Netflix May Not Win a Best Picture Oscar, but We’ll Win Better Movies

Wired 16 Oct 2018 12:00 After pronounced pushes into sci-fi and romantic comedies, the streaming giant has over the past few weeks released a spate of small, auteur-driven dramas like Nicole Holofcener's The Land of Steady Habits. Netflix In early 2015, Netflix made one of the most dramatic deals in the company’s career, announcing it had paid close to $12 million for Beasts of No Nation, a grim war tale starring Idris Elba. By then, the streaming service had already found Emmy success with original series like House of Cards, and had even earned a couple of Academy Award nominations for its documentaries. But with Beasts of No Nation–which the company also released theatrically–Netflix was making a brazen play for a Best Actor nod, or possibly a spot in the Best Picture race. Either would have been a once-unthinkable achievement for an outfit that had started out renting Blade DVDs for four bucks a pop. Yet despite solid reviews and some Golden Globes recognition for Elba, Beasts never wound up in the Oscar derby. Instead, Netflix’s splashy foray into the prestige-movie arena felt perpetually buffering. It didn’t help that theater-owners, resentful of the service’s encorachment on their terrain, pushed back against Beasts: The movie played on barely thirty screens, and was out of theaters within weeks. Netflix claimed the film performed well with at-home audiences, but the lack of Academy traction stymied the service’s hopes to be a contender. More than three years later, Netflix has assembled its most audacious dramatic feature line-up yet–an assortment that, even if it doesn’t sway Oscar voters, will at least win over discerning film fans. It’s anchored by Roma, the forthcoming early-1970s tale directed by Alfonso Cuarón, the Oscar-winning force-of-nature behind Gravity and Children of Men. Scheduled for release in December, Roma is already a critical hit–the best-reviewed Netflix movie ever, having won over critics at several high-profile festival screenings this fall. The company hasn’t revealed Roma’s theatrical-release strategy yet, but Cuarón’s film will almost certainly open on more screens–and for a much longer stretch–than earlier Netflix efforts like Beasts or last year’s quadruple Oscar nominee Mudbound. And the streamer’s recent hiring of long-time campaign strategist Lisa Taback makes it clear the company intends to push hard for a Best Picture nomination–a feat competitor Amazon managed with 2016’s Manchester By the Sea. But Roma is merely the most high-profile endeavor in a year that’s seen Netflix pursue a genre the major studios–and even a few indies–have quietly abandoned: The grown-up, auteur-driven drama. In the past few weeks, it’s released 22 July, a harrowing account of the 2011 Norway attacks, from Captain Phillips‘ Paul Greengrass; The Land of Steady Habits, a thoughtful family-in-crisis tale by veteran filmmaker Nicole Holofcener; Hold the Dark, an Alaska-set thriller directed by Green Room’s Jeremy Saulnier; and Private Life, a comedy-drama about a middle-aged couple trying to get pregnant, from The Savages’ writer-director Tamara Jenkins. They’ll be followed not only by Roma, but also November’s The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, a western-set anthology by the Coen Brothers that started out as a TV series before being edited as a feature film. Related Stories Jason Kehe Sci-Fi Invades Netflix—as They Both Invade Your Home Peter Rubin Genre, Genre, Everywhere: the Netflix Effect Spreads Emma Grey Ellis What Brought Sense8 Back—and What Killed It in the First Place All of these movies are being given theatrical runs of varying sizes–a strategy that serves as a lure for filmmakers, who want fans to at least have a chance to see their work on the big screen. They also signal that Netflix wants to differentiate these titles from the numerous, anonymous original movies that pop up on the service seemingly every week, often with little in the way of promotion or pre-release hype. The company loves crowing about big-budget titles like Bright or The Cloverfield Paradox. But the majority of the company’s original-feature catalog–which is quickly approaching 200 titles–are quickly forgettable offerings that often fall under the same categories: There are the Sad-Looking Sundance Dramas; the Sci-Fi Flicks with Weirdly Bad Effects; and the Romantic Comedies Starring Exactly One Person You Have Heard Of. A few genuinely great films are hidden amid the menu, like the on-the-run caper Tramps. And in 2018, several titles broke through based on social-media love, like Set It Up or To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before. But the company’s strategy of volume over vigilance has made for a lot of cruddy meh-flicks. That’s changing, as Netflix’s prestige-lust is forcing the company to invest in writer-directors with deep creative cred and risky original ideas–the kinds of ideas the big studios seem too skittish to back nowadays. It’s hard to imagine any big outlet other than Netflix greenlighting Greengrass’ tough, star-free account of a massacre that killed dozens of young people without diluting its power. The admirably grim Hold the Dark, meanwhile, is a mystery that doesn’t easily answer some of its biggest questions; as a result, it feels uncompromised in the best way possible, having not been second-guessed by execs. And The Land of Steady Habits casts Ready Player One and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story baddie Ben Mendelsohn as a shifty, kinda shitty middle-aged jerk–one of his most surprising and satisfying roles in years, and not the kind he’d normally land in a big franchise movie. That performance was made possible in no small part because of Netflix. On a recent episode of the podcast Recode Media with Peter Kafka, Holofcener noted that the film was in development with another studio, who wanted a major star for the part. “Netflix said, ‘You can cast whoever you want,’ and I said, ‘OK: Ben Mendelsohn,” Holofcener said. “And everybody else in it [was] very hands-off, very supportive. And it was a great experience.” It would be naive to believe Netflix is giving filmmakers like Holofcener or Private Life’s Jenkins creative freedom: The company still wants the industry’s respect, even in the era of Bright–perhaps especially in the era of Bright. And while it’s hard to imagine any of its recently premiered dramas winding up in the major awards races–for the most part, they’re not the kind of sweeping, Roma-sized tales that Oscar-voters favor–they do have a trickle-down effect: In its pursuit of Best Picture, Netflix is instead making some Very Good Ones. Hopefully, it’ll become a steady habit. More Great WIRED Stories How the US fought China's cybertheft—with a Chinese spy Robocars could make humans unhealthier than ever Turning California’s weed into the champagne of cannabis Welcome to Voldemorting, the ultimate SEO dis PHOTOS: From Mars, Pennsylvania to the Red Planet Get even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletter
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2-4-1 Tickets at Data Protection World Forum

Digital Marketing Magazine 16 Oct 2018 10:00 For a limited time only, tickets to the inaugural Data Protection World Forum (DPWF) are available to delegates on a two-for-one basis. Ending this Friday (19th October), the offer allows two tickets to this industry-leading data conference to be purchased for just £395. The deal aligns with a further 250 free tickets available to the DPWF exhibition, courtesy of Data Protection Magazine. Don’t leave data security to chance This landmark year in data security saw the introduction of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The new laws support Privacy by Design and Default through a risk-based approach to data privacy that sees organisations implement data protection principles to safeguard users’ privacy rights. Since the GDPR came into being on May 25th of this year, companies have scrambled for compliance in a bid to offset the risk of incurring regulator penalties and subsequent reputational damage that a high-profile data breach can deliver. Far from a tick-box exercise, successful compliance to GDPR standards relies on an ongoing evolution of data processing and employee behaviours that prioritise accountability at every step. The journey has not been straightforward for many business owners, and questions remain as to the best way to galvanise data handling, not only to avoid a data breach, but also to mitigate against regulator penalties, should weaknesses come to light. Get data protection right Data Protection World Forum is an exclusive two-day conference in which global names will provide guidance and advice on all delegates’ data protection concerns. Coming to London’s Excel arena on 20th and 21st November, DPWF gets to the cutting edge of the data security debate with keynotes and panel discussions across a variety of forums, including: Keynote Conference Governance, Risk and Compliance Seminar Public Sector Seminar GDPR Advanced Exhibition Theatres Between Tuesday 16th and Friday 19th October, tickets Data Protection World Forum tickets are available on a 2-4-1 basis, putting the price of two tickets at just £395. Click here for more details. The Exhibition Theatres In association with Data Protection Magazine, 250 free tickets to DPWF Exhibition Theatres are also now available. Four exhibition theatres at DPWF feature 100 service and solution providers, over 60 speakers, networking areas and demonstration zones, enabling visitors to gain a new understanding of the data security issues that matter most. The Exhibition Theatres include: ISF Pavilion Cyber Security & Risk Management OneTrust Marketing & Advertising Theatre TrustArc & BigID GDPR Refresh Theatre Speaker’s Corner in Association with Cyber Talks Click here for more details. GDPR Summit Series is a global series of GDPR events which will help marketers to prepare to meet the requirements of the GDPR ahead of May 2018 and beyond. Further information and conference details are available at http://www.gdprsummit.london/ Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.
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Uber and Lyft Made Traffic Worse in San Francisco. But It’s Complicated

Wired 16 Oct 2018 09:00 Researchers say it’s hard to blame any one thing for traffic. But Uber and Lyft should definitely be on your list. David Paul Morris/Getty Images You’re not insane: Traffic in San Francisco got a lot worse between 2010 and 2016, according to a new report from the San Francisco County Transportation Authority. When you really think about it, that makes a lot of sense. There are a lot more people working and living in San Francisco in the second half of the aughts than the first one: Seventy thousand people and 150,000 new jobs arrived in that time, and all of those people had to get places, and regularly. But the report also points to other culprits: Uber and Lyft. Using data from the traffic analytics company Inrix, plus modeling that the agency says helped it establish a “counterfactual”—what might have happened in the city had the ride-hail companies not come to town—it concludes that these companies and their ride-hailing brethren contributed mightily to San Francisco’s growing traffic problem. The report concludes that Uber and Lyft were responsible for 51 percent of the daily vehicle delay hours increase between 2010 and 2016. (That’s one measure of extra hours spent in the car due to congestion.) During the same period, the report concludes, the companies accounted for 47 percent of the increase of vehicle miles traveled, and 55 percent of the average speed decline on roadways. Population and employment growth, plus changes in the road network, accounted for the other delays. A map of San Francisco showing the change in vehicle delay hours. The sections in yellow show roads where delays decreased by 30 percent or less; the areas in dark purple show the roads where delays increased by 120 percent or more. San Francisco County Transportation Authority That sounds really bad. And maybe just right to anyone who’s seen a car stop traffic to let off or pick up passengers. But the report is missing some crucial data, and comes with a few caveats. For one, it doesn’t have exact information on the growth of freight and delivery during the period—exactly the period when the ranks of Amazon Prime members swelled exponentially, and services like grocery delivery became part of many’s routines. And it doesn’t have information on construction in the region, which could also have contributed to traffic slowdowns. Both ride-hailing companies criticize the report’s methodology. In a statement, a Lyft spokesperson called the report “flawed and an incomplete picture of the transit challenges San Francisco faces,” and said it would like to work with the county to implement traffic solutions like congestion pricing. An Uber spokesperson says the “study fails to consider critical factors like the spike in tourism or the growth of freight deliveries, both of which have exploded since the study’s baseline date of 2010.” Uber and Lyft each say they would be willing to work with the county agency on plans to generate funding and support for transit. And both have touted their own recent forays into non-car transportation. Uber bought e-bike-share company Jump and is pushing into e-scooters. Lyft bought large American bike-share operator Motivate and has introduced scooters in Denver and Santa Monica, California, this fall. It’s always been really hard to parse the causes of traffic, says Susan Shaheen, who studies innovation and adoption of new technologies at UC Berkeley's Transportation Sustainability Research Center. “There are so many dynamic forces both external and internal to transportation that are interfacing: population growth and construction, for example,” she says. “These are so dynamically changing alongside shifting transportation patterns that proving causality can be very complicated.” Shaheen also points out that Uber and Lyft’s own product lines and emphases have changed since 2016, with both pushing harder than ever for shared rides. The report acknowledges that there’s nuance here. In fact, it breaks the data down by district, and finds growth in Uber and Lyft congestion varied dramatically throughout the city. Though San Francisco’s downtown core saw huge increases in on-road wait times, the Country Transportation Authority report finds that the ride-hailers accounted for 45 percent of it. Meanwhile, tourist-y Fisherman’s Wharf, North Beach, and Chinatown areas saw a less severe spike in traffic—but the report concludes that Uber and Lyft are responsible for 73 percent. “In the stories that are told all the time, blanket statements are made,” says Joe Castiglione, the deputy director for technology, data, and analysis at the SFCTA. “That really ignores a lot of the reality of the situation: Not that these impacts are spread everywhere in space or time, but that, in fact, they are highly concentrated in space and time.” Castiglione and his colleagues will present the report to the city’s Board of Supervisors, its main legislative body, on Tuesday morning. It will be up to the board to decide how to use the data. In fact, the board just struck a deal with the ride-hailers: This summer, after a protracted negotiation with the city, both Uber and Lyft agreed to a proposal for a new 3.25 percent tax on net rider fares for each solo trip, and a 1.5 percent tax on shared rides. Government officials say the money raised from these new taxes will county transit uses. The agreement has to be affirmed in a ballot measure by two-thirds of city voters, who will decide on the proposal next year. And it’s always worth remembering, as transportation professionals say again and again, that congestion can be a sign that your city is thriving. “Congestion arises because we have people, and people go out and do things and they have jobs,” says Castiglione. Fighting congestion is good. But expecting traffic to disappear—or blaming it all on one or two players—isn’t realistic. More Great WIRED Stories How the US fought China's cybertheft—with a Chinese spy Robocars could make humans unhealthier than ever Turning California’s weed into the champagne of cannabis Welcome to Voldemorting, the ultimate SEO dis PHOTOS: From Mars, Pennsylvania to the Red Planet Get even more of our inside scoops with our weekly Backchannel newsletter
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Microsoft Surface Pro 6 review: a fantastic tablet PC you shouldn't buy

Guardian Technology 16 Oct 2018 08:00 The WIndows 10-ready Surface Pro 6 looks gorgeous in its new black paint job, but a new colour, faster chips and longer battery life are let down by old ports. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian The new Surface Pro 6 the latest version of Microsoft’s category-defining detachable tablet PC, but do a price cut, faster chips and a new paint job make it worth buying? From the outside it looks like very little has changed, and that’s because the Surface Pro 6 is practically identical to its predecessor. It has the same beautiful 12.3in screen, the same front-firing speakers, the same dimensions and weight, and the same brilliant kickstand out the back. It even has the same quality-feeling magnesium body with slightly rounded edges for hand-held comfort. The Surface Pro is arguably the best made Windows 10 tablet going. Unfortunately the Surface Pro 6 also has exactly the same port selection as the previous couple of models, which was old in 2017, but looks positively ancient in 2018. The kickstand out the back remains the best available on a tablet. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian New for this year is a sleek black paint job, joining the platinum silver. The slightly textured, but smooth finish and colour combination are gorgeous. Black is definitely the one to get. Compared with the competition, the 770g Surface Pro is around 100g heavier than the 12.9in Apple iPad Pro with similar dimensions. The slightly larger 13in Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet is more than 100g heavier but the smaller 10in Surface Go is 248g lighter. With the Type Cover attached the Surface Pro weighs 1.08kg, which makes it lighter than most ultrabooks, but more than 313g heavier than the Surface Go with Type Cover. All of that is to say that the Surface Pro is one of the easiest full-power PCs to cart around, either in the hand or in a bag, beaten only really by the smaller Surface Go and mobile tablets such as Apple’s iPad. Specifications Screen: 12.3in LCD 2736 x 1824 (267 PPI) Processor: Intel Core i5 or i7 (8th generation) RAM: 8 or 16GB Storage: 128, 256, 512GB or 1TB Graphics: Intel UHD 620 Operating system: Windows 10 Pro Camera: 8MP rear, 5MP front-facing, Windows Hello Connectivity: Wifi ac, Bluetooth 4.1, USB 3.0, mini DisplayPort, headphones, TPM, microSD Dimensions: 292 x 201 x 8.5 mm Weight: 770 or 784g (depending on version) Longer battery life The Surface Pro 6 lasts longer between charges, now comfortably getting through a work day. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian New for this year are Intel’s latest eighth-generation Core i5 and i7 chips, both of which are faster and more efficient than their predecessors. Performance across the board was excellent, blowing through even very large image manipulation jobs in Affinity Photo. The integrated Intel UHD 620 graphics chip means you’re unlikely to be able to play any modern graphically intensive games on high settings, nor be able to edit multiple 4K videos, but the Surface Pro should handle everything else with ease. Unlike the fifth-generation Surface Pro, even the Core i5 version of the Surface Pro 6 has a fan which helps maintain performance when pushed. Most of the time the fans are completely inaudible, making the Surface Pro practically silent in day-to-day operation, so I think this is a good design decision. Battery life has improved significantly. The Core i7 variant of the Surface Pro 5 only lasted six hours 40 minutes between charges. The Core i5 version as tested lasted nine hours, which is long enough to go out for day’s work without having to pack the charger. That was with recommended brightness and power mode (Better Battery), using word processor Typora, multiple instances of Chrome, Nextgen reader, Affinity Photo, Evernote, Windows Mail and Wire. The Core i7 will have shorter battery life than the Core i5 version, but should have at least an hour or so more battery life than last year’s version. Ports The port selection remains the same as last year, having USB-A, mini DisplayPort and the Surface Connector, but lacking Thunderbolt 3 or USB-C. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian The internals might be modern, but the ports certainly aren’t. The tablet has the magnetic Surface Connector for power and expansion, which works just as well as previous versions with the included power adapter or the Surface Dock. There’s a microSD card reader under the kickstand, which works well and is useful if you’re trying to pull images from a camera. The full-sized USB 3.0 port is also welcome, while the mini DisplayPort is less useful, requiring a dongle or new cable to connect to most displays that are either full-size DisplayPort or HDMI. The big thing missing is any form of USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, which is inexcusable on a premium computer in 2018. The decision to omit the modern port is bizarre from Microsoft, given it has already shipped the Surface Book 2 and Surface Go with USB-C. The benefits of USB-C are clear, not only from a connectivity perspective with the port the gold standard for connecting practically anything. But having USB-C should also allow the PC to be charged from any number of USB Power Delivery chargers, which are cheap to buy and ship with most other computers in 2018, in the same way almost any phone can be charged from any USB power adapter today. I’m not advocating that Microsoft ditch the Surface Connector, but it should offer at least a couple of USB-C, preferably Thunderbolt 3, ports too. Microsoft does make a Surface Connector to USB-C adapter, but it doesn’t appear to be on sale in the UK. Windows 10 Home, not Pro Windows 10 Home lacks the advanced domain and networking tools needed in enterprise, but still has device encryption to protect your data if someone steals your tablet. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian This year the consumer version of the Surface Pro ships with Windows 10 Home, not Windows 10 Pro, which means you have a “Pro” machine shipping with the non-Pro version of the operating system. Naming oddities aside, the biggest difference between Windows 10 Home and Pro is the latter’s support for enterprise networking and domain joining, as well as Microsoft’s Bitlocker encryption tools for securing your data. On the Surface Pro 6, as with the Surface Go, Windows 10 Home ships with device encryption, meaning your data is safely protected if the tablet gets stolen, which I believe is essential in all new portable machines. As such I don’t think the downgrade to Windows 10 Home is something to worry about for the majority of consumers. Those who need Windows 10 Pro will have to pay £120 to upgrade through the Microsoft Store, although models with Windows 10 Pro for enterprise will be available at some point. Type Cover It looks plain and utilitarian in black, but offers one of the best typing experiences on any machine, let alone a detachable tablet PC. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian The Type Cover remains the best typing experience on any detachable or convertible tablet and is an essential purchase with the Surface Pro. It attaches to the bottom of the tablet with a reassuring magnetic snap and closes on the screen to protect it on the move. The Type Cover is available in black soft-touch plastic for £125 or in multiple colours of Alcantara for £150. Observations The Windows Hello face recognition system effectively removes the need to constantly input your password to log into the Surface Pro 6. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian The Surface Pen is still one of the best styluses you can buy (for £100) and now comes in black to match the black Surface Pro, magnetically attaching to the side The speakers are loud, clear and direct, great for watching the NFL while cooking There’s still a bit of an app gap when it comes to offline media consumption from the likes of Sky, Amazon or Google on Windows 10 The Windows Hello IR facial-recognition camera is still the best way to log into a PC, starting up, seeing you and logging you in effortlessly The front and rear cameras are pretty good for a tablet, and perfectly fine for video conferencing Price The Surface Pro 6 comes with various different specifications starting at £879 for a Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage only in platinum. The Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage in platinum or black costs £1,149 (as tested) or with a Core i7 for £1,429. The Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and 512GB of storage in platinum or black costs £1,799 or with 1TB of storage in platinum only for £2,149. For comparison, the last year’s Surface Pro was at least £100 more expensive with like-for-like specifications, with the top two specifications being £350 and £550 cheaper respectively. Verdict The Surface Pro 6 is the best detachable Windows 10 PC money can buy, except for one glaring error: no USB-C or Thunderbolt 3. It’s cheaper, more powerful, lasts longer and is just as well made, portable and easy to carry and live with as last year’s model. Its additional Type Cover keyboard is an essential additional purchase, while the Surface Pen is also good, but not essential for most. It even looks fantastic in the new black colour. But when you’re spending as much as this on a machine you want it to be future-proofed so that it can last as long as possible and keep up with new developments. On the port and connectivity front, the Surface Pro 6 doesn’t even keep up with the present, let alone the future. So unless you’re happy spending at least £1,274 on a machine that you will have trouble connecting to things at some point, the Surface Pro 6 is the best Windows 10 detachable you shouldn’t buy. Pros: great screen, good battery life, brilliant keyboard (essential additional purchase), microSD card reader, excellent kickstand, Windows Hello, fast but quiet, solid build, easy to carry, USB-A Cons: no USB-C or Thunderbolt 3, less expensive (but still quite expensive), keyboard should be included, only Intel UHD 620 graphics The Surface Pen may be overkill for many, but it is well integrated into the system, comes in a selection of colours and attaches to the side of the Surface Pro 6 with strong magnets. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs for the Guardian Other reviews Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Tablet review: as good as Surface Pro but with USB-C Microsoft Surface Pro review: very nearly almost the future of Windows PCs Microsoft Surface Go review: tablet that’s better for work than play Microsoft Surface Book 2 review: a powerful yet pricey laptop-tablet combo Eve V review: upstart Windows tablet for power users has great potential This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. The links are powered by Skimlinks. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that Skimlinks cookies will be set. More information.
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Google’s CEO Says Tests of Censored Chinese Search Engine Turned Out Great

Wired 16 Oct 2018 03:40 Google’s internal tests developing a censored search engine in China have been very promising, CEO Sundar Pichai said on stage on Monday as part of the WIRED 25 Summit. “It turns out we'll be able to serve well over 99 percent of the queries,” that users request. What’s more, “There are many, many areas where we would provide information better than what's available,” such as searching for cancer treatments, Pichai said. "Today people either get fake cancer treatments or they actually get useful information.” While onstage at the event, Pichai did not back away from Google’s controversial decision to build a censored search engine in China. In fact, he doubled down on the search engine, codenamed Project Dragonfly, saying the potential to expose the world to more information is guiding Google’s push into China. “We are compelled by our mission [to] provide information to everyone, and [China is] 20 percent of the world's population.” Pichai was careful to emphasize that this was a decision that weighs heavy on the company. “People don't understand fully, but you're always balancing a set of values,” in every new country, he said. Those values include providing access to information, freedom of expression, and user privacy. “But we also follow the rule of law in every country,” he said. This is a reversal of a decision from about eight years, when Google pulled its search engine, which was also censored, from the Chinese market. Pichai said the time had come to reevaluate that choice. “It's a wonderful, innovative market. We wanted to learn what it would look like if we were in China, so that's what we built internally,” Pichai said. “Given how important the market is and how many users there are,” he added, “we feel obliged to think hard about this problem and take a longer-term view.” Pichai was just as non-committal when discussing Google’s work with the Department of Defense, in particular the company’s controversial contract, nicknamed Project Maven, to build AI and facial recognition technology that could be used for drone warfare. Google employees, and the larger tech community, have strongly protested both projects as crossing an ethical line. Following protests, Google said in June it would not renew Maven. Earlier this month, Google also announced that it would not be bidding for Joint Enterprise Defense Initiative, or JEDI, a decision that may have been motivated by the fact that Amazon has long been a front-runner. Nonetheless, Pichai said employee feedback wasn’t the main reason for backing away from Maven or JEDI. “Throughout Google's history, we've given our employees a lot of voice and say,” said Pichai. “But we don't we don't run the company by holding referendums. It's an important input. We take it seriously.” On the issue of Maven, however, “it's more also the debate within the AI Community around how you perceive our work in this area,” Pichai explained. Besides, Google’s work with the military is far from over. Pichai said they’re going to continue to work on a set of projects in cyber-security, transportation, logistics, and areas where Google is uniquely qualified. The only area where Google has is “being more deliberate” is the way “AI gets used with autonomous weaponry.” Pichai compared it to advances in biology. “When you're so early with a powerful technology,” he said, sometimes you have to self-regulate.
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Jack Dorsey Has Problems With Twitter, Too

Wired 16 Oct 2018 03:10 It contributes to filter bubbles, he said. It risks silencing people, he said. And when it’s not silencing them, it might be incentivizing them to behave badly, or basely, he said. His biggest criticism of the social media site he runs was that it could be nudging its users in the wrong directions. “What does the service currently incentivize?” asked Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey on stage at the WIRED25 summit today. It’s the question he and his whole team are asking themselves right now—about every aspect of the site “Right now we have a big Like button with a heart on it and we’re incentivizing people to want it to go up” and to get more followers, he pointed out. “Is that the right thing? Versus contributing to the public conversation or a healthy conversation? How do we incentive healthy conversation?” When he co-founded the website 12 years ago, it was meant as a place for friends to share pictures of their lunch. “Now it’s become a place to launch nuclear war,” said Wired editor in chief Nick Thompson. That evolution, from innocuous late-night destination for cryptic jokes to lubricator of social movements to a cesspool of outrage and the platform for geopolitical discourse was not a result of Twitter’s code, Dorsey’s argued. But it was inevitable. From the second it launched, Twitter was a free app with which anyone could text message the entire world. “Once the world saw that, there was no taking it back,” Dorsey said. “Once they saw it, they needed it. Our job now is to make sure we are actually serving that need.” By which he means the need for a global public square, a place for a global conversation to discuss the most important topics—he cited climate change and poverty as topics that can only be tackled in a global discussion—which he feels it is Twitter’s responsibility to facilitate. If that means not being an absolutist about free speech, so be it. “We can only stand for freedom of expression if people feel safe to express themselves in the first place,” he said, adding, “A lot of people come to Twitter and they don’t see a service. They see what looks like a public square and they have the same expectation as they have of a public square, and that is what we have to get right.” Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey (right) on stage with WIRED editor in chief Nick Thompson. Amy Lombard To get it right, Dorsey indicated everything was on the table. Twitter, he indicated, may need to be radically changed. He noted right now the service only allows you to follow accounts, not topics. It only allows you to like or retweet. What should it allow you to do instead? He’s not sure, but he’s considering every option. And he’s open to your ideas. “When we started the company, we weren’t thinking about [any of] this at all,” he said. “One of the interesting things about Twitter has been this amazing experiment in creating with others—the hashtag, the thread, the retweet—have all been invented by the people using our service, not us.” So if you have ideas for how to fix Twitter, make it known. Dorsey is listening. More Great WIRED Stories WIRED staffers share their favorite books Jason Pontin: Three commandments for reasonable technology optimism From an insane race across the country to a profile of the most wanted man on the internet, our 25 favorite Wired magazine stories from the past 25 years. 25 years of WIRED predictions: Why the future never arrives Our favorite covers of all time
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How to Watch the WIRED25 Festival and Summit

Wired 16 Oct 2018 03:08 2018 marks WIRED’s 25th anniversary, and we’re celebrating in WIRED style! Starting October 12, we’re taking over our corner of San Francisco with four full days of behind-the-scenes tours, the latest gadgets, and talks with the smartest, most interesting leaders in technology, business, and culture. And of course, it wouldn’t be a WIRED party without a robot petting zoo. How to Watch To catch October 12's programs, tune in to Facebook Live to learn about the future of work. WIRED’s editor in chief, Nick Thompson, will be speaking with Patrick Collison, Stacy Brown-Philpot, and Jeff Weiner. The event starts at 9 am Pacific time and lasts about an hour. And check out the full spectrum of speakers at the WIRED25 Summit on October 15: Apple's Jony Ive and Condé Nast's Anna Wintour discuss the unintended consequences of innovation After leaving Instagram, Kevin Systrom shares what's next: flying lessons Surprise guest Jeff Bezos defends his decision to work with the Department of Defense Sean Parker and scientists Alex Marson and Jiwoo Lee discuss the exciting future of CRISPR 23andMe CEO Anne Wojcicki and Chan Zuckerberg Biohub copresident Stephen Quake on the end of painful, invasive diagnostics Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella says tech can make the world more inclusive MIT's Neha Narula and Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian are optimistic about the future of blockchain, but it's early days Author Anand Giridharadas delivers a harsh message for tech philanthropists AI researchers Kai-Fu Lee and Fei-Fei Li on the importance of removing bias from AI Kitty Hawk CEO Sebastian Thrun and Y Combinator president Sam Altman are bullish on nuclear fusion, flying cars, and AI YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki on the challenge of making YouTube a better place Marc Benioff, CEO of Salesforce, wants to tax billionaires—including himself Follow Our Social Channels Keep up with WIRED25 in real time on social media, where we’ll be sharing photos and videos of all the happenings. Follow us @WIRED on Twitter and Instagram, and check out our WIRED Facebook page for live updates as the action unfolds. More Great WIRED Stories WIRED staffers share their favorite books Jason Pontin: Three commandments for reasonable technology optimism From an insane race across the country to a profile of the most wanted man on the internet, our 25 favorite Wired magazine stories from the past 25 years. 25 years of WIRED predictions: Why the future never arrives Our favorite covers of all time
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Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, dies aged 65

Guardian Technology 16 Oct 2018 01:06 Play Video 0:46 Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies aged 65 – video obituary Paul Allen, who co-founded Microsoft with his childhood friend Bill Gates, has died. He was 65. Allen’s company Vulcan said in a statement that he died Monday. Earlier this month Allen said the cancer he was treated for in 2009, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, had returned. Allen, who was an avid sports fan, owned the Portland Trail Blazers and the Seattle Seahawks. Allen and his high school friend Gates founded Microsoft in 1975. He served as the company’s executive vice-president of research and new product development until 1983, when he left for health reasons. He stayed as a major shareholder and member of the board. “I am heartbroken by the passing of one of my oldest and dearest friends, Paul Allen,” said Bill Gates in a statement on Monday. Despite being less well-known than Bill Gates, Allen played a critical role in developing the personal computer at a time when the typical computer was the size of a room and far too expensive for most people or businesses to own. It was Allen who came up with the name Microsoft and, according to his memoir Idea Man, it was he who came up with the idea to write a software program for the world’s first micro-computer. Paul Allen with Bill Gates in 1981. Photograph: Sipa Press/REX/Shutterstock “During the founding first eight years my ideas were definitely key to the company. Bill would test my ideas. I would come to him with another 10 ideas that never went anywhere – he was the sanity check on the flow of ideas,” Allen told the Guardian in a 2011 interview. “When it came to selling and marketing and staffing and all those kinds of things, he was much more excited on the business side, so we became very complementary.” Microsoft’s big break came in 1980, when IBM decided to move into personal computers. IBM asked Microsoft to provide the operating system. The decision thrust Microsoft onto the throne of technology and the two Seattle natives became billionaires. Both later dedicated themselves to philanthropy. Paul Allen’s contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable Satya Nadella, Microsoft CEO “Paul Allen’s contributions to our company, our industry and to our community are indispensable,” said Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella. “As co-founder of Microsoft, in his own quiet and persistent way, he created magical products, experiences and institutions, and in doing so, he changed the world.” Allen founded Vulcan in the mid-80s to invest in media and communications companies including DreamWorks Animation and the cable company Charter Communications. Several technology executives paid tribute to Allen on Twitter. “We lost a great technology pioneer today – thank you Paul Allen for your immense contributions to the world through your work and your philanthropy,” said Google’s CEO, Sundar Pichai. Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, added: “Our industry has lost a pioneer and our world has lost a force for good. We send our deepest condolences to Paul’s friends, the Allen family and everyone at Microsoft.” Marc Benioff, the CEO of Salesforce, described Allen as a “great leader in tech and a man of all seasons who fully enjoyed his life and wealth yet also gave back to the world at scale”. Paul Allen, who owned the Seattle Seahawks, celebrates after their Super Bowl win in 2014. Photograph: USA Today Sports Over the course several decades, Allen gave more than $2bn to a wide range of interests, including ocean health, homelessness and advancing scientific research. Allen invested heavily in his hometown of Seattle, helping to transform the South Lake Union neighbourhood into a thriving business district. In 2013, the billionaire released a rock album with his band the Underthinkers. Allen wrote or co-wrote all 13 songs and played guitar alongside his collaborators Chrissie Hynde, of the Pretenders, and Joe Walsh of the Eagles. This was Allen’s second album – in 2000 he released one with a different band, Grown Men. Allen was also owner of one of the world’s largest superyachts. The 126m-long Octopus, valued at $250m, has two helicopter pads, a swimming pool, a submarine, 13 guest cabins and a music recording studio. In 2015, he used it to find a second world war battleship off the coast of the Philippines. His keen interest in aviation led him to collect and restore more than 30 vintage planes, including Soviet and Nazi war planes, which are kept in hangars in a Seattle suburb. The Associated Press contributed reporting
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Coinbase plans for hard Brexit by opening Dublin offices

Guardian Technology 16 Oct 2018 12:01 Businesses which purely operate within the cryptocurrency sector may not be particularly affected by Brexit, Coinbase’s UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz said. Photograph: Chesnot/Getty Images Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase is opening new offices in Dublin as part of the company’s contingency planning for a hard Brexit. The company, one of the largest members of the blockchain ecosystem, says that London will remain its European headquarters, but that Dublin’s EU membership, as well as its English-speaking workforce and diverse technology talent pool, made it the “clear choice” for a second European outpost. “To begin with we’re housing a significant support team there,” said Coinbase’s UK CEO Zeeshan Feroz, “and we’re looking to capitalise on the talent pool that’s available to us in Ireland and hire other folks. “It is also a plan B for Brexit. As we plan for all eventualities, it’s important that we continue servicing our customers across Europe, and Ireland would be our preferred choice there if it comes to it.” Businesses which purely operate within the cryptocurrency sector may not be particularly affected by Brexit, Feroz said, but many of the biggest cryptocurrency companies have substantial operations that overlap with the conventional financial sector. “Coinbase and a few other crypto businesses are essentially two businesses: they are a regulated financial service provider – we have an e-money license with the FCA – and on the other half they provide crypto services. And clearly as a regulated financial institution, if we don’t have access to passporting, we have to look for alternatives.” The news of yet another business preparing to shift operations out of the UK could come as a blow to the government. The potential loss of a leading light of the blockchain sector could hit particularly hard, with the traditional financial industry’s problems with Brexit well-established. The chancellor, Philip Hammond, has even staked his hopes on the sector to solve the thorny issue of the Irish border, telling the Conservative party conference that “there is technology becoming available” to solve the issue. “I don’t claim to be an expert on it but the most obvious technology is blockchain,” Hammond said. Feroz expressed some hope that Brexit could make the UK more appealing to pure crypto companies, which did not need to do business with the rest of the world through the traditional financial system. “I am of the view today that there is an opportunity for Britain post-Brexit to perhaps take the lead” in offering “balanced regulation” for the sector. “In general, and outside of Brexit, I think crypto should be regulated as a service. There’s businesses out there like ours that handle billions of dollars or pounds every day.”
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