into the darkness. A disembodied voice responds: "The temperature in Zone 2 is 52 degrees." "Set the heat to 68," I say, and then I ask the gods of artificial intelligence to turn on the light. Many of us already live with AI, an array of unseen algorithms that control our Internet-connected devices, from smartphones to security cameras and cars that heat the seats before you've even stepped out of the house on a frigid morning.
This week's biggest story continues to be the Perseverance rover. NASA's latest space robot has brought another Linux device to Mars, and is already sending back some impressive pictures. We'll have to wait a little longer for HD video and the first drone flight -- beware of fake videos circulating on social media -- but next week should be even better. Until then you can always catch up on WandaVision's bite-size episodes, and make sure you stick around after the credits start to roll. Blizzard's online-only convention is going on this weekend, and the opening keynotes provided plenty of info about upcoming games.
It seems inevitable that robots will have a big role in the construction industry, but until these machines can automatically prioritize tasks, project managers will still need to manually assess and appraise how the project is progressing. The best telepresence hardware to go beyond video conferencing and make remote work truly collaborative. However, the construction industry's productivity has trailed that of other sectors for decades, and there is a $1.6 trillion opportunity to close the gap, according to a McKinsey report. AI and deep learning can make robotics useful across the construction industry. Now, Israel-based AI startup Buildots has been taking its first steps to make this happen.
Back in 2018, Elon Musk's SpaceX put the first car in space. A flurry of press releases suggest that the (surely simpler?) race to put cars -- and carmakers -- into the cloud is far from over. Last week, Volkswagen Group jumped into Microsoft's Azure cloud to "accelerate the development of automated driving." But the company is also a fan of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and previously announced a relationship with Azure back in 2018. Earlier this month, Ford picked Google as its preferred (but not only) cloud.
The line between humans and robots is blurred. You're on a mission either to hack into a corporation and steal its secret plans, or to advance those agendas on behalf of a powerful conglomerate. This is the plot of Android: Netrunner, a card game we've both played dozens of times during the pandemic, and neither of us is done getting vengeance on our opponent. After long days staring at our respective computer screens, we look forward to sitting down for a game where hackers install programs to access corporate servers. Even though the game went out of print in 2018, a fan group called Project NISEI has kept the enthusiasm alive by organizing tournaments and even designing and printing new cards that fans can add to their existing sets. A selling point of Netrunner is its inclusivity, which contrasts with many games that tend to feature American cities and characters that appear largely white and cis-gendered.
At a moment when vaccines promise to end the coronavirus pandemic, emerging new variants threaten to accelerate it. The astonishingly fast development of safe and effective vaccines is being stymied by the glacial pace of actual vaccinations while 3,000 Americans die each day. Minimizing death and suffering from COVID-19 requires vaccinating the most vulnerable Americans first and fast, but the vaccine rollout has been slow and inequitable. Prioritization algorithms have led to the most privileged being prioritized over the most exposed, and strict adherence to priority pyramids has been disastrously slow. Yet without prioritization, vaccines go to those with greatest resources rather than to those at greatest risk.
It's hard to focus on the nitty gritty of tech policy when the world is on fire. Take, for example, his fight against Big Tech in the name of "anti-conservative bias" (no, it doesn't exist), which resulted in an assault on Section 230. Experts say the true aim of those efforts was to undermine content moderation, and normalize the white supremacist attitudes that helped put people like Trump in power. Unfortunately, those allegations will have life for years to come as a form of "zombie Trumpism," as Berin Szoka, a senior fellow at the technology policy organization TechFreedom, put it. Trump may be gone from office and Twitter.
In the US, today is Inauguration Day, and as Joe Biden prepares to take the oath as our 46th president, it's worth taking a look back at the discussions four years ago. Back then, the "most tech-savvy" president exited as all eyes turned to Donald Trump trading in his Android Twitter machine for a secure device. We know how things went after that. Donald Trump isn't tweeting anymore (at least not from his main accounts), and the country is struggling through a pandemic. The outgoing president just saw his temporary YouTube ban extended and, in one of his last official acts, pardoned Anthony Levandowski for stealing self-driving car secrets from Google's subsidiary Waymo.
The edge of a network, as you may know, is the furthest extent of its reach. A cloud platform is a kind of network overlay that makes multiple network locations part of a single network domain. It should therefore stand to reason that an edge cloud is a single addressable, logical network at the furthest extent of a physical network. And an edge cloud on a global scale should be a way to make multiple, remote data centers accessible as a single pool of resources -- of processors, storage, and bandwidth. The combination of 5G and edge computing will unleash new capabilities from real-time analytics to automation to self-driving cars and trucks.