Who is going to decide how we travel around our cities – Californian tech giants or local transport businesses?
On Tech Tent we hear from the UK firm helping local taxi operators take the fight to Uber and from an American scooter firm trying to change the law in Britain.
I took a trip to Manchester this week and leaving the station, I had a number of options to get to my destination in Cheadle, on the outskirts of the city.
I could have grabbed a cab from the station rank or used the ubiquitous Uber – but instead I downloaded an app called Streetcars.
This enabled me to order a minicab from the local firm of that name and it deposited me at the headquarters of Autocab – the company that built the app for Streetcars and about 500 other local taxi firms across the UK.
1) “Tens of others had technology just as good as Uber that never went anywhere. The difference is Uber has been heavily financed by Wall Street and they’ve raised more than $13bn. We didn’t have the same access to capital.” Is this really only about money?
2) “Uber with its early “move fast and break things” approach, which saw it clash with local regulators” Why is it that regulations take time to catch up with technology innovation?
Companies like Mendix (https://www.mendix.com/) and Salesforce are saying that this is the start of a “low-code revolution”, where business people can build applications without knowing much, if any, code at all.
The SWEEPER robot is the first sweet pepper harvesting robot in the world demonstrated in a commercial greenhouse. It is designed to operate in a single stem row cropping system, with a crop having non-clustered fruits and little leaf occlusion.
Facebook and its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, pledged to fix how it handles political and issue ads in the wake of Russian meddling in 2016. But just days before the midterm elections, a key part of Facebook’s effort is broken, and it’s unclear if the company is doing anything to fix it.
The company has touted new rules for political ad-buyers as a major component of its work to combat disinformation on its platform. In 2016 Russian trolls with links to the Kremlin bought ads targeting Americans in the run-up to the presidential election. They were able to do so without giving any information to Americans seeing those ads about who was paying for them.
Political ads on the platform are now supposed to say who paid for them, but Facebook allows buyers to fill in that information themselves. And if anyone or any system at the company is supposed to be ensuring that the information these ad-buyers submit is the truth, they appear to be asleep at the wheel.
Earlier this week, Vice News, posing as a political ad-buyer, got approval from Facebook to run ads in the name of every single one of the US’ 100 senators. Vice News did not end up buying the ads. This came after Vice News had previously received approval from Facebook to run ads “Paid for” by Islamic State and Vice President Mike Pence.
Shinichi Sakamoto is 57, and works for Shimizu, one of Japan’s biggest construction companies. He is part of a greying, and dwindling, workforce.
“The thing is, statistics show a third of [Japanese construction] labourers are over 54 years old, and they are considering retiring so soon,” says Mr Sakamoto, who is deputy head of Shimizu’s production technology division.
And they’re not being replaced by younger builders. “The number of labourers under 30 is just above 10%,” he says.
In September, Mr Sakamoto’s firm gained a promising new co-worker – a robot.
Robo-Carrier is currently working on a high-rise development in Osaka, transports heavy gypsum board pallets nightly from the ground floor to where they’re needed.
“They really didn’t listen to those of us who’ve been in the business for decades,” says BobbieMoe. Customers would punch in their cleaning needs and the square footage of their house online, but the actual time and manpower requiredwould vary wildly with the cleaning needs of the home.”
1) The article says it took 2 years before Amazon made what seem like simple, obvious changes such as specifying the number of rooms to be cleaned in a house rather than square footage. Why might this have taken so long to fix?
2) Why is Amazon getting in to this sort of business?
1) “The Apple boss described in some detail what he called the “data industrial complex”, noting that billions of dollars were traded on the basis of people’s “likes and dislikes”, “wishes and fears” or “hopes and dreams” – the kind of data points tracked by tech firms and advertisers.” Why is it that most, if not almost all people using the internet don’t seem to care that such pervasive data collection of personal data is going on?
2) What steps could you take to avoid personal data collection?