Excellent absurd video of Boston Dynamics SPOT robot wearing a horse head

Someone outfitted a Boston Dynamics SPOT mobile robot with a silly fake horse head and suddenly the future of robotics looks a lot less scary.

As esteemed futurist Jim Dator once said, "Any useful statement about the future should at first seem ridiculous." Read the rest

Tesla denies reports of firing workers who chose to stay at home to avoid coronavirus risk in Elon Musk's factory

On Thursday, Tesla denied media reports that it fired employees who chose to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic, rather than expose themselves to possible infection at Elon Musk's California factory. Read the rest

CCPA: California to enforce new digital privacy law starting today, despite calls for further pandemic delay

New data privacy law took effect in January, with a six-month grace period

YouTube bans 6 channels for hate speech, white supremacists Stefan Molyneux, David Duke, and Richard Spencer among them

“We have strict policies prohibiting hate speech on YouTube.”

Facebook to warn users if they try to share content more than 90 days old

Facebook said Thursday it will introduce a notification screen to warn users if they try to share content more than 90 days old, “To ensure people have the context they need to make informed decisions.” Read the rest

WATCH: Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo Unity completes 2nd flight from Spaceport America (mission recap video)

Definitely book me on the very first flight off this hell-planet 2020, yes please. Read the rest

Facial recognition leads to wrongful arrest of Black man in Detroit

A Black man in Detroit was wrongfully arrested and detained by police who mis-identified him with a false facial recognition hit. The case of Robert Williams, an innocent person who was held in police custody for a day, is the first publicly reported case of artificial intelligence resulting in a false arrest in the United States. Read the rest

Facebook ad boycott includes Ben & Jerry's, REI, Patagonia, North Face, Eddie Bauer

Eddie Bauer, Magnolia Pictures, Ben & Jerry's, REI, and Patagonia are some of the brands that have suspended Facebook ad campaigns over the platform's reckless content moderation practices that allow political and COVID-19 disinformation to proliferate. Read the rest

Senate GOP introduce bill to end 'warrant-proof' encryption, end-to-end encryption on WhatsApp is targeted

A group of Senate Republicans want to force technology companies to comply with “lawful access” to encrypted information, which basically means they're targeting end-to-end encryption again, and specifically taking aim at the type of security offered by the popular messaging service WhatsApp. Read the rest

Elon Musk says Tesla 'Battery Day' and shareholder meeting on September 15

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says Septeber 15 is the tentative date for the electric car company's shareholder meeting, and “Battery Day,” at which it Musk is expected to show off advances in battery technology. Read the rest

As COVID-19 surges, Apple re-closes 11 stores temporarily in Florida, Arizona, North Carolina, South Carolina

Apple will temporarily close a number of retail stores again in the U.S., as the coronavirus outbreak re-emerges as a significant threat in new areas of the country, reports Bloomberg News. Read the rest

Delivery drones could hitch rides on public buses

Delivery drones could someday hitch rides on public buses to dramatically extend their range in cities. Stanford’s Intelligent Systems Laboratory and Autonomous Systems Lab modeled such a system to see if it even makes sense. According to their research paper, it does. In theory, anyway. Evan Ackerman writes in IEEE Spectrum:

The first thing to understand about this paper is that it’s not trying to solve any of the practical problems surrounding the real-world deployment of a delivery network involving drones and buses, like how you’d get a drone to land on a moving bus, for instance. What the paper is about is how you’d get a potential network of drones and vehicles to operate efficiently, and how big of a difference that might be able to make in a package delivery context.

In a metropolitan area like San Francisco, the idea is that you’d have a bunch of package depots scattered around the city. You’d also have a bunch of drones, and every day, you’d need to figure out how to get all of those packages where they need to go in the minimum amount of time, using the existing bus routes and schedule to boost their range when necessary. And when I say “you,” that’s where this research comes in, because it’s solving a big optimization problem that involves which drones make which deliveries in what order, when they should use buses, and for how long. It gets more complicated too, because there are conflicts that have to be resolved when buses can only carry a few drones at a time and you don’t want the drones occupying the same space on the network at the same time.

Read the rest

Peter Thiel's Palantir gets $500 million from Japan, just before expected IPO

Peter Thiel's Palantir on Thursday said a Japanese insurance holding company, Sompo Holdings, has committed to invest $500 million in the Silicon Valley data analysis and surveillance technology firm that serves the U.S. government and the Central Intelligence Agency, among other clients worldwide. Read the rest

Google removes 106 malicious Chrome extensions with 32M downloads that collect browsing history and sensitive credentials

Following the discovery and prompting of a security researcher at Awake Security, Google says it has removed 106 malicious Chrome extensions that had 32 million downloads, and which were gathering browsing history and sensitive credentials from users. Read the rest

Trump tweets crazy lies about NBC and Google Ads demonetizing far-right sites (they didn't)

President Brain Worms Donald Trump is in the midst of quite a tweety-tantrum this morning. Now he's falsely saying that NBC News and Google Ads have conspired to deny revenue to far-right websites. Read the rest

Plagued by security woes, Zoom promises end-to-end encryption starting in July

Video-calling app Zoom has been on the end of sharp criticism for security weaknesses. In response, they announced today a plan to offer end-to-end encryption for all users, with a trial to begin next month. Read the rest

Google cracks down on The Federalist & ZeroHedge for violating race-related content policies, may permanently suspend access to Google Ads revenue

UPDATE: Google is now saying NBC News got it wrong, here's Google's update below. Business Insider has a new story covering the update here.

NBC News reports that Google has threatened to ban two extreme-right websites from the Google advertising platform because they publish race-related disinformation. The two sites, ZeroHedge and The Federalist, would no longer be able to generate revenue from any ads served by Google Ads if their accounts end up being suspended by Google. Read the rest

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