Friday, June 22, 2018

Apple Opens New Front Against Qualcomm: the Patent Office -- Bloomberg

Challenge different
"The two are locked in a bitter fight over the amount of royalties Apple’s suppliers should pay to use Qualcomm’s technology on telecommunications. Billions of dollars are at stake. A hearing in one case is under way at the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, and trials are scheduled for later this year in China and Germany.

Apple wants the patent office to cancel four Qualcomm patents, saying they don’t cover new ideas. All are part of a patent-infringement lawsuit Qualcomm filed in 2017 against Apple in federal court in California."
Apple Opens New Front Against Qualcomm: the Patent Office -- Bloomberg

Facebook expands its fact-checking tools but says its work ‘will never be finished’ -- The Washington Post

Also see Increasing Our Efforts to Fight False News (Facebook Newsroom)
"In a company blog, Facebook acknowledged that fake news reports and doctored content have increasingly become image-based in some countries, making it harder for readers to discern whether a photo or video related to a news event is authentic. The company said it has expanded its fact-checking of traditional links posted on Facebook to photos and videos. Partnering with third-party experts trained in visual verification, the company will also flag images that have been posted on Facebook in a misleading context, such as, for example, a photo of a previous natural disaster or shooting that is displayed as a present-day event.

Facebook will also use machine-learning tools to identify duplicates of debunked stories that continue to pop up on the network. The company said that more than a billion pictures, links, videos and messages are uploaded to the social platform everyday, making fact-checking difficult to execute by human review. The automated tools will help the company find domains and links that are spreading the same claims that have already been proved false. Facebook has said it will use AI to limit misinformation, but the latest update applies to finding duplicates of false claims."
Facebook expands its fact-checking tools but says its work ‘will never be finished’ -- The Washington Post

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Why Apple’s AirPower Wireless Charger Is Taking So Long to Make -- Bloomberg

Charge different
"The AirPower charger is also more advanced than the current competition because it includes a custom Apple chip running a stripped down version of the iOS mobile operating system to conduct on-device power management and pairing with devices. Apple engineers have also been working to squash bugs related to the on-board firmware, according to the people familiar. They asked not to be identified discussing a product that hasn’t been released yet.
[...]
Apple designers eventually hope to remove most of the external ports and buttons on the iPhone, including the charger, according to people familiar with the company’s work. During the development of the iPhone X, Apple weighed removing the wired charging system entirely. That wasn’t feasible at the time because wireless charging was still slower than traditional methods. Including a wireless charger with new iPhones would also significantly raise the price of the phones."
Why Apple’s AirPower Wireless Charger Is Taking So Long to Make --  Bloomberg

Jack Dorsey's Twitter, Square Are Both on the Verge of Doubling This Year -- Bloomberg

In other tech CEO news, see Mark Zuckerberg Is on the Brink of Being Richer Than Warren Buffett (Bloomberg)
"In 2018, it pays to be on Jack Dorsey’s side.

Square Inc. and Twitter Inc., which both count the tech titan as chief executive officer, are on the brink of boasting 100 percent gains this year. The firms are now worth more than $62 billion combined, surpassing the market value of Tesla Inc.

In the past, investors have expressed skepticism about Dorsey’s ability to effectively run both companies at the same time. It seems some shareholders have put those concerns on the backburner."
Jack Dorsey's Twitter, Square Are Both on the Verge of Doubling This Year -- Bloomberg

Is There a Smarter Path to Artificial Intelligence? Some Experts Hope So -- NYT

Elsewhere in this AI reality check: Prolog is back...
"There are other hopeful signs in the beyond-deep-learning camp. Vicarious, a start-up developing robots that can quickly switch from task to task like humans, published promising research in the journal Science last fall. Its A.I. technology learned from relatively few examples to mimic human visual intelligence, using data 300 times more efficiently than deep learning models. The system also broke through the defenses of captchas, the squiggly letter identification tests on websites meant to foil software intruders.

Vicarious, whose investors include Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, is a prominent example of the entrepreneurial pursuit of new paths in A.I.

“Deep learning has given us a glimpse of the promised land, but we need to invest in other approaches,” said Dileep George, an A.I. expert and co-founder of Vicarious, which is based in Union City, Calif."
Is There a Smarter Path to Artificial Intelligence? Some Experts Hope So -- NYT

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Name C.E.O. for Health Initiative -- NYT

That's going to be an extensive checklist manifesto...
"Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase, the powerful triumvirate that earlier announced its hope to overhaul the health care of its employees and set an example for the nation, said on Wednesday that it had picked one of the country’s most famous doctors to lead the new operation.

Dr. Atul Gawande, a Harvard surgeon and staff writer for The New Yorker magazine, will become chief executive of the new company, which will be based in Boston, on July 9. He said he was not stepping down from his current medical and other duties to take the job."
Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Name C.E.O. for Health Initiative -- NYT

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Facebook takes another shot at grabbing social media stars from YouTube -- CNBC

See Helping Creators Connect, Create and Grow (Facebook Newsroom) for more details; on  a related note, from late May: America’s Teens Are Choosing YouTube Over Facebook (Bloomberg)
"The company announced at an event for Facebook video creators on Tuesday it would allow more content to be eligible for its Watch program. By doing so, it opens up the doors for both the company and social media stars to earn more advertising revenue. Facebook also announced Brand Collabs Manager, a platform that will connect video creators with sponsorship opportunities.

Digital video advertising revenue is projected to hit $19.81 billion by 2020, according to eMarketer. Google's YouTube is considered the main home for online creator-made video content. Facebook, however, is trying to encroach on that territory with Tuesday's announcement, which follows reports of plans to expand the length of Instagram videos and introduce original Instagram shows."
Facebook takes another shot at grabbing social media stars from YouTube -- CNBC

Google launches a podcast app for Android with personalized recommendations -- The Verge

Final sentence: "There are currently no plans for an iOS app." See Listen up: Google Podcasts is now on Android (Google blog) for more details.
"Google today is introducing a new standalone podcast app for Android. The app, called simply Google Podcasts, will use Google’s recommendation algorithms in an effort to connect people with shows they might enjoy based on their listening habits. While podcasts have previously been available on Android through Google Play Music and third-party apps, Google says the company expects Podcasts to bring the form to hundreds of millions of new listeners around the world. (Google Listen, an early effort to build what was then called a “podcatcher” for Android, was killed off in 2012.)

“There’s still tons of room for growth when it comes to podcast listening,” said Zack Reneau-Wedeen, product manager on the app. Creating a native first-party Android app for podcasts “could as much as double worldwide listenership of podcasts overall,” he said."
Google launches a podcast app for Android with personalized recommendations --  The Verge

Ford and Volkswagen Discuss Developing Vehicles Together -- WSJ

So perhaps a bit like a 115-year-old software start-up (see next post)?...
"Ford has been working to implement a so-called corporate fitness plan that aims to slash $25.5 billion in cumulative costs over the next four years and help the Dearborn, Mich.-based company catch up on profitability with its two traditional rivals, General Motors Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV.

This week, Ford purchased a long-abandoned train station in Detroit that it plans to redevelop into a technology hub for the development of electric and autonomous cars. The company says it is aiming to transform itself from an old-line manufacturer to a seller of high-tech transportation services."
Ford and Volkswagen Discuss Developing Vehicles Together -- WSJ

GE Kicked Out of Dow, the Last 19th Century Member Removed -- Bloomberg

From less than 2 years ago: G.E., the 124-Year-Old Software Start-Up  (NYT)
"Once the world’s most valuable company, GE will be replaced by Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., the Deerfield, Illinois-based drugstore chain created in a 2014 merger. The change will take effect prior to the open of trading next Tuesday. Down 26 percent, GE is the worst performer in the Dow in 2018, as it was last year, as well.

“It was an issue not of if, but when,” said Quincy Krosby, the chief market strategist at Prudential Financial Inc. “The GE that was dominant in the Dow in the ’70s and ’80s is no longer the same GE.”

The change means the last original Dow member has finally been removed from the benchmark formed in 1896, with GE joining the likes of Distilling & Cattle Feeding, National Lead, Tennessee Coal & Iron and U.S. Rubber. GE briefly left the index, but has been in it continuously since 1907."
GE Kicked Out of Dow, the Last 19th Century Member Removed -- Bloomberg

Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint suspend selling of customer location data after prison officials were caught misusing it -- The Washington Post

Just another day in the data broker business...
"Wyden's investigation found that one of Verizon's indirect corporate customers, a prison phone company called Securus, had used Verizon's customer location data in a system that effectively let correctional officers spy on millions of Americans. In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission last month highlighting the probe, Wyden said prison officials using Securus's surveillance system could obtain real-time location data on Americans with little more than a "pinky promise" of propriety, leading to "activities wholly unrelated" to prison management.

To gain access to the data, prison officers simply visited an online portal and uploaded an "official document" showing they had permission to access the information. But, Wyden told the FCC, senior Securus officials admitted that the company did not review the requests for information or require that supporting documents reflect the decision of a judge or other legal authority."
Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint suspend selling of customer location data after prison officials were caught misusing it  -- The  Washington Post

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

The Onion is on a crusade against Mark Zuckerberg because it says Facebook is choking its traffic -- Business Insider

A sample: Mark Zuckerberg Insists Anyone With Same Skewed Values And Unrelenting Thirst For Power Could Have Made Same Mistakes (The Onion)
"Over the last two days, The Onion has published around a dozen articles ridiculing the social network and its founder, and it says there’s more on the way.

Why? The Onion’s editor-in-chief Chad Nackers told Business Insider that the comedy onslaught is because Zuckerberg has “repeatedly betrayed the trust of billions of people,” and because Facebook is choking off traffic to The Onion’s website.

“We have 6,572,949 followers on Facebook who receive an ever-decreasing amount of the content we publish on the network,” Nackers said, calling Facebook an “unwanted interloper” between the publisher and its audience.

In other words, The Onion is on a mission."
The Onion is on a crusade against Mark Zuckerberg because it says Facebook is choking its traffic -- Business Insider

Pod Save America’s Dan Pfeiffer has some advice for Democrats: Learn how to use Facebook, ASAP! -- Recode

I may take a Facebook (and Twitter) break until ~November 7th... On a related note, see Report: Americans are bad at telling news from opinion (Poynter)
"He said Facebook trying to favor outrageous content less often is like the NFL trying to fix its concussion problem: “It is the core of your business model.” A more feasible solution would be the left learning how to Facebook as well as the right does.

“My point for Democrats is ... we need to build a progressive media infrastructure that is the bizarro version of the Republicans’,” Pfeiffer said. “It shouldn’t be propaganda, it shouldn’t be dishonest, it shouldn’t be racially divisive. It has to be the things that work best for Democrats: Inspirational, hopeful, fact-driven. But we need these nodes of amplification to carry the Democratic message, otherwise we’re going to get swamped again.”"
Pod Save America’s Dan Pfeiffer has some advice for Democrats: Learn how to use Facebook, ASAP!  -- Recode

Musk Says Tesla Hit With ‘Extensive’ Sabotage by Rogue Employee -- Bloomberg

More tumultuous transition times for Tesla
The worker, who had been denied a promotion, did “quite extensive and damaging sabotage” to Tesla’s operations, Musk wrote in the memo late Sunday, which was reported in full by CNBC. While a spokesman declined to comment, an employee who asked not to be identified confirmed he received the email.

Tesla is conducting an in-depth investigation into the matter, including whether the worker was acting alone, with others at the company or with any outside organizations, Musk wrote.

“As you know, there are a long list of organizations that want Tesla to die,” Musk said. He referenced Wall Street short sellers “who have already lost billions of dollars,” oil and gas companies that “don’t love” to see solar power and electric cars advancing, and automakers that produce gasoline and diesel vehicles. “If they’re willing to cheat so much about emissions, maybe they’re willing to cheat in other ways?” he said.
Meanwhile,

Musk Says Tesla Hit With ‘Extensive’ Sabotage by Rogue Employee -- Bloomberg

Crypto Celebrity McAfee Stops Touting ICOs, Citing ‘SEC Threats’ -- Bloomberg

Earlier in the article: "“It is unjust but it is reality. I am writing an article on an equivalent alternative to ICOs which the SEC cannot touch. Please have Patience.”"
"The offerings have come under increased scrutiny from regulators in recent months, with the SEC calling them securities that should be registered with the regulator. Some analysts have said paid promoters of ICOs may be breaking the law by acting as unregistered broker-dealers. In March, McAfee tweeted a web link that showed he charged $105,000 per tweet to promote ICOs and other products.

The SEC and McAfee didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment."
Crypto Celebrity McAfee Stops Touting ICOs, Citing ‘SEC Threats’ -- Bloomberg

Monday, June 18, 2018

Pentagon Puts Cyberwarriors on the Offensive, Increasing the Risk of Conflict -- NYT

From an article adapted from The Perfect Weapon: War, Sabotage and Fear in the Cyber Age, which will be published tomorrow
"There is little debate inside the government’s sprawling community of cyberwarriors and defenders that the United States needs to step up its game: It did not see the Russian hack of the 2016 election coming, or North Korea’s “WannaCry” attack last year, which crippled the National Health Service in Britain and rippled around the world, partly driven by stolen American cyberweapons.

But the risks of escalation — of United States action in foreign networks leading to retaliatory strikes against American banks, dams, financial markets or communications networks — are considerable, according to current and former officials. Mr. Trump has shown only a cursory interest in the subject, former aides say, not surprising for a man who does not use a computer and came of age as a business executive in a predigital era.

Efforts to rewrite the main document governing the presidential authorities in the cyberarena — Presidential Policy Directive 20, signed by Barack Obama — have faltered in the chaos of Mr. Bolton’s decision to oust the key players."
Pentagon Puts Cyberwarriors on the Offensive, Increasing the Risk of Conflict -- NYT

Here's what Apple's doing to get you excited about AR -- CNET

Also see How ARKit 2 works, and why Apple is so focused on AR (Ars Technica)
"The future of augmented reality headgear and smartglasses is still very much in flux. The long-awaited Magic Leap might emerge this year. Microsoft's Hololens has hung in a state of enterprise limbo -- one from which it may finally emerge next year. Little smartglasses like ODG's might get better with Qualcomm's next chips, but don't expect miracles.

Then there's Apple. As CNET reported in April, Apple is working on a powerful headset capable of both AR and VR. Whether that version is a "what if" prototype or something akin to what Apple may ship in 2 years is anyone's guess. But you don't need to wait until 2020: Apple's plans for virtual magic are playing out in real-time, right now, on the iPads and iPhones that your currently own."
Here's what Apple's doing to get you excited about AR -- CNET

Google Is Training Machines to Predict When a Patient Will Die -- Bloomberg

For a less sensationalist overview of related work, see Scalable and accurate deep learning with electronic health records (Jeff Dean et al. in Nature)
"What impressed medical experts most was Google’s ability to sift through data previously out of reach: notes buried in PDFs or scribbled on old charts. The neural net gobbled up all this unruly information then spat out predictions. And it did it far faster and more accurately than existing techniques. Google’s system even showed which records led it to conclusions.

Hospitals, doctors and other health-care providers have been trying for years to better use stockpiles of electronic health records and other patient data. More information shared and highlighted at the right time could save lives -- and at the very least help medical workers spend less time on paperwork and more time on patient care. But current methods of mining health data are costly, cumbersome and time consuming."
Google Is Training Machines to Predict When a Patient Will Die -- Bloomberg

Goodbye, Denver Post. Hello, Blockchain. -- NYT

All the local news that's fit to ICO; tangentially, see The SEC Will Leave Good ICOs Alone (Bloomberg)
"The new publication will have a conventional website whose data will be written permanently into the secure digital ledger known as the blockchain. Expenses for the fledgling outlet will be covered by a grant from Civil, whose sole investor, for now, is ConsenSys, a Brooklyn-based blockchain software technology company founded by the Canadian entrepreneur Joseph Lubin. Mr. Lubin is also a co-founder of the Ethereum, a virtual currency and blockchain database company. As part of its plan to fund new media entities, Civil plans to unveil a new token this summer called CVL.
People who purchase the CVL token, a form of cryptocurrency, will have a say concerning the projects hosted by Civil — meaning that they can vote on whether one of its websites violates the company’s journalism standards, which are outlined in the Civil Constitution."
Goodbye, Denver Post. Hello, Blockchain. -- NYT

Amazon Tightens Grip on a New Medium: Live Streams of Video Games -- NYT

On a related note, see Video Game Addiction Tries to Move From Basement to Doctor’s Office (NYT)
"Twitch began in 2011 as an offshoot of Justin.tv, a lifecasting site founded by two Yale graduates, Emmett Shear and Justin Kan. They started the platform after they found that viewers were more interested in watching their lifecasters play video games than eat or sleep. Big tech companies came courting, and Amazon beat out Google.
In the four years since the sale, video gaming as a spectator sport has gone mainstream, and Twitch has captured the majority of those who want to watch it live.
For the dedicated fans, the live, freewheeling sessions on Twitch have the appeal of a major sporting event crossed with a talk show. The interaction between the host and viewers is one key to the site’s success, making for an involved viewing experience that is markedly different from the prerecorded and edited videos of game sessions that have long been popular on YouTube."
Amazon Tightens Grip on a New Medium: Live Streams of Video Games -- NYT