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The Autonomous Car

The Autonomous Car

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  • 4 Industry Leaders With Ultra-High Dividends
    Motley Fool

    4 Industry Leaders With Ultra-High Dividends

    Some of the biggest brands in the market pay some of the biggest dividends, too.

  • Bloomberg

    Trump’s Dinner Guest on Friday Will Be Apple’s CEO Tim Cook

    (Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly lashed out at technology giants and their leaders, announced on Friday evening that he would be dining with Apple Inc. Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook.“Having dinner tonight with Tim Cook of Apple,” Trump, who is staying at his golf resort in Bedminster, New Jersey, wrote on Twitter. “They will be spending vast sums of money in the U.S. Great!”He did not elaborate, and Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the meeting.Heads of other major technology companies, including Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.’s Google and Facebook Inc. have not fared as well in the president’s tweets and public remarks.He and his political allies have made unsupported claims that social media companies muzzle conservative views. Trump has assailed Amazon for edging out brick-and-mortar retailers and criticized its founder Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post.Pressure on tech companies is increasing in Washington as congressional Republicans examine accusations of bias against conservatives; Democrats in the House conduct an antitrust inquiry and officials at the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission divvy up oversight of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon.Earlier this week, FTC Chairman Joe Simons said in an interview that he wouldn’t let Trump’s complaints about the size and political inclinations of large technology platforms affect his agency’s decisions.Cook visited the White House in June to discuss the Trump administration’s efforts to develop job training programs that meet the changing demands of U.S. employers. The meeting was part of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board, a working group that includes many corporate leaders. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Trump’s daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump unveiled the initiative earlier this year.\--With assistance from Alistair Barr.To contact the reporter on this story: John Harney in Washington at jharney2@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Whitelaw at kwhitelaw@bloomberg.net, John HarneyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • NIO Stock at Bargain Price amid Battery Recall, Sales Slump
    Market Realist

    NIO Stock at Bargain Price amid Battery Recall, Sales Slump

    Nio Inc. (NIO) has disrupted the automotive space since 2014 but only made waves in the market since its IPO. Investors have suffered numerous setbacks.

  • Touch-Screens in Cars Don’t Make Us Safer – Yet
    Bloomberg

    Touch-Screens in Cars Don’t Make Us Safer – Yet

    (Bloomberg Opinion) -- Two years ago, 10 sailors died when the U.S. Navy’s guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a chemical tanker off Singapore. An investigation has determined that insufficient training and inadequate operating procedures were to blame, and both factors were related to a new touch-screen-based helm control system. The Navy has decided to revert its destroyers back to entirely physical throttles and helm controls.It’s worth exploring the Navy’s rationale for installing touch-screens (“Just because you can doesn’t mean you should,” says Rear Admiral Bill Galinis), as well as its rationale for getting rid of them:Galinis said that bridge design is something that shipbuilders have a lot of say in, as it’s not covered by any particular specification that the Navy requires builders to follow. As a result of innovation and a desire to incorporate new technology, “we got away from the physical throttles, and that was probably the number-one feedback from the fleet – they said, just give us the throttles that we can use.”There are lessons here — including a prescient one from 50 years ago — for other, more mundane transport-control interfaces as well.Large, interactive touch-screens are becoming increasingly prevalent in passenger cars; in the case of Tesla, they’re the only control interface. They’re lovely to look at, but as the Navy’s experience suggests, they might be more confusing than physical controls. That confusion isn’t academic, either: Distracted driving is an increasingly dangerous problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 10% of all fatal crashes from 2012 to 2017 involved distracted drivers. Mobile phones are a major cause of distraction, as we’d expect, but they’re an even bigger problem for younger drivers.Almost 50 years ago, robotics professor Masahiro Mori wrote an extraordinary essay, “The Uncanny Valley,” on people’s reactions to robots as they became more and more humanlike. As Mori said, our affinity for robots rises as they more closely resemble humans. That affinity plunges, becoming negative and finally rising again once a robot reaches the (possibly unattainable) full likeness of a human being.Something similar is at work in our current touch-screen-filled vehicles. To an extent, adding more screen real estate give us more information, and with it more safety — until it begins to provide an overwhelming amount of information and an overly complex set of choices for visual navigation. And moving from one information-rich interface to another is increasingly difficult, as another Navy rear admiral said in reviewing the John S. McCain collision:When you look at a screen, where do you find heading? Is it in the same place, or do you have to hunt every time you go to a different screen? So the more commonality we can drive into these kind of human-machine interfaces, the better it is for the operator to quickly pick up what the situational awareness is, whatever aspect he’s looking at, whether it’s helm control, radar pictures, whatever. So we’re trying to drive that.There are two ways our in-car screens could evolve. The first is that, for safety’s sake, they’ll move back down the curve, so to speak, and be less ambiguous and more full of knobs and dials and physical throttles. That’s the Navy’s new approach. The second, though, is that we won’t go back, at least in passenger applications, to a more tactile interface of specific controls. We’re probably going to get more screens, with more information. Maybe the only way out of this valley is to shift the interface completely to voice or, in the very long run, to obviate the issue by having cars drive themselves. That could be how we navigate this uncanny valley of vehicle interfaces — the removal of any need to control the vehicle at all, and the chance to fill our cars’ screens with pure entertainment. Weekend readingA greener energy industry is testing investors’ ability to adapt. One coal CEO says “make money while you can” in an industry that is in terminal decline. The venture capital arm of Royal Dutch Shell Plc has invested in Corvus Energy, a maritime and offshore battery systems company. America’s obsession with beef is killing leather. A look at how Phoenix comes alive at night, and how other cities might too in a hotter world. An exploration of how extreme climate change has arrived in America. The Anthropocene is a joke. On a geological time scale, human civilization is an event, not an epoch. Three years of misery inside Google, the happiest company in tech. Here’s what happens when Apple Inc. locks you out of its walled garden after fraud suspicions. Machine vision can spot unknown links between classic artworks. When Midwest startups sell, their hometown schools often lose. A programmer in California got a “NULL” vanity license plate in the hopes that the word would not compute in a database of traffic offenders. Instead, he was fined $12,049. Robert Ballard, discoverer of the Titanic, is exploring a startling clue that may help him find Amelia Earhart’s plane.   Bugatti’s one-off La Voiture Noire debuted at the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance. It’s already been sold, for $18.68 million. Bloomberg Businessweek’s Peter Coy looks back on the 40 years since the magazine declared “ the death of equities.” Get Sparklines delivered to your inbox. Sign up here. And subscribe to Bloomberg All Access and get much, much more. You’ll receive our unmatched global news coverage and two in-depth daily newsletters, the Bloomberg Open and the Bloomberg Close.To contact the author of this story: Nathaniel Bullard at nbullard@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Brooke Sample at bsample1@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.Nathaniel Bullard is a BloombergNEF energy analyst, covering technology and business model innovation and system-wide resource transitions.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com/opinion©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Analysts’ Views on General Motors and Ford
    Market Realist

    Analysts’ Views on General Motors and Ford

    General Motors (GM) and Ford (F) stocks have been impacted by the companies' dull second-quarter earnings. Let's look at what analysts think.

  • Motley Fool

    Why You Should Invest In International Stocks

    Especially if you're an American investor, chances are good that you'd benefit from more international diversification.

  • Sky News

    Samantha Ford: Mum who drowned toddler twins out of 'anger' jailed for 10 years

    Samantha Ford, 38, killed her children Jake and Chloe on Boxing Day last year by drowning them in the bath. Ford had feelings of "anger and betrayal" towards her estranged husband, Steven, and had wanted "revenge", a psychiatrist told the Old Bailey. After killing her two children, who were conceived by IVF, Ford drove her car at about 100mph into the back of a lorry without a seatbelt on.

  • ESG Investing: Is Microsoft a Responsible Investment?
    Motley Fool

    ESG Investing: Is Microsoft a Responsible Investment?

    If you’re searching for a feel-good stock, see how Microsoft, the world's largest company, scores on The Motley Fool’s ESG framework.

  • Tesla Model 3 Ranked ‘Best Electric Car,’ Musk Approves
    Market Realist

    Tesla Model 3 Ranked ‘Best Electric Car,’ Musk Approves

    According to YouTube’s most noted auto reviewers, Tesla’s Model 3 is the “best electric car” available today. Tesla produces 5,000 Model 3 units per week.

  • Tesla Service Is Criticized in BMW’s Backyard
    Bloomberg

    Tesla Service Is Criticized in BMW’s Backyard

    (Bloomberg) -- Stefan Moeller began this year with an ambitious target: to make his car-rental company Nextmove the biggest Tesla Inc. customer in Germany by adding 100 Model 3s to its fleet. He likened the electric car’s arrival on Europe’s shores to a tsunami washing over a region that’s been slow to embrace battery-powered autos.But the powerful wave Moeller expected has collapsed to a trickle. After weeks of back and forth over unfulfilled repair work and quality issues involving the initial 15 sedans that Tesla delivered -- from scratched bumpers to moisture trapped behind the headlights -- the order of the remaining 85 Model 3s was called off. Tesla also tried to deliver cars that had been previously registered, which would have locked Nextmove out of Germany’s electric-car incentive program and potential tax refunds, Moeller said.“The Model 3 is a fantastic car. Some of our customers totally fell in love with it,” said Moeller, whose Leipzig-based company has more than 300 electric vehicles in its fleet, including 38 Model S and a dozen Model X. “But the organization behind it doesn’t match that. It’s really sobering.”Subpar service could be a barrier to Tesla making more of an impact in Germany, where exacting car owners value how painstakingly their BMWs and Mercedes are cared for just as much as the speed of the Autobahn. Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk, who’s famously inimical to Twitter critiques, acknowledged earlier this year that a lack of service centers in Germany was hampering the company’s growth there.Tesla believes Nextmove’s decision to cancel its remaining Model 3 order wasn’t entirely due to quality issues, and was largely influenced by frustration with an unrelated dispute earlier in the year, according to a spokesperson. The carmaker was in the process of making repairs and had provided loaner vehicles to the customer at the time the order was canceled. (Nextmove insists it was Tesla that canceled the order, after the rental-car company demanded an improved process for handovers and fixes.)The Tesla spokesperson blamed the registration issue that Nextmove described on a temporary issue with matching identification numbers to vehicles and said the issue was resolved for impacted customers.Norway WoesPoor service is an issue that’s already plagued Tesla in Norway, Europe’s largest electric-car market per capita. Dented and sloppily painted vehicles have fueled the highest level of complaints per unit among all automakers, according to the nation’s consumer watchdog.In Europe, Tesla is racing against time as more established players wake up to the electric future. The continent is projected to be the world’s second-largest driver of electric cars in the next decade, trailing only China. Customers can already choose between a growing number of battery-powered models from the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar and Audi.Moeller says Tesla’s issues extend beyond the Model 3. He spent two years waiting for the carmaker to replace a seat in a Model X that was delivered in July 2017 with a hole in it. A Model 3 arrived more recently with a protruding bulge on one tire. Moeller shared with Bloomberg News his email correspondence with Tesla and photos of the blemished vehicles.The Tesla spokesperson said the company’s data doesn’t indicate any unusual vehicle quality issues specific to Germany or anywhere else in the world. The company said there’s a small chance cars are blemished during transport to customers and that it addresses those issues quickly.‘Seriously Worrying’Nextmove isn’t an isolated case. German social-media platforms and online forums are abuzz with customers airing complaints about faulty parts from sensors to suspensions. Many also describe Tesla’s sales organization in the country as unresponsive.“I’m still thrilled by the car, because it’s just so much better than anything I’ve driven before, but the quality of the service and some technical parts are seriously worrying,” Rouven Volk, who said by email that he ordered his Model 3 in February and was slated to take delivery less than a month later.Volk chronicled an odyssey with Tesla that began with a car that couldn’t be handed over because of a defective main display. The company opted to source another Model 3 from its European pool and set a new handover date for a month later. Then, the car had stains on the outside and in the interior, and a cable dangled from where there should have been a light for the back seats. The charging cables and winter tires he ordered were nowhere to be found.The Tesla spokesperson said unhappy customers can return their cars for a full refund up to seven days after purchase. The company’s data shows German customers have largely been satisfied with their vehicles, including the quality and condition of cars upon delivery.“Generally, early-adopter customers forgive unconventional newcomers like Tesla a lot of things,” said Stefan Bratzel, a researcher at the Center of Automotive Management near Cologne. “But the more Tesla enters broader customer segments, the more distribution and service have to function.”Climbing the ChartsSales of the Model 3, Tesla’s most affordable model, helped make the brand the fastest-growing in Germany in the first seven months of the year, according to data from industry watchdog KBA. While 6,816 registrations is still well behind market leaders, Tesla outsold brands including Jaguar and Alfa Romeo.Tesla is in the process of doubling the number of service centers in Germany to 17 locations, with a focus largely on urban areas including Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, according to the company’s website. The carmaker is also branching out into mid-size cities such as Kiel, Ulm and Mannheim, and separately lists 16 retail stores in the country.The brick-and-mortar presence is still a far cry from the sprawling infrastructure that established carmakers have built in Germany over decades. Volkswagen AG, the top-selling automaker in the country, has hundreds of dedicated sales and repair outlets.Then again, Musk is betting the looming shift toward electric cars and digital services will upend the retail and after-sale business. Battery-powered autos have fewer components that are at risk of breaking down. Tesla also plans to expand its fleet of mobile service vehicles by 50% and increase mobile service coverage by fivefold this year in Europe, according to the spokesperson.Rust, ScratchesFor Volk, rust started showing between the front fender and the driver’s door of his Model 3 after about 100 days and 15,000 kilometers, which he attributes to friction of sheet metal that wasn’t properly sloped. Getting a hold of Tesla service personnel has been challenging because some employees familiar with his case have left the company, Volk said.Malte Ahl said in an email he withdrew the purchase contract for his Model 3 in March after Tesla didn’t respond to his concerns about glitches including poor paint quality, scratches on the passenger seat and dysfunctional switches.“I view this way of dealing with the most loyal Tesla fans as unfair and not sustainable,” he wrote in an attached letter addressed to the company’s German unit.(Updates with further Nextmove comment in fifth paragraph.)To contact the reporter on this story: Christoph Rauwald in Frankfurt at crauwald@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net, Benedikt Kammel, Craig TrudellFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Rental firm walks away from Tesla order after quality dispute
    Reuters

    Rental firm walks away from Tesla order after quality dispute

    Car rental company Nextmove has walked away from a 5 million euros ($5.55 million) order for 85 Tesla Model 3 electric vehicles following a dispute over how to fix quality issues, the German company said on Friday. Nextmove said it had ordered 100 electric vehicles in 2018 but raised objections over quality and finish after taking delivery of the first 15 Model 3 cars earlier this year. The rental company said following a dispute over how to resolve the quality shortcomings, Tesla triggered a refund clause but Tesla disputes that it canceled the order.

  • Shopify’s Success Puts Spotlight on Next Canadian Tech Stars
    Bloomberg

    Shopify’s Success Puts Spotlight on Next Canadian Tech Stars

    (Bloomberg) -- Shopify Inc.’s scorching rally and Lightspeed POS Inc.’s successful trading debut this year are throwing the spotlight on who might be the next Canadian tech star to go public.A total of C$1 billion ($751 million) was invested in 142 venture capital deals in the first quarter, up 48% from a year earlier, according to the Canadian Venture & Private Equity Association. More than half of that was in tech and increasingly from U.S. investors.Here’s what the founders of some of Canada’s hottest tech firms are saying about the future of their companies, and the potential for initial public offerings:ClearbancClearbanc offers $10,000 to $10 million to startups to help fund their marketing campaigns on Facebook, Google and the like in return for a flat fee and a share of revenue.The Toronto-based investment firm, founded in 2015, raised $300 million in new funding led by Highland Capital Partners of the U.S., the largest disclosed VC-financing this year in Canada. That brings total funding to $420 million.Clearbanc plans to offer $1 billion in financing this year and is interested in funding parts of a business that could turn into a repeatable revenue stream--infrastructure, shipping and sales commissions.It’s expanding outside the U.S. and Canada, where there’s a less developed venture ecosystem and “banks are more conservative,” according to co-founder and chief executive officer, Andrew D’Souza.“We think that the fundamentals of the business, the market opportunity, justifies a large standalone business,” D’Souza said about the possibility of an IPO.WattpadWattpad Corp. may no longer be a startup but its ambitions just keep growing. Founded as a mobile-reading app, 12-year-old Wattpad now calls itself a “multi-platform entertainment company.”The Toronto-based company has provided content for one of the most re-watched movies on Netflix (“The Kissing Booth”), a Hulu series (“Light as a Feather”), and this year a Hollywood feature film (“After”), all through Wattpad Studios, launched in 2016.Last week it inked a deal with Penguin Random House in the U.K. to turn its online content, mainly created and read by young women, into books. That follows the launch of its own publishing imprint, Wattpad Books, in the U.S. in April.The company uses data from more than 80 million monthly active users to identify the best stories across its platform and turn them into content. It has launched a paid, ad-free version as well as exclusive content for a fee.Wattpad has raised $117.8 million from investors including OMERS Ventures, Tencent Holdings Ltd.’s capital arm, and August Capital Corp, and is generating revenue in “eight figures,” according to co-founder and chief executive, Allen Lau.As for an IPO, it’s “not what we spend time focusing on,” Lau said. “Our focus right now is on movies and TV shows, with our partners.”VidyardVidyard Inc. wants to be the YouTube of business videos. Its software allows companies to create personalized videos to engage with customers and use data from their viewing habits to analyze that engagement.Companies are expected to spend $103 billion annually in video-ad marketing by 2023, according to Forrester Research.Vidyard counts 1,200 businesses in over 170 countries as its customers, including enterprise customers such as Honeywell International Inc., LinkedIn and Citibank.“In terms of the next two to three years, we’re just focused on consistent, hockey-stick style growth,” says Devon Galloway, co-founder and chief technology officer at Kitchener, Ontario-based Vidyard.The company has raised $60 million to date from investors including OMERS Ventures, Inovia Capital and the venture capital arm of Salesforce Inc.Galloway said if Vidyard continues to grow as well as it has an IPO would certainly be on its path.WealthsimpleWealthsimple Inc., wishes to replace banks as a customer’s primary financial relationship, according to founder and CEO Michael Katchen.“We want to be a firm that demystifies money,” Katchen said in an interview in Bloomberg’s Toronto office. The investment-services company has more than C$5 billion in assets under management and 175,000 customers in Canada, the U.S. and U.K.The robo-adviser favored by millennials, is also targeting wealthier Canadians and has branched out into commission-free stock trading and savings products. Mortgages, life insurance and checking accounts could be next, Katchen said.Founded in 2014, WealthSimple is not yet profitable, but its backers are patient, Katchen said. These include Power Financial Corp., an investment arm run by the Desmarais family and Allianz SE.Katchen said he’s interested in an IPO but it’s still “a few years away.”(Updates with Clearbanc’s financing plan)To contact the reporter on this story: Simran Jagdev in Toronto at sjagdev1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jacqueline Thorpe at jthorpe23@bloomberg.net;David Scanlan at dscanlan@bloomberg.netFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Tesla’s South Korea Launch Frenzy: Can It Outdo Apple?
    Market Realist

    Tesla’s South Korea Launch Frenzy: Can It Outdo Apple?

    Tesla (TSLA) has officially launched its Model 3 in South Korea, where it is attracting significant interest from prospective buyers.

  • Google Employee Protests Stop Company Contracts
    Market Realist

    Google Employee Protests Stop Company Contracts

    Google (GOOGL) employees are petitioning the company to not accept contracts from US immigration agencies that commit human rights violations.

  • Ford (F) Recalls 108,000 Vehicles to Resolve Seat-Belt Issue
    Zacks

    Ford (F) Recalls 108,000 Vehicles to Resolve Seat-Belt Issue

    Ford (F) recalls more than 108,000 of its 2015 Fusions and 2015 Lincoln MKZ vehicles due to an issue with seat belt anchor pretensioners.

  • Tesla Semi Truck: Upvote from California Highway Patrol
    Market Realist

    Tesla Semi Truck: Upvote from California Highway Patrol

    California Highway Patrol officials saw a Tesla semi truck. They were impressed with the credentials. The CHP posted comments on its Facebook page.

  • AI Startup Plans IPO at Value of Over $1 Billion -- in China
    Bloomberg

    AI Startup Plans IPO at Value of Over $1 Billion -- in China

    (Bloomberg) -- The promise of artificial intelligence has yet to translate into big business. Now Kai-Fu Lee, a prominent venture capitalist in China and founder of Sinovation Ventures, says his firm’s new startup should be able to reach $100 million in revenue next year and go public the year after.AInnovation, established in March 2018, develops artificial intelligence products for companies in industries such as retail, manufacturing, and finance. Its customers include Mars Inc., Carlsberg A/S, Nestle SA, Foxconn Technology Group, China Everbright Bank Co. and Postal Savings Bank of China Co.Chief Executive Officer Hocking Xu, a veteran of International Business Machines Corp. and SAP SE, has hired staff that work with traditional companies to figure out how to take advantage of AI in their operations. AInnovation is on track to hit $100 million in revenue within two years of its founding, the fastest pace yet for such a startup, Lee said.“We took the approach of ‘Let’s take some of the best business people and let’s target the industries which need AI the most’,” he said.Lee figures AInnovation will be able to go public in less than two years at a valuation of $1 billion to $2 billion. The firm has raised about $70 million so far from Sinovation, CICC ALPHA and Chengwei Capital. Since the company was funded with yuan, it would most likely list domestically, either on China’s new NASDAQ-like Star market, or on the country’s ChiNext.For retail companies, AInnovation sells products including a smart vending machine that opens with facial recognition and software that monitors retail shelves with image recognition. It’s created computer vision technology that detects defects on the production line for manufacturers and underwriting software and natural language processing technology for financial firms. There’s a large market in particular for technology to catch flaws early in the manufacturing process, said Jeffrey Ding, a researcher with Oxford’s Center for the Governance of AI. That effort “aligns with the Chinese government’s priorities to upgrade smart manufacturing capabilities to compete with countries like Germany and Switzerland,” he said in an email.The former president of Google China, Kai-Fu Lee founded Sinovation Ventures in 2009. It manages more than $2 billion across seven funds in U.S. and Chinese currencies. It holds shares in more than 300 companies, most of which are in China. Its investments include autonomous driving company Momenta, consumer AI chip firm Horizon Robotics Inc. and bitcoin mining and AI chip company Bitmain Technologies Ltd.In artificial intelligence, “we’re still at a very early stage in the commercialization,” Lee said. “We’re still at the equivalent of early internet portals, back when everybody was using Yahoo and there wasn’t even a Google, Amazon, or Facebook.”Global economic ructions, however, may present short-term challenges. Venture deals in China have been plummeting as investors pull back amid escalating trade tensions and slowing economic growth. The value of investments in the country tumbled 77% to $9.4 billion in the second quarter from a year earlier.“In an economy that’s slowing down, everything slows, including venture capital. There will definitely be a shakeout,” Lee said. “The positive side is that if the economy is challenging, and valuations are down, it’s a good time for us to go shopping.”Sinovation was one of the first Chinese venture capital firms with a presence in the U.S. With the trade war and the Trump administration’s tighter scrutiny of foreign investments, the firm has scaled back investments and no longer has an office in the U.S., Lee said, adding that investments in America have always been a small fraction of its overall investments.“In the long term, it’s a pity if we have to cause a total separation of two countries because one could argue that AI got to where it got because the whole world has been able to work together.”(Updates with analyst’s comment in the 9th paragraph)To contact the reporter on this story: Selina Wang in China at swang533@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Peter Elstrom, Colum MurphyFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Motley Fool

    A Closer Look at Tesla's Q2 Results

    Is it a sign of progress, or could there be more trouble ahead?

  • Motley Fool

    Can Tesla Win the Self-Driving Race?

    And how is the company going to fund its near-term growth?

  • China’s NIO Falters Where Elon Musk’s Tesla Excels
    Market Realist

    China’s NIO Falters Where Elon Musk’s Tesla Excels

    Chinese electric car maker NIO delivered 837 cars in July, down from 1,340 cars in June. Tesla’s delivery growth range was 110%–221% in the last year.

  • Facebook Tells Chat Users Nothing About Human Listeners
    Bloomberg

    Facebook Tells Chat Users Nothing About Human Listeners

    (Bloomberg) -- Facebook Inc. this week confirmed that it ran a program to allow contractors to listen to and transcribe some users’ audio clips. The social network said that the only people who were affected were those who agreed to have their audio messages transcribed.That makes it sound like users agreed to have their chats read by third parties. But based on a look at the Messenger permissions pop-up dialogue box, they didn’t.In the Messenger mobile app, as soon as someone sends a voice message, they get a prompt asking, “Turn on Voice to Text in this chat?” Above the “No” and “Yes” buttons, Facebook describes the option: “Display text of voice clips you send and receive. You can control whether text is visible to you for each chat.”There is no mention of human involvement. Even in a separate information page in the app dedicated to understanding Voice to Text, Facebook explains that users can turn it off for each chat, and prompts people to use it more. “Voice to Text uses machine learning,” it says. “The more you use this feature, the more Voice to Text can help you.” There’s no explanation that machine learning doesn’t just involve software code.Companies including Apple Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Google have been relying on humans to check and improve their artificial intelligence systems -- they’re just not telling their users about it. That’s a critical lapse at a time when all of the companies -- especially Facebook -- are facing regulatory scrutiny for privacy lapses. The Irish Data Protection Commissioner, which enforces European Union privacy laws, said it was looking into Facebook’s transcription practices.“AI just isn’t at the level yet where it can interpret human conversation,” meaning the companies need to rely on monitoring to help train the systems, said Jennifer King, director of consumer privacy at Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society. “But the big issue from my perspective is the non-disclosure. Users clearly don’t know it’s happening.”The report on Facebook’s human transcription program raised the ire of U.S. lawmakers, some of whom were already calling for stronger privacy protections than those imposed by a $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission approved last month. Senator Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat, said the latest revelation about Facebook’s audio collection “is yet further proof that consumers’ expectations of how their data is collected and used radically differ from what companies like Facebook are actually doing.”Some privacy lawyers suggested the lack of disclosure ran afoul of the company’s settlement with the FTC. That agreement, which resolved known conduct before June 12, bars misrepresentations by Facebook about user privacy controls, third-party access to user data and how information is collected, used and disclosed."Absent some other disclosure to users regarding the human listening, I do believe it is likely this is a violation of the order in the case," said Mark McCreary, chief privacy officer at law firm Fox Rothschild LLP.(Updates with comments from privacy lawyer in final paragraphs.)To contact the reporter on this story: Sarah Frier in San Francisco at sfrier1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jillian Ward at jward56@bloomberg.net, Andrew PollackFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Top Ranked Tech ETFs in Focus
    Zacks

    Top Ranked Tech ETFs in Focus

    Technology is still the best performing sector this year despite trade tensions and global growth concerns

  • Google Search gets expanded college search features
    TechCrunch

    Google Search gets expanded college search features

    The company says that searches for "community colleges near me" saw a 120% increase in the past two years, with overall searches for college information spiking between August and the fall, as high school students get ready to apply. With this update, students can now easily compare the tuition cost, acceptance rates and other information of four and two-year schools. The feature will now also show popular certificates and associate programs offered at four-year universities, and students can create lists of schools that specialize in specific fields and filter them based on distance (which often matters because many community college students, for example, stay close to home) and size.