san francisco


Uber, Google, Facebook: Your experiments have gone too far

Engadget

It was 2014, around the time when Travis Kalanick referred to Uber as his chick-magnet "Boober" in a GQ article, that I'd realized congestion in San Francisco had gone insane. Before there was Uber, getting across town took about ten minutes by car and there was nowhere to park, ever. With Boober in play, there was parking in places there never were spaces, but the streets were so jammed with empty, one-person "gig economy" cars circling, sitting in bus zones, mowing down bicyclists whilst fussing with their phones, still endlessly going nowhere, alone, that walking across the city was faster. To be fair, you wouldn't know there were 5,700 more vehicles a day on our roads if you'd just moved here. Nor if you were pouring Uber-delivered champagne over yourself in a tub of stock options while complaining about San Francisco's homeless from the comfort of your company-rental Airbnb where artists or Mexican families once lived.


Meet the Illustrator Diversifying Airbnb's Image

WIRED

In her first few days working at Airbnb, Jennifer Hom saw that she had her work cut out for her. Hom had been hired as the company's first full-time illustrator, tasked with updating the bubbly cartoon figures spattered throughout the website and app. When she asked her coworkers what they most wanted to change about the illustrations--ones that showed stick-figures holding up cameras, or trading keys to their apartments--it wasn't the inconsistent style that bothered people. It was who the illustrated people looked like. "My coworkers who are underrepresented minorities didn't relate to them at all," she says.


Humans Just Can't Stop Rear-Ending Self-Driving Cars--Let's Figure Out Why

WIRED

The self-driving car crashes that usually make the news are, unsurprisingly, either big and smashy or new and curious. The Apple that got bumped while merging into traffic. The Waymo van that got t-boned. And of course, the Uber that hit and killed a woman crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona in March. Look at every robo-car crash report filed in California, though, and you get a more mundane picture--but one that reveals a striking pattern.


Chipmaker Micron to invest $100 million in artificial intelligence companies

#artificialintelligence

The Idaho-based memory chip maker launched a corporate venture capital program more than a decade ago, but its investments until now had been "very sporadic" and "very close to our core business" of making chips, Sumit Sadana, Micron's chief business officer, told Reuters. The existing venture operation's returns have been solid, but the company believes it can ultimately sell more memory chips by expanding its involvement in artificial intelligence because the field deals with huge amounts of data that need to be stored on its products, he said at Micron's first artificial intelligence conference in San Francisco where it announced the move. Few of Micron's previous investments were ever publicly disclosed. The newly earmarked funds will be invested in both hardware and software startups working on artificial intelligence, Sadana said. Micron has a particular interest in investing in self-driving car technology, augmented and virtual reality, and the technology for automating factories, he said, because the firm already has businesses in those areas.


San Francisco Sweeps Robots out of the Streets

#artificialintelligence

On the look-out for robots and drones, I was rather disappointed when I was recently walking around in San Francisco. Where are those little parts of the future that caused so much backlash over the last few months? Recently, San Francisco was the city where food delivering robots and electronic scooters were taking over the streets. When walking there today, I do not see any of them, so what happened? Because of its role as a playground for new industries, being a start-up hub in the vicinity of Silicon Valley, San Francisco was overwhelmed by new toys of the industry.


The Ick of AI That Impersonates Humans

WIRED

Philip K. Dick was living a few miles north of San Francisco when he wrote Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which envisioned a world where artificially intelligent androids are indistinguishable from humans. The Turing Test has been passed, and it's impossible to know who, or what, to trust. A version of that world will soon be a reality in San Francisco. Google announced this week that Duplex, the company's phone-calling AI, will be rolled out to Pixel phones in the Bay Area and a few other US cities before the end of the year. You might remember Duplex from a shocking demonstration back in May, when Google showed how the software could call a hair salon and book an appointment.


Amazon scraps secret AI recruiting tool that showed bias against women

#artificialintelligence

Inc's (AMZN.O) machine-learning specialists uncovered a big problem: their new recruiting engine did not like women. The team had been building computer programs since 2014 to review job applicants' resumes with the aim of mechanizing the search for top talent, five people familiar with the effort told Reuters. Automation has been key to Amazon's e-commerce dominance, be it inside warehouses or driving pricing decisions. The company's experimental hiring tool used artificial intelligence to give job candidates scores ranging from one to five stars - much like shoppers rate products on Amazon, some of the people said. "Everyone wanted this holy grail," one of the people said.


Microsoft acquires AI startup Lobe to help people make deep learning models without code

#artificialintelligence

Microsoft today announced it has acquired Lobe, creator of a platform for building custom deep learning models using a visual interface that requires no code or technical understanding of AI. Lobe, a platform that can understand hand gestures, read handwriting, and hear music, will continue to develop as a standalone service, according to the company's website. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. People have only started to utilize the full potential of AI, Microsoft CTO Kevin Scott said today in a blog post announcing the acquisition. "This in large part is because AI development and building deep learning models are slow and complex processes even for experienced data scientists and developers.


Freeing up the sales force for selling, listening and automating with AI - SiliconANGLE

#artificialintelligence

Sales strategy and the future of customer engagement is in my DNA. As we all see and know, agility, automation and artificial intelligence is changing the profession rapidly. AI thought leader Rob Thomas, general manager for analytics at IBM Corp., spoke recently in Boston and New York City, including an interview on theCUBE, SiliconANGLE's livestreaming studio. This slide below made me think about the future of leadership and how machines will help us be more productive. As Darwin predicted, we must adopt to survive and thrive.


Robot Restaurants: The Good Versus the Gimmicks

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

The Verdict: The human chefs hired to consult on the menu at Creator seem almost superfluous; their powerful and pungent house sauces overshadow the excellent grass-fed patty, which is ground to order, loosely packed and expertly seared by the machine. With its copper conveyor belts, sculptural blond wooden base and glass tubes stacked with fresh buns and gleaming produce, the burger bot is a marvel of engineering and aesthetics capable of churning out 120 burgers an hour. The room is clean and bright; the sourcing of ingredients is aggressively local. But the real promise of Creator is its value proposition: At $6 a pop, it offers a truly great burger at a fast-food price. The Experience: The first robot-staffed bar in the world, inside the Miracle Mile Shops on the Las Vegas Strip, is a twinkly-lit, garage-chic space.